A Sun-Amissa - You Stood Up for Victory We Stood Up for Less - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

A Sun-Amissa - You Stood Up for Victory We Stood Up for Less

by Steve Rhodes Rating:7 Release Date:2013-03-18

Leeds resident Richard Knox has been somewhat prolific over the years, running his own Gizeh Records label releasing a number of local, national and international artists, primarily in subtle post-rock, electronica and hushed baroque and contemporary folk, ploughing an independent hands-off ideology. He has also had time to build and run his own Cloud Moon studio and perform in a number of bands with like-minded artists, one of which is A Sun-Amissa. With his long-term collaborator Angela Chan on strings and piano, also of Glissando and his Rustle Of The Stars project, and guests Gareth Davies on bass clarinet and Owen Pegg on guitars, A Sun-Amissa's second album You Stood Up for Victory We Stood Up for Less is a potent exercise in yearning, longing and restraint, using drone and carefully building instrumentation to enchant the listener.

With no expense spared on song titles 'Part One' begins with Richard's heavily-reverbed guitar taking centre stage, building slowly with Angela's strings appearing a few minutes in. Taking the Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Silver Mt Zion-route of patience, adding layers of atmosphere to a song that threatens to break into cacophony but holds back. Part way through the guitars disappear a minimal piano appears and Angela's strings take on a more mournful stance, bringing a tinge of ominous drone to the song, but without the track delving into pity or moroseness. The final part sees an increase in volume and the return of highly-shredded guitars, before fading out into a reflective close. Whereas 'Part One' is an excellently constructed, pleasant, foreboding opener, that could perfectly soundtrack a Guillermo Del Toro film, it does suffer a little from being unable to differentiate significantly from Richard's past work or his influences.

'Part Two' begins in similar fashion, with reverbed guitars and drone-heavy strings but initially using field samples to create the ominous atmosphere. The track again builds patiently and becomes more menacing as time progresses, but then the addition of the bass-clarinet is a welcoming surprise. Like Talk Talk's 'Laughing Stock' being re-imagined by Sunn O))) it adds a original, jazz-styled touch, while simultaneously adding peril and respite to a fairly bleak song. As the bass-clarinet and guitars being to fade the track takes a further turn towards an optimistic ending to the song and album, with a delayed guitar, hardly-touched piano and strings taking the listener out of darkness to a blissful state of calm.

A Sun-Amissa have produced a well-crafted album, where minimal changes in noise, texture and ineraction win out over sonic expressions and bombast. Though the album can at times be an uneasy listen and there is probably a need for a few more surprises and turns to take A Sun-Amissa out of their (un)comfort zone and make the album a truly great release, You Stood Up for Victory We Stood Up for Less is a worthy addition to the impressive Gizeh Records catalogue.

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