Album review: John Law: These Skies In Which We Rust (released Dec 2014)

JohnLawJohn Law’s latest New Congregation double CD release These Skies In Which We Rust certainly fulfills the promise heard earlier this year at The Forge and in John’s electronic project Boink!   The New Congregation members may have changed, Laurie Lowe takes Asaf Sirkis’ place, Josh Arcoleo joins on sax but thankfully Yuri Goloubev remains. In short, dizzyingly beautiful tunes, magical effects and perfect playing make this my runner-up for Album of 2014.   

Ambitious in scope – 11 own compositions with inspiration from his daughter’s poetry, elements of Brahms’ Requiem, tricky time signatures and electromagnetic pulses from outer space – individually the pieces can make your blood run cold (just let your mind go back to how you felt on 9/11 when you listen to Incarnadine Day inspired by the poem of that name by John’s daughter Holly) or transport you to a magical place with just one note of the glockenspiel.  As always with John Law, there is breathtaking piano, he’s our 21st century Bach, cinematic tunes that grab you instantly, lyricism propelled by the lightning fast fingering and sublime sense of romance of Goloubev, the controlled seething, fizzing drums of Lowe.  A fresh sound in the New Congregation is Josh Arcoleo whose sax adds coolness and irony in Music of the Night.  The final track I Hold My Soul To The Wind features lovely wordless vocals from Holly Law (whose poem may have the voice of a teenager but has universal poignancy) and heartbreaking bass. The sound and mixing from Curtis Schwartz at Berry House Studios, Ardingly is perfect.

Album available from John

★★★★★

Mary James   28 December 2014

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