Review: 3 Seconds of Air - The Flight of Song (2009)


3soa_tfosartist: 3 Seconds of Air
release: The Flight of Song
format: CD, LP
year of release: 2009
label: tone­float
dur­a­tion: 74:25

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com.

Released in June 2009, this debut album by 3 Seconds of Air is a new addi­tion to the roster of tone­float records. On second thought, new… who other than Dirk Ser­ries (vid­na­Ob­mana, Fear Falls Burn­ing) would be one of the mem­bers of this trio? Together with bassist Mar­tina Ver­ho­even and gui­tar­ist Paul van den Berg, he’s embarked on a new musical jour­ney. The Flight of Song was recor­ded live last Feb­ru­ary in a frozen-over Flem­ish chapel, using two Gib­son Les Pauls and a Fender Jazz Bass, some effects, amps, a mic, and a laptop. Sounds like a recipe for some heavy gui­tar drones, but that’s not quite the case.

No, The Flight of Song is more like the exact oppos­ite: light and flighty sounds in long, drift­ing com­pos­i­tions. In fact, the band name is per­fectly chosen, provided you extend the time period a bit. From start to fin­ish, these three musi­cians pick you up into a soar­ing, bright atmo­sphere, and they don’t put you down until the last notes fade after over an hour. Most of the float­ing power, so to speak, is provided by gentle gui­tar waves, with the bass pick­ing out a note here and there. Very slow, very min­imal, like a much lighter coun­ter­part to Bohren & Der Club of Gore.

I get the feel­ing that when the band came to record­ing the final res­ult, they had grown per­fectly attuned to their sur­round­ings and each other’s music; they never get in each other’s way, the sound is del­ic­ate and well-designed, and in a way, we’re listen­ing to a record med­it­a­tion ses­sion expressed not in words or song, but in soft drones and waves. The one prob­lem that I have with this though, is the fol­low­ing. This might be one of those cases where the res­ult, how­ever charm­ing, is infin­itely less import­ant to the listener than to the maker. For me, the atmo­sphere and flow of the album is per­fect, but in essence, it never tran­scends the level of excel­lent back­ground music, because the exper­i­ence of being part of this med­it­a­tion is absent. I ima­gine this must have been dif­fer­ent for those who had the chance to attend of the band’s per­form­ances this sum­mer. In the end, though, this is purely sub­ject­ive, and I encour­age oth­ers to judge for them­selves if they can find some­thing tucked away in these musical cloud­scapes.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Dead Poets Sing The Sun­less Land (20:03)
2. The Heart Dis­in­teg­rates Wear­ing Dis­pos­able Masks Of Angels (22:44)
3. Warp­ing Night Air Hav­ing Brought The Boom (18:19)
4. Ghosts Stream The Har­mony Of Delight (13:19)