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Sylvaine: Nova

Nova is the title of the latest release from the one-woman multi-instrumentalist Sylvaine. The Norwegian native’s latest work is noted to be ‘a musical and personal reawakening of a singer/composer finding her way in this world’.

The album gets underway with the title track "Nova". It’s a beautiful choral piece which was apparently written whilst Sylvaine was isolating in France suffering from COVID-19. At odds with the unfortunate circumstances that led to the writing of this track, there is something truly majestic and enchanting about this song; this track alone makes the album worth listening to. The word ethereal gets thrown around a lot in reviews these days, but the title track is a rare situation where music truly is ethereal. After the particularly head turning opening track (which is admittedly a bit of a stylistic outlier on the album), the bulk of the material revolves around the melding of various musical styles; Black metal, shoe gaze/post rock and folk are all clear influences to what Sylvaine has crafted on this album. I feel like trying to put this album into a sub-genre category is unnecessary, but if I was to feel compelled to try and pigeonhole this release then Black Gaze is probably apt. However, and notwithstanding the presence of some black metal style vocals, the album doesn’t really have all that much black metal influence to my ears- certainly, if you’re not a generally a fan of black metal don’t let this be a deal-breaker.

Tracks like ‘Mono No Aware’ are typical Black Gaze style tracks - reverb drenched, ‘jangley’ guitar parts are accompanied by Sylvaine’s head turning vocals. The way she manages to switch between otherworldly black metal style howls and such angelic cleans is nothing short of remarkable, but I do find the album to be at its best (for my taste) when she leaves the black metal and Shoegaze to one side. My favourite tracks on the album are ‘Nova’, ‘Nowhere, Still Somewhere’ and ‘Everything Must Come to an End’. All of these tracks are heavy on the folk and atmospheric elements of Sylvaine’s sound and allow her clean vocals to take centre stage.

Perhaps its revealing that my favourite tracks from a Blackgaze album aren’t the songs that sound like Blackgaze at all. Either way, there is a relatively strong Folk undercurrent to the music that could be its strongest element. Personal preferences aside, there’s no doubt Nova is a very artful release from a very gifted artist.

01. Nova (04:36)
02. Mono No Aware (09:42)
03. Nowhere, Still Somewhere (04:34)
04. Fortapt (11:55)
05. I Close My Eyes So I Can See (05:16)
06. Everything Must Come To An End (07:47)

Added: March 29th 2022
Reviewer: Chris Reid
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 397
Language: english

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