Wrekmeister Harmonies – Light Falls
- Henry Northmore
- 12 September 2016
JR Robinson brings together a formidable supporting cast of musicians for latest experimental offering
'I wanted to sonically convey the idea of slow, creeping change,' explains JR Robinson who forms the core of Wrekmeister Harmonies with Esther Shaw. 'When I came up with the title I was thinking of how when daylight turns to night-time, it's a very gradual process. You are lulled into watching this slow, peaceful sunset but then all of a sudden you look up and it's dark.'
Light Falls effectively captures his vision with stunning results. The opening triptych starts with 'Light Falls I – The Mantra' and gentle looping acoustic guitar, organ and keys subtly build underneath as croaking vocals repeat 'Stay in / Go out / Get Sick / Get Well / Light Falls'. 'Light II – The Light Burns Us All' drops in a grisly heavyweight guitar dirge before seguing into the gentler 'Light III – Light Sick' which repeats the trick. There's a hypnotic energy in the repetition. A continual progression from light to dark, dragging you deeper and deeper into a sea of shadows.
The fragile strings of 'The Gathering' contrast with crashing distortion, while the harrowing 'Some Were Saved Some Drowned' is powered by screaming desperation. However, it's the haunting 'Where Have You Been My Lovely Son' that carries the most emotional weight, inspired by Robinson's fractured relationship with his own son.
There are elements of Pink Floyd, Nine Inch Nails, Mogwai and Nick Cave but Robinson and Shaw still manage to walk their own distinct path. Less brutal than previous Wrekmeister Harmonies releases, the new lineup features Thierry Amar, Sophie Trudeau and Timothy Herzog of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and you can feel their influence in the song structures; starting quietly then building to monstrous, crashing crescendos. Moments of downbeat delicate grace highlighted by vicious chaos. The apocalypse has never sounded so beautiful.
Out Fri 16 Sep on Thrill Jockey.