Review: Still Light - Lything (2009)


CDr Cover

artist: Still Light
release: Lyth­ing
format: CDr, LP
year of release: 2009, 2010
label: Apol­lo­laan, Tone­float
dur­a­tion: 37:45

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

As I’ve said before: hid­den gems are one thing that make the review­ing busi­ness fun. Well, here’s another one. Still Light’s debut album Lyth­ing has seen only a 150 cop­ies so far; 50 in 2009 on a hand­made Apol­lo­laan CDr, and last year 100 lovely LPs on Tone­float C. This is a ridicu­lous num­ber, because the music on this album could eas­ily go on to sell ten times as much, at least.

The pol­ished prog folk/rock on Lyth­ing is dreamed up by Kir­ill Nikolai, aided here by Sand Snow­man and Lucy Hague on vari­ous instru­ments and vocals. From the open­ing waltz of “Through the Grain”, it is clear that we’re deal­ing with thor­oughly refined music that takes its cues from a rich tra­di­tion of pro­gress­ive rock and folk styles, from Pink Floyd and their con­tem­por­ar­ies to the acous­tic out­ings of bands like Opeth and Por­cu­pine Tree in recent days, not to men­tion strong par­al­lels to the dream­like nature of Sand Snowman’s solo works. No heavy rock or death metal parts, though. The arrange­ment of the music is com­posed of softer elec­tric and acous­tic gui­tars, organ, flute, bass, and occa­sional drums and per­cus­sion. Nat­ural sound­ing male-female vocal har­mon­ies dom­in­ate most of the tracks, all of which have a wist­ful, mel­an­cholic tinge.

LP Cover

All six tracks are strong, each with par­tic­u­lar touches that add vari­ation, such as the sampled old lady’s nar­rat­ive on “Foot­prints in the Garden”. “August” is per­haps the strongest track, along with the opener, pos­sess­ing a com­pel­ling driv­ing rhythm in the main melodic arrange­ment, per­fectly accen­tu­ated by vocals, solo­ing, and the ambi­ent inter­lude. Men­tion must also go to the final track with its catchy banjo and piano sup­port.

Lyth­ing is per­haps not at the abso­lute height of ori­gin­al­ity, but apart from that this is a most excel­lent album, deserving of a con­sid­er­able audi­ence in the world of pro­gress­ive rock and altern­at­ive folk. I expect much of Still Light’s future, and if these expect­a­tion prove well-founded, this album will soon be a collector’s item. All the more reason to check it out right now.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Through The Grain (6:12)
2. A Rem­edy (5:48)
3. Foot­prints In The Garden (4:58)

4. August (10:47)
5. Hour Of The Wolf (2:49)
6. Tenebre (7:11)