Working whilst the country is having a massive heatwave isn’t ideal. All you want to do is laze around after a long day, possibly to some mystically relaxing music. Well, I can’t change the weather, but I can tell you about the music you could forget about your day with. Two years after his last release, Vinyl Williams is once again going the extra mile with new record ‘Opal’.
The majority of artists record their songs using the usual digital equipment and that’s that. But not Vinyl Williams. Deciding that digital just wasn’t enough, he used a handheld cassette recorder and a VHS video camera to capture sounds for his new material before blending them together with digital recordings. The result is a Pandora’s Box of elements coming together to form some wildly eccentric tracks.
Take ‘Sanctuary Spells’ for example. The whole song sounds like an alien-induced lucid dream, just as though you’ve entered an eternal life set in an aromatherapy shop. Fascinating experimentation is key to allowing the song to become almost possessive, and the strange recording methods really take hold.
Toning down the wacky just a little is ‘Noumena’, which delivers a tune that wouldn’t go far wrong on an indie rock compilation album. Floaty vocals guide this song along its curves and edges, encouraging you to keep exploring the album.
Just in case you were getting a little too relaxed, ‘Aphelion’ comes along and shakes you into action. Fast paced and urgent, the drums and timing changes give this song a depth sought after in indie rock. Unexpected Japanese vibes pummel through, sending you deeper into the song’s gracefully hypnotic rhythm. Sounds not too dissimilar to a camera underwater signal a wary and strange happening as the song enters its two-minute close. If it were a painting, ‘Aphelion’ would have more colour than a Wilko pick’n’mix.
If The Beach Boys ever dabbled in the mystical, ‘Millennial Ballroom’ would be the result. The five-minute track is heavily layered without going overboard on anything, a skill that resonates through the whole album. The serene ending closes the album in the only way it could: cool, calm and totally relaxed.
Haunting, seamless and dreamy, ‘Opal’ is the result of Vinyl Williams pulling out all the stops. Granted, the mystical journey won’t be for everyone, but it will be memorable for those that accept it.