Beholding
o So Lo


4.0
excellent

Review

by verdant CONTRIBUTOR (66 Reviews)
October 10th, 2017 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: O So Lo(vely)

Were the cynics here to listen, they’d proclaim O So Lo a gimmick, a cheap and meaningless tactic employed in an attempt to evoke awe and a meta kind of intimacy. After all, every sound, every inflection, every idiosyncrasy that emanates from this record was borne from the same piano, culminating in the interplay of utmost purity and the occasional bout of heavy, boot-to-the-chest distortion. But this is, quite clearly, a record that pays little attention to the jaded listener. O So Lo lives, murmurs, and dies in the same small room, shutting itself in as if an inch of rotting wood is enough to avoid a casualty.

Beholding (alias: Lukas Vanderlip) restructures this record so that the order of the day is deliberately and beautifully out of place. It’s a (somehow) self-perpetuating piece of music that paints a minimalist portrait of what it would be like to react to the future before it happens. In that regard, it’s very calm-before-the-storm, yet it predicates its atmosphere on the notion that the storm may stay forever teetering on the horizon. Formless is a sagely “don’t be scared”, sure, if placed before the crash and burn of Fleeting, but if you decide it occurs in the aftermath, it’s more evidently a “we will find what it is you’ve lost”.

Either way, it’s a search for clarity that defines this music. A barely-hidden poem accompanies this album, incised and woven into the make-up of each vignette. Much like the pieces themselves, I’m not sure there’s a definitive order to this poem; rather, I feel these words were always there, in that configuration, before the sounds even found their way from the hollow body of that old piano. Consider them lyrics, lamenting the absence of a clear path with equal parts frustration and resigned acceptance. Ergo, the dynamic is clear: the sounds we hear -- gentle, commiserating, selfless -- are an attempt to placate the neuroses evident in the ‘lyrics’, which we comprehend like we do a phantom limb. ”You are alone", the pithy literal accompaniment to the title track, is a sentiment succinctly (read: bluntly) put. But the piece itself tells me otherwise; it isn’t loneliness here, it’s tranquility -- a quietude heavy enough that you can hear the creak of the sustain pedal amidst the drizzle of warm melodic improvisations.

O So Lo is the kind of album completed in sessions -- the kind of album ‘written’ and recorded in the exact same frame of mind. It’s no gimmick, then, because it exists in its first and only form and it will never, ever, come to us in the same way as it has just now. Though where other improvisation-based albums feel like flashes in the pan, lightning in a bottle, this one here is different; it seems… considered, against all odds, as though the concept existed as a mental blueprint long before it was ever performed. It has seen and accepted hardship but it’s remained collected and tender and unassuming regardless. Even its peculiarities, of which there are a surprising amount, feel congruous with the melodic resolutions: those that are felt as knots untangle and a vague sense of optimism creeps in amongst the confusion.

This is the improvised, neo-classical-cum-ambient record with the least surprises ever. We are wished good luck in navigating this record before we listen to it, but after listening, I don't think good fortune is necessary; O So Lo provides the transparency it seeks, but it keeps searching for it anyway.



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user ratings (6)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
verdant
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2017


1877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'd say "don't miss it", but i think it's here to stay for a while. hope you're well everyone : )

https://beholding.bandcamp.com/

Ovrot
October 10th 2017


13145 Comments


Who the hell is verdant?
:thinking:

Digging: Verdun - The Eternal Drift's Canticles

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2017


1877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

man ovrot you rock, you're the man

clavier
October 10th 2017


454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Your characterization of this as an improvised work is an amazing angle



Really nice stuff Jack

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2017


1877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks claviclaire pls give this a shot regardless of your proclivities : )

clavier
October 10th 2017


454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

will do, I'll report back to you

brainmelter
October 10th 2017


4569 Comments


Nice review boii

Digging: Imprecation - Theurgia Goetia Summa

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2017


19687 Comments


did i miss something

BlushfulHippocrene
October 10th 2017


2013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love this, although I need to listen to it a bunch more.

Digging: Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2017


19687 Comments


phew Blush your name is the same, thought I was going crazy

BlushfulHippocrene
October 10th 2017


2013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hahaha, oh! Yeah, it's just Jack and Claire for now, I think. I miss their old names, but these are good, we'll get used to them. (:

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2017


1877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you're gonna have to :~p

BlushfulHippocrene
October 10th 2017


2013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well, what if I don't like ~change~ L A N D D I V I N G ??? >: (((

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2017


1877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'm not sure i can help you my frand

Chortles
October 10th 2017


20837 Comments


oh look at this, new user verdant uses the word cum in his first review. isn't that WONDERFUL

(great review)

Digging: Burger / Ink - Las Vegas

BlushfulHippocrene
October 10th 2017


2013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Going to have to bump this to a 4, for at least a little while. It's kind of perfect in a way.

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2017


1877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

agreed

clavier
October 10th 2017


454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is so calming - i've never drunk chamomile tea but i imagine it's the auditory equivalent of it

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
October 11th 2017


1877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

: )

lukeofthelip
October 11th 2017


16 Comments


thanks for the support everyone! beautiful review of course, thanks a ton Jack you're the greatest!



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