Review: Still Light - Rosarium (2012) 1


artist: Still Light
release: Ros­ar­ium
format: 2LP, CD
year of release: 2012
label: tone­float
dur­a­tion: 47:06

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

The rust of autumn needs a soundtrack, and Still Light’s second album is one of this year’s best can­did­ates. Kir­ill Nikolai’s pro­gress­ive folk pro­ject is up to steam again, three years after the imme­di­ately excel­lent début record Lyth­ing. The meta­phor may be ill-chosen, though: Ros­ar­ium ambles through the coun­tryside at a pon­der­ous pace, and steam power is far frown my mind when listen­ing to this record, unless it is the power of a train gently but cruelly tak­ing you away from a lover to an unknown des­tin­a­tion.

Although soft elec­tric gui­tar melod­ies and fra­gile, almost whimper-spoken vocals form the prom­in­ent heart of Nikolai’s music, a lot of the strength of Ros­ar­ium lies in the subtle addi­tions: fuzzy spells of synth and organ, back­ing vocals, gentle per­cus­sion, touches of strings… The influ­ence of six­ties and sev­en­ties prog exper­i­ment­a­tion - the calmer vari­ety, that is: more “Grantchester Mead­ows” than “Astro­nomy Dom­ine” - can be felt clearly, espe­cially when Nikolai indul­ges in a misty instru­mental drone like “Pro­ces­sional pt. II”.

The rich­ness of the instru­ment­a­tion, also thanks to the guest con­trib­ut­ors, and the warmth of the pro­duc­tion add much to this album’s value, which unfor­tu­nately is a tad light when it comes to com­pos­i­tion. Lots of bit­ter­sweet waltz­ing with the fall­ing leaves, but few sur­prises apart from an occa­sional new voice, or an instru­mental bit where the intric­ate sound design shines forth. Des­pite this light­ness, Ros­ar­ium is con­vin­cing, a mel­an­cholic jour­ney that pulls you in, not in the least at the very end of the final track, where softly fad­ing acous­tic gui­tar, organ, and cello dis­ap­pear into the autumn waters.

A per­fect album for the sea­son, then, and a lovely space to get lost in for a while. The col­lector in you can rejoice as well, because this is another one of those lav­ish tone­float releases, espe­cially the lim­ited double LP on 45 rpm, which comes with a CD copy as well. Finally, there’s a trip­tych of videos to pro­mote this album online at the ded­ic­ated site http://​www​.soletwis​ted​heir​.com; here’s one of them to tease you:

[vimeo 48804461]

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Bough (9:16)
2. A Thing Bur­ied (2:35)
3. The Cross of Snow (6:36)
4. Two Sis­ters (9:13)
5. Pro­ces­sional Pt. I (5:48)
6. Pro­ces­sional Pt. II (5:25)
7. Ros­ary (8:13)

  • Joost

    Been listen­ing to this album quite a lot, I think the atmo­sphere is amaz­ing!