In The Nursery have been a solid force in the soundtrack-style music scene for many years now. Over time In The Nursery, still releasing on their self-made ITN Corporation label, have developed themselves as creators of music that fuses heavy classically-influenced arrangement style with modern electronic counterparts, creating scores that have eventually found their way into films (Interview With the Vampire, The Rainmaker, etc.) as well as TV, both in Britain and the USA (La Femme Nikita, XXL, more).
Based in Sheffield, England, the Humberstone brothers continue to create powerful music, using their arrangement skills and pitting classical use of (synthesized) strings, woodwind and heavy rhythms against modern use of synthesizers, keyboards and other electronic instrumentation. The fusion of classical style roots combined with today's music-making technology makes for amazingly beautiful pieces of work. Moving ahead from the recent Hindle Wakes double-CD release, which was more mellow and laid back and classical in its style and makeup, the follow up release, GroundLoop, shows a stronger inclusion of technology in the works. Helping the brothers on the album is the superb vocalist Dolores Marguerite C., Jill Crowther with oboe, flutes by Henrik Lineemann and percussion by David Elektrik.
Groundloop is eight tracks in length. All are powerful songs in their own rights, but together they create a beautiful movement that is stronger when taken as a whole. The opening nominal track sets the mood with chorale arrangements and windy outcroppings before moving into a rhythmically challenging piece with bubbling synths and string-like ensembles. Dolores' vocals are hushed but retains strength throughout the piece. Similarly, most tracks on Groundloop have a growing movement, sliding into various levels of sub-consciousness and growing until the tracks are all-encompassing and truly surrounding.
Probably my favorite track found here is Hymn Noir, one of the most powerfully moving pieces of music I've ever heard. The awesome rhythms and flowing string ensembles push one along at a blinding pace. Truly exquisite. It opens with a strumming bass rhythm and a wind solo by Crowther, and breaks like a bursting dam into soul-crushing percussive beats around which are wrapped synthesizer arrangements and melodies, all entwining against one another. Dolores joins us with her subtle vocals, and again retains her hushed attitude, lying as part of the music and not above the arrangement.
In The Nursery I've listened to before, and I've enjoyed most of everything they've put out. But Groundloop is the most powerful Humberstone creation yet. Fans of electronica, classical, soundtrack, ambient, ethereal and everything in between will find merit within the arrangements of this CD. In The Nursery have achieved a summit of creation with the release of Groundloop.
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