Album ReviewsReviews

Review: Richard Moult - Yclypt (2012)

Cover Paint­ing

artist: Richard Moult
release: Yclypt
format: CD
year of release: 2012
label: Second Lan­guage
dur­a­tion: 33:18

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

If I had to name musi­cians I’m really deeply glad to know, Richard Moult would be near the top of my list. Not just because of the con­sist­ent qual­ity of his com­pos­i­tions, but also because they build bridges between the worlds of clas­sical music, ambi­ent, and folk, as is also wit­nessed by Moult’s con­tri­bu­tions to bands like United Bible Stud­ies and Far Black Fur­long. Yclypt is his latest full-length album, a half-hour series of pieces for string quin­tet, released through Second Lan­guage Music, like last year’s Celes­tial King for a Year.

Yclypt, though in line with Celes­tial King in its string set­ting, is less dron­ish, and per­haps a bit more com­mit­ted to put­ting its melody upfront. The “Apollo Wince­le­seia” cycle has an almost baroque touch at times, espe­cially the won­der­fully calm open­ing of the second move­ment. The pre­vail­ing emo­tion is one of sad­ness, though, a pro­found for­lorn thread that can be traced through the major­ity of Moult’s music.

Nowhere is this more poignant than in “Song for Mourie”, a heart-wrench­ing piece that would have to be a threnody to someone who has gone bey­ond. After the almost silent “Na h-Òbaidh­nean”, The last third of the album is given over to “Sym­bol of an Infin­ite Past”, the most drone-based of the com­pos­i­tions. The emo­tional swell of the earlier music is allowed to ebb away here, and instead we are treated to soft, stretch­ing string notes, with maybe the tini­est hint of elec­tronic manip­u­la­tion prick­ing through here and there. This ‘sym­bol’ is per­haps an attempt to repos­i­tion the mind after emo­tional trauma by focus­ing on a lar­ger, spir­itual plane.

The title Yclypt, an Old Eng­lish par­ti­ciple mean­ing ’embraced’, refers per­haps not only to the phys­ical embrace of a loved one, and the ritual embrace of a church in folk­lore, but also to a yet lar­ger embrace, that of the world and uni­verse, a spir­itual pres­ence to fall back on in times of need.

Whether or not my inter­pret­a­tions hold any merit does­n’t really mat­ter. The music speaks for itself, and it is a beau­ti­ful, oft­times under­stated, sequel to Celes­tial King, which was often heavy with string and vocal drones. The present­a­tion and pack­aging by the label are lovely as well, includ­ing a post­card with Moult’s cover paint­ing and three skel­eton leaves, and thank­fully it is also avail­able to non-sub­scribers.


Reviewed by O.S.


1. Apollo Wince­le­seia I (3:27)
2. Apollo Wince­le­seia II (4:21)
3. Apollo Wince­le­seia III (8:56)
4. Song For Mourie (4:31)
5. Na H-Òbaidh­nean (1:58)
6. Sym­bol Of An Infin­ite Past (10:08)