Painted Girl - Familiar Trees of the North West
Familiar Trees of the North West
May 22, 2022
You Came With the Dawn begins our journey into Wonderful Beasts’ first full length release. A low buzz emits from somewhere distant, filling a dark soundscape with cold reverberations. Through the dissonance, we find chirping arpeggiations being softly caressed towards us. As the buzz begins to seep back in, we find that everything in the atmosphere we are being welcomed to is in tune. A beautiful synergy between the melodies and the environment we find them in.
Heavily distorted synth notes jump and dive in My Old Guitar. A tom drum begins a gentle beat with a pacy momentum, and as the synth fades out we find stardust-like notes glittering down before us. The wonderful sense of melody the duo of Xqui and boycalledcrow have exhibited on their prior releases stands proudly very early on. Warbling chords glow from the background. The drum is an interesting addition to the track. It give a sense of organic movement, augmented as a bass drum begins to drive us forward. The percussive element solidify themselves as a trellis. A guideline from which the melodic elements can bloom and branch out. The duos approach and musicianship could be likened to that of a band or an outfit of much more than just themselves. There is a homogenised purity here that one would usually only catch deep into the 15-track album of a confident and incredibly skilled band.
A ghostly gardenia begins to fades in and out of sight on Love Her, as rolling glassy chords unfurl toward the listener. The atmosphere is one of fragility, the pair breathing a frail and innocent elegance into the mix. With very little reverb of note at the very beginning, it feels like we are locked into a very personal experience. Then as the mix grows and envelops us, the sensation is one of absolutely comfort and tranquility. The duo push the revolution of sound out every so often, letting the more euphoric reverbed parts of the track carry this wonderful, pirouetting sound all the way through the stereo field.
I Fell Into A Dream begins a clearer and more structured trajectory. Raindrop synths dance up and down, as an organic instrument turns from organic to artificial and back again. Almost as if we are watching a time lapse of a field blooming. Nothing is too intimidating or brash, everything blooms with this frail inevitability. There’s a warmth that cloaks everything present in each track, a mellow feeling, as if every little trill or movement is awash with warm blues and greens. Each part moves in its own time and rhythm, as they phase in and out of each other.
She Is the Melody Man reprises the hammering tom drum as we are thrown almost immediately into a swiftly moving sequence. A loop moves in time with the drum, a small guitar part that sounds like its been played into a tiny toy keyboard. Slowly a beautiful phasing sound is joined by a more organic string instrument as it pitter-patters its way through the track. The track feels brief due to the level of intensity that is maintained throughout, and the instruments and percussion fade into an abrupt silence.
I Fell Into Another Dream reacquaints us with the same glowing instruments. A bright piano peeking through with abrupt notes like sunlight through the trees, a shimmering echoed instrument brushes along like a gentle breeze. Everything about it feels bright and halcyonic. The duo bathe the listener in an unending sequence of soothing notes and textures.
Into the Emerald Eye forces its way in abruptly in contrast to the tracks before. A deep descending note drags us down into a rumbling trench of sound. A synth layered with fuzz and dirt begins to rise up from the murk, its notes give way to a warm, still slightly fuzzy pad sound that shakes the ground beneath us. Above, the higher notes swirl with a melancholic feeling to them.
Heavy Gaze is lifted off of their recent EP of the same name (Read the review here). While that EP felt a lot more experimental in its sounds, the titular track fits in well with the feeling of The Art of Whisper. Hi hats giving way to the mellow bleating of a glassy synth. The sounds ease their way into a light fuzz, keeping out on the peripheries enough not to be overwhelming, but still hugely effective. Again we follow the guide rope of percussion along as the beautifully melodic twirls of sound branch off into eddys and deviations.
Low undulations begin to emerge, muddied by harsh and restrictive equalisation. The clipping of reversed samples act as light percussion as a calming tune plays in deep murmuring tones.
Quiet’s first chords burst out and decay in the air. Touching chords flash out suddenly, diced by delay and echo. The duo launch into huge spirals of sound as the morose chords continue to play beneath. We listen to creatures, beautiful but sublime in their movements, wake and shuffle around in a moist and dimly lit cave. Each sound and shuffle lost in the nether regions of the darkness, each chord reaching out in the dark before tumbling into the nothingness below. The large and overbearing synth becomes more excitable, pushing huge chords toward the front of the mix as the gaping chasm yawns below.
Xqui and boycalledcrow confidently register their partnership on this debut album. The abstract and mystical sounds they produced on their last EP are given more form, purpose and movement on The Art of Whisper. They present an album in which organic earth-born instruments dance and cavort with sprites and otherworldly entities. Unabashedly moving and subtly brilliant, the two artists continue on a path that proves enriching for the listener.
Listen in full/purchase on CD here: https://wormholeworld.bandcamp.com/album/the-art-of-whisper