Richard Knox & Frederic D Oberland - The Rustle of the Stars - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Richard Knox & Frederic D Oberland - The Rustle of the Stars

by Steve Rhodes Rating:7.5 Release Date:2012-05-22

A project between Gizeh Records label-boss, member of Glissando and A-Sun-Amissa's Richard Knox and FareWell Poetry's Frederic D Oberland has culminated in The Rustle of the Stars. The two guitarists, rather than duelling with one another, have complimented each other's styles on an impressive album which incorporates elements of their individual groups, while taking inspiration from some post-rock heavyweights.

The startling 'Sleeping Land Pt I' is a joyous strings-led opener, with shimmering, barely-audible guitar. Suggesting hints of Amiina, Rachels and Sigur Ros at their most triumphant, it builds patiently and elevates further with the introduction of a haunting, angelic vocal from Glissando's Elly May Irving part way through. A warm rush of optimism, like the closing soundtrack to an emotional film, it is a delightful beginning to the album.

'Mist' takes a direction towards FareWell Poetry, relying on atmospherics with heavily-feedbacked, brooding guitars and strings taking centre stage. It is a mournful contrast that hints at Godspeed You! Black Emperor before the apocalypse. 'Drawing Lines to the End of the World' continues this theme, with a slow, haunting, repetitive guitar-riff, brooding piano and strings which weave in and out of the background, like Thee Silver Mt. Zion at their most introspective.

Dark atmospherics are a key theme of the album and the tracks flow neatly into each other, but with subtle changes in instrumentation, mood and atmosphere throughout. 'Seas of Bones' lives up to its foreboding title, with a sometimes unsettling but glorious minimal backing, 'The Wreck of Hope' is a bleaker number with heavy use of minor-chord piano and barren but enchanting strings while the piano-led 'Le Passage Du Nord-Ouest' blurs the margins between dark and light. Perhaps resembling a disconsolate version of Library Tapes. The theme appears to initially manifest itself in closer 'Sleeping Land Pt II', with its pessimistic opening strings, but slowly allows lighter strings and guitar to break through. A good counterpoint and reprise to the beautiful opener.

Richard and Frederic have done well in combining elements of their groups, without either dominating, and the stand-out 'Sleeping Land' tracks neatly sandwich the album, like a blanket protecting from the dark. The music here would be greatly enhanced by being heard live, so go see them on tour in the UK and Europe in November.

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