Andrew Wasylyk – The Paralian
- Nicola Meighan
- 28 January 2019
Ambitious third album from the Scottish musician and producer
Somewhere in between his work with the Hazey Janes and Idlewild, Andrew Mitchell (alias Andrew Wasylyk) has composed an outstanding body of work that excavates, explores and reflects upon the landscape of his native Dundee. Themes for Buildings and Spaces (2017) was a terrific instrumental trip across the city's architecture, industry and ghosts, and this hugely welcome follow-up traces the coast from Dundee to Arbroath, rooting itself in a historic house and arts haven called Hospitalfield.
At the dawn of 2018, Wasylyk embarked on an extended musical residency there, with a view to composing music for their grand piano and recently-restored 19th century Erard Grecian Harp. Taking its cues from the building's history, memories and surrounding environment, The Paralian brings this five-month residency to life, and builds on Wasylyk's original harp lullabies and elemental piano narratives with Fender Rhodes, flugelhorn, euphonium, drones, string trio and vintage synths. It's a stunning meditation on a fascinating building, and an extraordinary outlook that echoes the area's skies and nature, its time and tides.
Wasylyk's touch is quietly thrilling and dramatic, but never overblown. 'Welter in the Haar' is lush and string-infused yet minimalist, and he holds back on a vocal contribution until late in the album. It's worth the wait. 'Adrift Below a Constellation' is a shimmering highlight: a coastal prog-rock fever dream that walks the fine line between epic and intimate, and underscores Wasylyk's knack for conjuring the ebb, flow and magic of the world around us.
From the seagulls, cliff-side field recordings and ambient swathes of 'Through the Field Beyond the Trees Lies the Ocean', to Sharron Griffiths' balmy harp mantra on 'Greendrive #2', Wasylyk's love letter to these seasons and shorelines is as bright and vital as a lighthouse, and as timeless as the sea that surrounds it.
Out Fri 1 Feb via Athens of the North.