subzar : subzar (1st album released in 2014)
This is the front line of modern-classical music!!
A grandiose conceptual world reminiscent of Sigur Rós and Ólafur Arnalds, a tense atmosphere like Steve Reich, and a destructive power like Godspeed You! Black Emperor. We are so proud to announce that we will release the first album of subzar, a UK-based acoustic post-rock quartet, packed with talent.
Goldmund, Max Richter, Ólafur Arnalds, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Nils Frahm, Sylvain Chauveau... Even if you don't know the names, you must have hear the compositions of some great modern-classical music artists via films and TVs etc. all over the world. And now, a new modern-classical act consisting of a duo of guitarists, a violinist and cellist, subzar has just joined the ranks of the elite.
Whilst bearing similarities with the aforementioned artists, it is their performing technique and unique sound affected by several genres such as classical music, post-rock and jazz, that sets them apart offering something unique to the listener.
A Celtic like feeling in the first tune 'the drum of ceaseless echo', a forceful performance and tense atmosphere in the fourth tune 'last night i thought a thousand plans, but today i go my old way', and ending on the grandeur twenty-two minute masterpiece 'pico', his album includes their newly re-mastered self-released EPs; 'i am not yet here' and 'pico'. So, it is not only their awesome début album but also the best release to date.
In addition, please don't miss the beautiful artworks for CD which includes a 8-page booklet.
For fans of not only post-rock and modern-classical but also artists such as Joe Hisaishi, Michael Nyman, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Massive Attack.
|1. the drum of ceaseless echo||Gav Sirisena : Steel-String Guitar|
|2. as memories fade, that which remains...||Chris Redfearn : Nylon-String Guitar|
|3. the miserable madness of worldly men lamented||Nicky Haire : Violin|
|4. last night i thought a thousand plans, but today i go my old way||Derek Yau : Cello|
|5. flight of the auguries|
|part i - tethered no more, from shackled to soar|
|part ii - in ritual's suspense|
|part iii - toward new horizons yonder, though clouds may tear asunder|
|part iv - in languid drift aloft a looking-glass sea|
|All tracks composed by Chris Redfearn, Derek Yau, Gav Sirisena, Nicky Haire|
|Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Steve Redfearn, Luca Sammuri|
|Post Mastered by Takahiro Kido, KASHIWA Daisuke|
|Illustration by Marie Boucomont|
|Art Direction and Design by Clayton Junior, Takahiro Kido|
|Released by Ricco Label|
|last night i thought a thousand plans||as memories fade, that which remains...||i am not yet here : trailer||pico : trailer|
One of two things can happen when a band makes the transition from one genre of music to another (in this case, post-rock to modern composition) and shares the intermediate results: horrible wreckage or, in this case, gorgeous allure. subzar (a short form of “somewhere between the zenith and ruin”) began with two acoustic guitars, then added a violin, a cello and an uncredited piano. Now the quartet sounds a little like Rachel’s, with cover art akin to Lockerbie: two worlds not so much colliding as merging.
The tone remains positive throughout the half-hour album, which may be delicate in parts, but is never in danger of breaking. Occasional spoken word offers a glimpse into the band’s mindset, which seems to be that of a group of friends trying to make the world a better place. The music comforts without placidity, creating an atmosphere that is both intelligent and pure. One feels safe while listening, warmed by a smoldering flame; whenever a pep talk is needed, one of the band members steps to the microphone to provide encouragement.
While uncredited, the glockenspiel and piano make brief appearances, the former for five notes ( ! ) on “as memories fade, that which remains …” and the latter in the brief finale. This expansion of timbres serves the band well, providing the illusion of a larger ensemble. It’s possible that subzar may continue to add members as it evolves, matching the size of Bell Orchestre (6) or surpassing them. As long as the members continue to play so sweetly together, we’ll happily support them.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that the strings never seem to overwhelm the guitars. Every stunning violin/cello passage is balanced by another that focuses on the base instruments. The ear is drawn in one direction and then the other, not torn but happily engaged. The members of subzar may feel that they are “not yet here”, but from the sound of this album, they’ve already arrived.
= Richard Allen / a closer listen
SUBZAR is a band from Cambridge, UK that started making music many years ago as a side project between two friends and at some point not long ago took on a life of its own and evolved into the quartet we know now. Then, they started creating new music and released the I Am Not Yet Here EP in 2012. Now, after a year of perfecting their compositional methods they present PICO, their new EP.
Subzar's music is entirely acoustic and instrumental, fusing influences that fluctuate between Jazz, Post-Rock and Classical. Two guitars are accompanied by violin and cello, instruments that compensate the lack of drums by creating beautiful and calm pseudo-classical atmospheres. And even when the music is enough to understand what they want to comunicate, Subzar uses some sampled voices to guide us through their albums.
Pico is a highly conceptual work that conveys the migratory journey of a flock of birds in a complex and fascinating 21-minute effort. This EP has been divided into four movements, each one chronicles different parts of the journey that is full of triumphs and travails for the birds.
Pico also offers a view from the perspective of those who are always looking for new lands to explore, those who feel the urge to make their own journey through life asking themselves: Shall we seek shelter in the comforts of our nest, or will we spread our wings to places far beyond?
We start the journey with 'Tethered No More, From Shackled To Soar', piece that set the perfect start to this experience, we can feel the excitement that create the idea of an upcoming departure but also how the character feels insecure and worried about the future. The melancholy is an important feeling in this part and is provided by the cello's rawness. In second position we have 'In Ritual's Suspense' segment that is clearly related with the take off, he feels happy to be able to leave that place even when important things may have happened they don't tie him there, he is really ready to fly again.
'Toward New Horizons Yonder, Though, Clouds May Tear Asunder' is in the third position and reflects the magnificent satisfaction that Pico feels while flying, he is free and nothing can stop him now, or thats what he thought until he sees a storm coming his way, in that moment he suffers, he becomes unstable and may think that it would have been better to stay where he was but there is no going back, he has to face his destiny, hoping for the best. 'In Languid Drift Aloft a Looking-Glass Sea' is the final movement, Pico survived and is getting closer to his destiny, he understands now that everything he left behind and all the suffering were necessary to be able to enjoy this new place that will be his home (for now).
I enjoy a lot this music because its composition and execution are fantastic, also the message is clear and really easy to understand. I see in Subzar one of the most innovative projects of the UK and I'm sure that Pico will help them get the attention of a big amount of people.
Pico was recorded at Sunn Hof Studio in Pfarrwerfen, Austria by producer Luca Sammuri and will be available on December 16th as a digital download and as a limited edition CD wich includes a four-panel cardboard packaging with a 12-page booklet.
= echoes and dust
FREE DOWNLOAD (mp3/320kbps)
|last night i thought a thousand plans, but today i go my old way|