25 November 2018

Sylvaine - Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone

If you have ever read these blogs before, you might remember Sylvaine.  Brief history lesson here: Back in 2014, I received an email from Sylvaine asking me to review her first album Silent Chamber, Noisy Heart (review linked here).  Whilst it was not something I would have went out of my way to listen to, it was still well produced/performed.  After Silent Chamber, Noisy Heart, she signed up to Season of Mist records who released her second album Wistful in 2015 (review linked here).  Wistful was an improvement on her original formula, one which I return to every now and again.  So, I've been following her career so far, which has been going from strength to strength.  She has played shows around the world, her albums have been well received and everything seems to be heading in the right direction.  However, Sylvaine has arrived at album number three.  The third record of any band/artists career is usually supposed to be the difficult record.  Mainly because it's the one that has been developed with  The title is Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone, so we have returned to the original title formula.  The image is a beautiful drawing of crystals coming out of a rock, which has a vintage appeal.

Musically, Sylvaine is still heading on that epic Blackgaze approach that has been the bedrock of her career so far.  Over six tracks, she delves into the depths of this genre and brings back some absolute gems!  I don't know exactly what it is, but there seems to be a focus here which was not present before.  I'm not saying that Silent Chamber.... and Wistful were sloppy jams with freeform psychedelic experiences, but there is definitely more urgency behind the music, a stronger commitment.  Maybe it's a belief or new confidence that has developed over time.  Whatever it is, it has certainly focused the strengths of Sylvaine.

All of these tracks, much like Soul Dissolution and Yob, are lengthy affairs.  So, from the get-go, I think it's fair to warn people that this is not for anyone with a short attention span.  Only "Severance" comes in under five minutes, so when you start listening to this, you've got to be committed.   Overall, the earthly feeling of Wistful has continued with tracks such as "Mørklagt", "Worlds Collide" and "Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone".  They just have a natural, slow and unfolding feeling about them.  They sometimes sound as if they've arrived from dreams, or they've been whispered in the wind.  These are silly metaphors, but the songs seem to speak to me that way.  My favourite is "Abeyance", the heavier parts of this song sound brilliant, the guitar in the intro is amazing and it feels like the lynchpin to the album.

Any negatives?  No, to be honest with you.  Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone has bucked the trend for third albums.  It's an absolute corker, a real treat as we approach the winter months of 2018 and one that I'm enthralled with.  But the biggest pleasure I get from this album is not the music.  It's the joy in seeing an artist developing into something more.  Sylvaine has improved with each record, taking someone who was not really acquainted with Blackgaze and made him into a fan.  For that, I'm truly thankful to Sylvaine for that initial email. Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone will be high on a lot of people's end of year lists, I recommend you checking it out now.

10 out of ten - This is proof that there is a deity

Top track - Abeyance

You can purchase Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone on Amazon here.

You can purchase Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone on Bandcamp here.

You can visit the Sylvaine website here.

You can follow the activities of Sylvaine on Facebook here.

You can stream Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone on Spotify here.

You can stream Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone on Deezer here.

At the time of writing, Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone is not on Tidal. However, if this ever changes, it'll be on her Tidal page via this link.

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