This is the sound of that state in between sleeping and waking – a place in which we’re not quite dreaming, but we’re not fully awake.
Forget the usual review scribblings, wasted on these sound impressions drawn with piano, strings and loops from these ‘ambient post-somethings’.
VLMV do not sound like they are spelled, and their music is equally difficult to define. Pronounce them ‘Uhl-muh’ apparently, but that’s not really important. What is important is to immerse yourself in their waves of deeply touching sounds. Analysing the songs is redundant – just feel it.
A piano over gracefully rising strings on the opening is dappled light through the leaves of a tree falling on bedsheets… or whatever it says to you… and then it’s gone with a sense of regret.
If Only I floats a crystalline, fragile voice over a glacial backdrop and gently flowing piano.
It’s absolutely too beautiful for words… and flows into the sound of a Breaking Heart :
Among my Quietest Fears – holding the hand of someone very close to me, soon to leave us, fills my mind… but we all have our own versions of a broken heart.
A sense of inescapable sadness ends with a sustained note – the empty stare of loss.
Glistening understatement frames All These Ghosts, interweaving delicate guitar and diaphanous voice over a stark soundscape – hauntingly gorgeous.
The beauty of melancholy fills this album.
A sense of isolation falls like snow in subtle synths and ethereal strings.
There Was Peace in Our Hearts for All the Dark Things That Surrounded Us may resonate deeply in that strange space between our conscious mind and the spirit of our soul… if we do have souls.
Tom Hodge adds a delicate piano to lift the lovely, lilting Little Houses before fading into a glacial ending.
Sadness rarely sounded so beguiling.
The emptiness and barrenness of space fills the ambient Eno-esque Lunokhod (Soviet unmanned Moon landers from the early ’70s), but this is no tale of outer space.
Ultimately this is an emotional and personal work drawn from a deep inner space as songwriter Pete Lambrou states:
“I built a retreat studio in the basement of my house and buried myself there for a while. I wanted to keep this spatial feel that our previous album had, but create something more intimate. Thematically it’s a very inward album, which I haven’t really done for a long time. I think you can really hear the isolation in there. It’s personal, lonely and regretful.”
Slip into that state between sleep and waking, the space between dreaming and reality… the images, feelings and memories you’ll bring yourself.
01. He Has Already Divided Us (3:11)
02. If Only I (5:14)
03. Among My Quietest Fears (4:12)
04. All These Ghosts (4:50)
05. A Dead Channel Blues (4:29)
06. Stranded, Not Lost (3:59)
07. And There Was Peace in Our Hearts for All the Dark Things That Surrounded Us (4:34)
08. Little Houses (5:04)
09. Lunokhod (5:34)
10. Our Corners (2:36)
Total Time – 43:43
Pete Lambrou & Ciaran Morahan – Loop Station, Multiple Delay Pedals, Piano & Strings
Tom Hodge – Piano (8)
Fraser Bowles – Cellos
Clodagh Kennedy – Violins
Record Label: Fierce Panda | Too Many Fireworks
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 16th February 2018
DISCOGRAPHY (as ‘ALMA’)
– ALMA (2015)
– Remixes & Reworkings (2016)