Tomorrow We Sail - Saturn (EP) - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Tomorrow We Sail - Saturn (EP)

by Steve Rhodes Rating:7.5 Release Date:2015-03-23

A one-track collaboration between occultist, poet and historian Alexander Cummins and Leeds' torchlit mood-enhancers Tomorrow We Sail, 'Saturn', like all good 19-minute-plus tracks, begins patiently, with light percussion and noises that resemble an electricity sub-station. Alexander's vocal appears as the mood darkens, with deeper instrumentation added to a drone-like, foreboding atmosphere, the kind that Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Winged Victory for the Sullen regularly entertain us with. With chilling piano and Ella May's supporting vocal puncturing the increasingly dense tone as Alexander lists the hours of the night, the track suddenly drops out into a serene and reflective ambience, leaving Ella May's beautiful choral voice as sole instrumentation.

Around halfway through, when piano, feint backing vocals, strings and drums enter the fray, the track ups its game, as Alexander's vocal, while seemingly listing occupations, becomes increasingly strained and desperate, like the highpoints of Slint's Spiderland, matching perfectly with the haunting, hypnotic and emotive instrumentation. After such intensity, it's unsurprising the track takes time out to relax, with piano and underplayed strings taking centre-stage momentarily. 

However, it's the calm before the storm. As guitar, bass, piano and drums lead the way and the closing section builds up into an expectant crescendo, Alexander's vocal reappears at the epicentre, at his most vehement, borderline bellowing, before again collapsing, leaving the closing refrain: “To grant us solace from the shadow of your sorrows”.

The combination of Alexander's largely spoken-word vocals, which at times take an old-British stance akin to Peter Gabriel in his I Know What I Like in Your Wardrobe phase, and Tomorrow We Sail's effortless instrumentation, results in a piece that is a bleak but rewarding, dramatic roller-coaster of emotions, similar in aesthetic to Our Ceasing Voice and Gizeh label-mates FareWell Poetry. A welcome appetiser to, hopefully, further co-operation in the future.

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Sounds interesting. Admittedly, I've not heard of either of them.

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