I’m very grateful to freelance writer and King Crimson biographer Sid Smith for this glowing review of Magdalena, from his always worthwhile Postcards from the Yellow Room site:
The very best ambient music often provides us with a screen onto which the listener projects the most wonderful imaginary movies. Brian Lavelle’s music ensures there’s plenty to see.
Although he’s previously released numerous collections of music on a variety of formats, this is the first time Edinburgh-based electronic and ambient musician Brian Lavelle has conceived a piece specifically for vinyl. Released on the US-based Diophantine Discs label, the benign drones and hums which fill the air are tremendously rich in texture and detail.
Lavelle’s compositions and editing also reveals a love of the dramatic. During “I Have Not Come Home”, tiny radiant dots of hyper-melody dart about in great shoals against a relatively slow-moving, aquatic backdrop. At other times, sonic events move suddenly into the foreground; it’s akin to emerging unexpectedly from a dark secluded alleyway into a bustling, exotic marketplace where one’s senses are jostled by the sheer velocity of the crowded space in which you find yourself.
I Did Not Go In, the outside world of traffic noise gently permeates the sombre washes of synths. Though it’s tempting to float away to ambient music, there’s a way it can make us focus on the everyday things we take for granted. Later in the piece, as the thrumming layers of density are added to build into a dazzling climax, an electric guitar can be faintly heard playing a mournful pibroch, it’s lilting melody gently piercing the shifting haze of distortion. It’s an altogether beautiful and moving encounter.
Thank you, Sid! And the album can be ordered direct from the label, Diophantine Discs.