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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari


A splendid album that I discover on the late and that I have to make room for in my top 50, next to The Song of Distant Earth

1 Mundo 4:48

2 Sunstanding I 2:02

3 Sunstanding II 5:23

4 Sunstanding III 4:59

5 Obsidian 6:31

6 Voices in the Deep 13:33

7 Mnemosyne (Excerpt) 4:54

8 Paths of Vision 4:00

9 Drifting 5:46

10 Lughnasad 7:48

11 Vanilla 4:35

12 Heart 7:45


13 Lughnasad (2020) 16bit Listening WRAP 1:12:09

14 Just Passin' Thru / Secrets 11:37

15 Mnemosyne 26:40

16 Senanque 26:47

17 Dreams of Lughnasad (RadioSilence - 2020) 26:53

18 Lughnasad Remix 2020 8:34

19 Lughnasad (Early Demo) 9:41

(DDL 4:14:34) (V.F.)

(England School, New Age & EDM)

It would be unfair to review this album title by title. I can speak well of this crazy snowflakes falling from the heavens in the strides of melodious staccatos, like of my feet receiving the caresses of the ocean waves. Or even of that enchanting acoustic serenade that adds a second line of melody to Mundo, that I would be able to convince you. This splendid opening to LUGHNASAD 2020 24-bit COLLECTORS EDITION sawed off my legs, so much it's beautiful. There is more! Manual percussions, like Bongo or Tabla, add a sparkling rhythmic life that angelic choirs caress with their virginal whispers. How beautiful it is! This superb title fades in the murmurs that we heard in The Songs of Distant Earth, and the long breaths of Didgeridoo which make the opening of Sunstanding I. This title in 3 stages collects all the psychedelic artifices of AP which are twinned to his orchestrations. A line of sequences encircles the ambiences, while these same tribal percussions drum a rhythm which is made to hear sitting. And the vocal effects come and go, whispering quickly Sunstanding. A synthesized voice throws us some opera stuff, while Sunstanding II heads towards its 3rd part and its broth of intensity that we welcome with questioning, not knowing whether we like it or not. Except this is where Andy Pickford weaves the threads of this album's emotional intensity. Obsidian drinks from these 3 parts to whirl in a maelstrom fed by jerks, zombie voices and of those meditative specters à la Binar. And it's halfway through that a piano line creates a beautiful melodious, tender and touching approach that a guitar amplifies with its minimalist chords. But dark winds ululate at this level, dragging us down the dark corridors of Voices in the Deep. Where malevolent pulsations lurk, forging the first draft of a dark ambience in the album. Samples of manual percussions set up a rhythm of spiritual trance. We hear voices and jet of flutes while the universe of Voices in the Deep quivers in its circular movement which fades when this long title, which seems harmless to us, becomes the defector of Mnemosyne (Excerpt). When it was first released in 2002, the title was simply called Mnemosyne. But in this 2020 version, there is its large 27-minute matrix which is much deeper and a little too long than this ambient passage and its veils of voices which cling to this circular rhythmic illusion of its sequences and arpeggio's necklace which go on increasing up until the incomprehensible Paths of Vision.

This is where the understanding of a concept album on this Irish Celtic religious festival takes root. In an impressive collage of recording tapes tampered and cut into small pieces, our ears perceive a collection of arpeggios and sequences lost in a mishmash of voices, including whispers and cries of natives. Our senses have reached another level of intensity with this avalanche of intense percussions which are drummed with force while the walls of the title is always adorned with these sound effects picked up by the re-gluing of the tapes where we can even hear these sound of arpeggios' streamers borrowed to the world of Mike Oldfield in The Songs of Distant Earth. We have reached the limits of Drifting. This last third of LUGHNASAD 2020 24-bit COLLECTORS EDITION and its thread of intensity that reaches us for a second time with this mythical chant of a synth and its perfumes of celestial trumpets. Boom-booms throb in the decor, amplifying again this latent intensity which had been sleeping since Mundo and which had awakened in Obsidian. The title-track appears to us in all its splendor with organic and cosmic sparkling effects and its soft rhythm amplified by its echo effect. It's like hearing psychedelic Synth-Pop where you waddle like teenagers drugged with liquorice. Sober, the synth launches harmonies with a choice of trumpet while the rhythm comes alive to get back to its roots. It's beautiful and it puts the ideas in place in a Pickford context. Vanilla follows with a more sober reconstruction of Sunstanding. The main harmonic link of the album, initiated in Sunstanding III returns in a softer way with an earworm which takes shape in our ears and which reaches its nirvana in the slow finale of Heart and its strong and slow rhythm which is unique to AP signature.

What a phenomenon this Andy Pickford is! I noticed his immense talent as a melodist when I launched into a series of chronicles about his long musical panoramas undertaken with the Harmonics in the Silence series in 2016. This series of albums, still relevant I see with Aphelion and Radio Silence, had this gift of stretching the melody to the maximum in a huge sound decoration of more than 60 minutes. LUGHNASAD 2020 24-bit COLLECTORS EDITION offers you to discover its impressive melodic vision with long titles which exploits the same thread, while being incredibly intense. The round of bonus-tracks begins with a 16-Bit version of the original LUGHNASAD made in 2002. I'll let you judge, I prefer 24-Bits.

Just Passin 'Thru / Secrets is a nice extension, or remix, of the Sunstanding trilogy. A totally different remix with a better philharmonic vision. I love this jerky rhythmic link that sounds like a guitar rolling its fuzz wah wah effects in strobe jerks. This veeeery elongated version of Mnemosyne is undoubtedly the weak link of LUGHNASAD 2020 24-bit COLLECTORS EDITION. But we quickly forgive Andy who gives us a very intense and catchy Senanque which does very Tangerine Dream in an apocalyptic western genre. A cross between Flashpoint and The Keep! An excellent surprise where AP takes all his time to evolve the title towards a superb electronic rhythm which comes and goes while flirting with a bit of Electronica in a cinematographic structure sculpted in the universes of Chris Franke, for the sequencer, and of Binar, for the samplings of dying voices and the specter of the Castafiore. And what about Dreams of Lughnasad (RadioSilence - 2020)? Andy Pickford takes advantage of his 27 minutes to extract a rhythmic portion vivified and patched up in several segments joined together with an always bewitching voice of an Efle in her violent orgasm, adding a bit of Binardise in another sequenced structure of TD of the Schmoelling years. Think about it! These two titles would make a single album that we would be very happy about. This bonus collection ends with Lughnasad (title track) Remix 2020 which is definitely more rock, and even Lounge in places, with those heavenly trumpet blasts, while Lughnasad (Early Demo) is also good to hear.

Here is! This new version of LUGHNASAD is quite a journey in sounds and emotions. Analyzing each title separately doesn't give full value to this work which needs its overlapping titles in order to properly express the concept and the many harmonic veins that come and go with different levels of intensity. A work that I discover in the late and that I have to make room for in my top 50, next to The Song of Distant Earth. Really, another great gift from Andy Pickford is this LUGHNASAD 2020 24-bit COLLECTORS EDITION.

Sylvain Lupari (September 20th, 2020) ****½*

Available at Andy Pickford Bandcamp

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