The World Without Us
GZH40 || November 2012 || LP / CD / DL
LP || 180g heavyweight LP comes in a beautiful matte finished sleeve with black inner paper sleeve stamped with the Gizeh logo. Includes a free instant download of the entire album.
CD || Housed in a matte-finished 4 panel digipak. Includes a free instant download of the entire album.
DIGITAL || Visit our Bandcamp page to purchase digital items in Lossless/MP3 format.
It's been four long years since Glissando released the critically acclaimed 'With Our Arms Wide Open We March Towards the Burning Sea' and the duo finally return this November with a new record 'The World Without Us'.
The new material bares Glissando's trademark of ethereal voices and tip-toing piano melodies but the overall sound is richer and more expansive. Epic swells of strings and guitars sore above the drones and field recordings to create an intense yet fragile noise. The dynamics of the new record are also apparent and through the use of an array of guests there is a new depth and ambition to Glissando that portrays the songs in their truest form. 'The World Without Us' moves slowly between dark shadows and into more hopeful territory throughout, it's not afraid to be silent when the moment arrives but it's also capable of enormous, echoing, choral and string crescendoes in one subtle movement.
Since Glissando's debut in 2008 Elly May Irving and Richard Knox have experimented with countless different live set-ups and members ranging from simple, more immediate shows as a duo through to a 7-piece group. Never tied to a specific ideal of how to play the material, it enabled the group to tour heavily for a couple of years in the UK and Europe whilst recording a follow-up album but inevitably this process took it toll. Knox began new projects; 'The Rustle of the Stars' (with Frederic D. Oberland of FareWell Poetry) and later A-Sun Amissa (which also features regular Glissando member Angela Chan) which weighed heavily on the amount of studio time he could commit to Glissando.
May 2012 saw the decision of Irving and Knox to finally complete the record they had been tentatively working on for four years and the final stages came together relatively quickly. Knox produced and pre-mixed the record in his own Cloud Blunt Moon studio in Leeds before heading to Paris to complete the final mixing session with Oberland at his Magnum Diva studio.
The material on 'The World Without Us' stretches back the full four years with the likes of The Long Lost and Of Silence which previously featured on a highly limited edition double-A-side single. The title track is also an older song which has been morphed and reworked over the years. The duo knew these songs were too strong to leave off the record and pushed to find ways of hitting the same standard with the newer tracks like 'Companion' which is almost Scott Walker-esque in the vocal delivery, marking a dynamic change in the way Irving is using her voice.
"If Górecki had been on 4AD. If This Mortal Coil had covered Thee Silver Mount Zion. This latest Glissando offering is one of those rare occasions where music becomes a portal – a window to other times, other worlds, other lives."
Elly May Irving and Richard Knox create an unmistakable sonic footprint on the release, the sounds have become more orchestral and dynamic, showing not only a furthering of Irving and Knox's skills as musicians over the years, but also their ability to adapt, and create records that refuse to slip into the ruts carved out by previous releases.
Bubbling over with cinematic melancholy, Glissando’s first album in four years is a breathtakingly beautiful exploration of emotional collapse, as haunting as it is beguiling. Richard Knox’s compositions waver on the crest of complete emotional collapse, mournful piano dirges and spectral ambience punctuated by Elly May Irving’s sharp trills, her voice a distant echo of Jarboe’s racking falsetto, and the calm it conveys is almost suffocating in its honesty. Rather than simply pushing for crystalline beauty, there is a dark undercurrent here that lurks amongst grey drones that wrap and constrict, and at times the swelling of strings becomes a stretching and tearing that proves exquisitely uncomfortable. To call this an accomplished emotional effort would be to downplay its achievements; if given the opportunity to work their way under your skin, Glissando’s music is nothing short of heartbreaking.
THE STEINBERG PRINCIPLE
an immediate, engaging and compelling record that sucks you in and keeps you focused and alive from beginning to end. Glissando save the best for last with the simply stunning finale of Still (II) - a reaction to record opener Still (I) and one of the most sublime bits of song-writing this year.
There’s a twist in the music. Her voice is the sole survivor, thawing the icy hands with her warm vocal. She won! It is a victory for everlasting love – after all that has happened, and even surviving after we have gone. The final two minutes are her victory cry, but it is one that is ghosted with loss, too, hanging over her world like inflicted, invisible scars. She survived, but the world did not. The surface is just as lifeless as the cloudy sky. Even the flaming sun loses all colour.
A world, without us.
WHISPERIN & HOLLERIN 9/10
‘The World Without Us’ is an album to ponder, to explore and to completely immerse oneself in.
‘The World Without Us’ is an artistic triumph where each note has clearly been carefully considered. Spiritually and musically it belongs in the same niche as Dead Can Dance or Mark Hollis for it’s a record which disobeys the conventions of verses and choruses and inhabits its own peculiar world.
Spiderweb-thin falsetto vocals that work at counterpoint with assorted strings, keys and the occasional shimmering chime. The World Without Us is hard to place, because while instantly familiar, and there are reference points your brain is making to the music, there aren't any concrete ones – it flits between shire-born gothic folk, but with more menace, and equal amounts of fragility, and… Well, it's great. One to burn a candle to.
A CLOSER LISTEN
It’s important to note that the album is not a throwback recording, but a resurrection of a genre for a new era. Organic instruments, electronics, field recordings and voice are blended in a thoroughly modern fashion, producing a sonic hybrid. If The World Without Us sparks a renaissance in the ethereal genre, we’ll be delighted. If not, it’s still a triumph for Knox and Irving. A world with them is better than a world without.
Arriving four years after With Our Arms Wide Open We March Towards the Burning Sea, the Leeds-based duo again serve up a haunting set of slow-motion, vocal- and-piano-based moodscapes. If the debut album's title sounds like something one would more associate with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Glissando's angst-ridden, strings-heavy sound also at times resembles the Montreal band's, if in more concise form—until Irving's voice appears, that is, to give Glissando its individuating character. So while the brooding instrumental overture “Still (I),” with its heavy emphasis on oceanic strings and piano, invites the comparison, the subsequent song “The Long Lost”—despite the sombre cello and tremolo guitar shadings—presents Glissando as an entity unto itself the moment Irving's hushed “Take my hand / I will walk with you” vocal appears.
NOVEMBER 5th 2012
Limited Edition LP / CD / DL
The Long Lost
The World Without Us
For the Light
Elly May Irving (voice, piano)
Richard Knox (gtr, organ, drones, field recordings, piano, voice, drums)
Angela Chan (cello, viola, violin, glockenspiel, erhu)
Lidwine (voice, harp)
Frederic D. Oberland (reed organ, harmonium, bells, space echo, bowed pantophone, fender rhodes)
Aaron Martin (cello, bowed banjo, bowl)
Tim Hay (gtr, bass, voice)
Paul Elam (gtr)
Alistair Hay (drums)
Mastered by Nils Frahm
Photography / Layout / Design by Richard Knox & Kate Schofield