Truly appreciated, Mark!
Following on from last year’s immaculate outing on Cathedral Transmissions (‘song of the Volcanoes’), Trevor Midgley better recognised as folk troubadour Beau dons his Simfonica alter ego to return for the happening that is the celestial occurrence entitled ‘letters in time’. A mammoth four track kosmische odyssey, a concept album that builds a modern-day conversation to ‘a significant letter from modern history’. These four individual suites find inspiration and give pause for reflection to events that changed the course of understanding, beliefs, tolerance and the political machine, in turn these symphonic salutes nod to Emile Zola, Martin Luther King, Siegfried Sassoon and Oscar Wilde. Conceived as both an audio and visual experience, ‘letters in time’ has already run into marketing issues with one label passing up the option on the basis of ‘political content’ contained in two of the tracks. How very enlightening in an age where some of us stand up for the freedoms of fairness, equality and truth. As a result, the album finds itself released and self-financed by Mr Midgley himself. To the sounds themselves, one suggests that full appreciation be taken by the listening through headphones, at nearly 50 minutes in duration, ‘letters in time’ provides for a dream like immersive experience that’s shivered in gathering shadows whilst beguiled in celestial euphoria for this ghostly quartet of shimmering visitations are lushly expressed in classically toned symphonics the most telling being the spectral swells and swathes of choral corteges that swirl with ethereal resonance amid the bleakly beautiful ghost light that is ‘a soldier’s declaration’ it’s haunting overturing casting a head bowed solemn reverence to the proceedings as though like spirit voices from the trenches, the movement momentarily chilling to the brief echo of a regimental drum roll. Elsewhere, amid the trance toned mesmerics, Simfonica takes flight utilising a vintage wash of meditative mosaics schooled in 70’s electronic drift scapes notably Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh with additional colouring lending reference to both the vivid beauty of Debussy and the gravitas of John Tavener, a point nowhere else better exemplified than on the radiant rapture that is ‘de profundis’. ‘j’accuse’ – incidentally the longest suite featured here, is aglow in a contemplative Church like majesty, its whisper toning vapour trails serenely spooled in ecliptical formations that orbit and shimmer between lulling hymnal haloes and sun scorched grace falls. Perhaps the most harrowing and hollowing of the quartet is the doomed fate sealing ‘from a Birmingham jail’, for here a foreboding chill prevails throughout, its ethereal cascades retreating in a conspiring foretelling with the harmonies petrified and pierced with a disquieting bleakening.