Nosound's Lightdark may have made my Top 20 list for 2008 but that creditable performance is not about to be repeated by its successor, A Sense of Loss. The album's title is, in fact, quite portending in that it foretells the loss of significant textures in the band's sound from last year's album to this. Shame....
Interestingly enough this shift in soundscape seems to be intentional: leader Giancarlo Erra purposely using less synths (and none that were not a selection of "vintage" sounds) and more "real" instruments, including a string quartet. Being "traditional" or "retro" in this way is all fine and dandy, but when your music is effectively the painting of musical soundscapes for an ambient feel then, frankly, it is foolish to ignore many of the textures and colours at your disposal.
For newcomers, Nosound purvey paintings in sound; a little bit like No-Man. The pace is slow, slow; and at times very slow; the effect of the music comes from the beauty of the melodic phrasing or from the ambient textures of the arrangements. Lyrics are sung in English. It's a lush, dreamy soundscape for people to wallow in and float, forgetting the world and entering into the artist's space. No, it's not for dedicated rockers, boppers, clubbers or even neo-proggers. The predominant sonic textures on A Sense of Loss are piano and strings or string synths. At times the music borders on the electronic neo-classical worlds of such composers as Johann Johannsson. When such compositions are effective, then these sonic alter-worlds are really worth spending hours within.
In absolute terms, then, A Sense of Loss delivers on that ambient painting promise and it should be said that some fans of the genre will enjoy this album greatly. If, however, you are eclectic in your tastes and wish for some variety, then the album may be a step too far. Unremittingly slow and with little variety, its additional sin is that, as well as having been texturally emasculated, it has less melodic invention than its predecessor: in short, A Sense of Loss sounds very much like the tracks that were rejected for the Lightdark sessions. A Sense of Loss is Lightdark as seen in a tarnished mirror. As such, even established fans of the genre or of Nosound themselves may not enjoy this; however, if you're not an established fan, but the description of the soundscape intrigues you, then try Lightdark first.
1) Some Warmth Into This Chill (7:55)
2) Fading Silently (8:27)
3) Tender Claim (8:07)
4) My Apology (5:41)
5) Constant Contrast (5:42)
6) Winter Will Come (15:39)