REVIEW: Silvercord - "Swan on a Black Sea"

By Wilde

Chain Border

SilvercordMichigan artists Silvercord, consisting of Geoff Nostrant (kbd, vox, guitars, samples), Ken Ball (kbd, bass, drums), and Joe Klowski (kbd, samples, drum loops), have been in operation since 1999 and have been described as dark ambient space gothic. The comparisons with Vangelis and Tangerine Dream are inevitable.

My Bride of Night - This is very ethereal and wispy, albeit with a strong bass wash. Flanged guitars and Depeche Mode style vox form the backbone of the track.

Astralgravity - There's a slow bass buildup, then on into some Tangerine Dream style low synths and washes. The mix is rounded out a bit with high and midrange synths. This is very space opera type music.

Beguiled - High, tinkling vibraphone synths over another bass wash are the rule here. The track has a very delicate feel, with some flanging in the background.

Swan on a Black Sea - It starts off with a low noise wash and percussive synths, with some wind sounds, and then into soaring woodwind synths, followed by a drop into quiet, distant synths and echoed rhythmic synths. This track in particular has a very Tangerine Dream/Vangelis feel to it. Strong synths cut in and out occasionally. Swan on a Black Sea is an exceptionally long track, clocking in at over 9 minutes and very ambient.

Lorelei - Starting out very subdued, Lorelei leads in to a high synth flute melody with female vox and distorted/flanged male vox.

Prophecy From the Black Lodge - An Angelo Badalamenti style cool jazz beat leads this one off, with occasional low percussion, woodpecker noises, and irregular electric guitar. Backwards masked vocals and odd radio samples reinforce the Twin Peaks feel.

Autopilot - This one is total Tangerine Dream. Pulsing bass synths, mellotron style synths and high, wispy vox create a sense of velocity. This differs from TD in that there are actual vocals at all. Autopilot is a ballad type track.

Crystalized - This is a very Vangelis track. Low bass synth pulse kicks it off, with a high synth guitar wash and midrange and high reverb synth fills. It reminds me of some of the Blade Runner soundtrack.

Red Shift - This syncopated track is driven by rapid synths and pounding percussion, with lots of electronic squiggling. All of this is overlaid by wailing synths and a midrange wash. Red Shift is a very busy track; the high synths almost sound like a distressed cat at times. It ends rather abruptly.

Blue Shift - This one starts off with a distorted guitar chord coming in and out like a wave, interspersed with busy synths and electronic beeping. Woodwind synths carry the melody. Later in the track, periods of percussion are added, and the track periodically switches to hollow bass, like changing pickups on a guitar.

Concubia Nocte - It all starts with a low synth wash underlaid by a staticky radio track. Light, reverberating vocals fade in and out. Silvercord seem to be very into the wall of sound concept.

Numb - A low vibraphone riff kicks this one off, with chunky percussion and high female vox. A wailing electric guitar populates the background. Eventually reverb vocals and a distorted synth overlay come in to fill in the gaps.

Graveblanket - High synths lead into the track, followed by a bass underlay and ringing synths. Graveblanket is a very quiet track.

Their music is the sort of thing that, while not necessarily totally suitable for club or airplay, would be much more appropriate for home listening or movie soundtracks. If you liked the soundtracks to Blade Runner and Risky Business, this is worth checking out.

Contact Information:
Phone: Ken 517-673-3232

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