Vlor's beginnings stretch back to 1992, the band's two original EPs being recorded in the mid-late 90s before its demise. Resurrecting the project sans original member Russell Halasz and with the help of an array of notable artists, including Lycia's Mike Vanportfleet, Aarktica's Jon DeRosa, and Rivulets' Nathan Amundson, Silber head Brian John Mitchell has compiled Vlor's first full length, A Fire is Meant for Burning. Assembled from the best results of these collaborations, built around 90 minutes of his own original guitar-based source material, the mostly instrumental and remarkably cohesive album contains just over 40 minutes of melodic and sonically diverse constructed compositions.
All twelve tracks here are anchored by Mitchell's simplistic-yet-emotive repeating guitar riffs and arpeggios, most of the album's sonic variety coming largely from its various collaborators. The nicely produced "potential new sound", its simple guitar arpeggio buried beneath beautifully textured layers of Indian instrumentation and atmospheric processed loops, is one of the disc's loveliest and most effective, but even the stripped down, melodic, interweaving two-guitar interplay of "light at the speed of sound" proves quite dynamic. The sinister guitar riff, dark melodic counterpoint, and unsettling distorted noise of "wires" provide another particularly striking moment.
As expected, "days like smoke", the only title featuring Mike Vanportfleet, is arguably the disc's highlight, a simply beautiful foray into melancholia, airy breaths searing the background of the lush, synth-heavy delivery that sets it apart from the rest of the material here. Also notable for their differences are "suncatcher", featuring the concrete ethereal vocals of Jessica Bailiff, and "new machine", still experimental but featuring a more traditional rock arrangement complete with percussion courtesy of Paolo Messere.
From slightly folksy guitar simplicity to lush ethereal moments, Vlor's return is a diverse and rather successful jump into experimental collaborative territory. Its occasionally sloppiness, likely due to it's varying original sources, actually often adds an extra touch of humanity rather than detracting from the material, creating an album that's imperfect, but almost necessarily so. Always underpinned and grounded by Mitchell's repetition but given life through the intervention and imaginations of its collaborators, A Fire is Meant for Burning is an emotive and relevant offering that proves greater than the sum of its parts.
Silber Records website: www.silbermedia.com
|< Prev||Next >|