[sic] Magazine

Glissando – The World Without Us

If Górecki had been on 4AD.

If This Mortal Coil had covered Thee Silver Mount Zion

If the Goth movement had never existed but grown-up, stately, gothic music was the province of chamber and classical music alone.

Frameworks, signposts…… inadequacies.

Reader, you have to hear The World Without Us . It has been four years since Glissando’s disquieting With Our Arms Wide Open We March Towards the Burning Sea . Four years of other progresses and other projects, mainly on the Gizeh label. Compared to bands like The Blue Nile four years is positively prolific. But as usual for [sic] the bottom line is the quality of the music. Happy to report then, that The World Without Us is truly wonderful. “Worth the wait”, doesn’t even come close. I’d sack myself on the spot for including such a remark. This latest Glissando offering is one of those rare occasions where music becomes a portal – a window to other times, other worlds, other lives.

The last time we encountered the music of Richard Knox was on another project called A-Sun Amissa – an urban nightmare coming across like the soundtrack to a yet unfilmed JG Ballard adaptation. The World Without Us is far less present day. Like an imagined history, a romanticised pre-Raphaelite world that never really existed. We feel like visitors here. Like strangers. And we don’t feel quite worthy. So we tread carefully. We hold our breath. We listen to these sparse, frozen laments with a hushed respect that borders on awe.

Need I go on? Fans of previous work or the other aforementioned projects cannot be disappointed. The orchestration has the same precision you would find in art-rock and post punk. There’s less reliance on drone and this allows the otherworldly vocal of Elly May Irving to hover over the music like a spectre. Of all the 4AD artists (probably rightly) trotted out as reference points ( Dead Can Dance , This Mortal Coil , Cocteau Twins etc) my mind wanders back to the beguiling debut album Livonia from His Name Is Alive . Vastly different production, of course, (Fryer and Watts Russell looped that record out of all recognition from the master tapes) but the mood, the ambience, the way both records flicker between dreaminess and ghostliness, all bear comparison. As does the ethereal vocal of Karen Oliver Vs Elly May Irving here.

The world that Irving paints is not a world without us it’s a world wher others are here with us. And with her clipped, old fashioned delivery, this can be no modern day ghost story. No Paranormal Activity this, but rather a tale from another century. Niche stuff without question. But done so well it will chart highly in my top albums of the year.

Cut, bleeding and sad.
When you dream of things you don’t understand.

Find out more

A-Sun Amissa

2008 round up – Glissando