There’s a lot of energy in the opening tracks of this new album from the good offices of Preservation Records. If you’ve ever wondered what a collaboration between Philip Glass and Tangerine Dream might sound like – or maybe Michael Nyman and Orbital if they left the drum machine at home – then worry no more because Body Moving Slowly contains the possible answers. There’s no small amount of piano arpeggios and flutey synth work going on here and it sounds fantastic; the title track is of the quality that you make a note of it for your next mix tape or end of year list. The piano chimes, the percussion pounds sympathetically and the synthy harpsichord seems to constantly change whilst staying the same. It even floods out into a calming coda section and one feels borne aloft by the weightlessness of the music.
It’s quite lovely, and possibly only bettered by “Wooden Head, Feet and Seat” which channels Glass more explicitly, in the same way that Orbital’s “Kein Trink Wasser” did. The arrangement positively shimmers around the central rhythmic piano and raises the bar for the whole album. However, perhaps aware that a full-on approach might not sustain 45 minutes running time, Alex Twomey, the man behind Mirror To Mirror, slows things down a little from thereon out. Having been carried along by the powerful opening brace, however, the listener might find the energy dissipating somewhat on the subsequent tracks. Indeed, “Burning Life” feels like it is actually slowing down and it is disappointingly apparent that Body Moving Slowly has peaked way too early.
There’s still much to enjoy, however, and just because an album is front-loaded doesn’t mean there aren’t worthy tracks elsewhere. The glassy-with-a-small-’g’ harp that underpins “The Store” is one such moment of pleasure, as are the bells on “Take A Day” and the confident ambience on “Drift Apart”. But there’s an inescapable feeling that this is an album that becomes more introspective and melancholic the further it goes on, which undermines the expectations raised early on and kills the mood. Whereas the openers were lively, and full of charm, the tenth track “All People In My Hand” sounds sulky and out of sorts. Thankfully, Twomey pulls “Who’s Left” out of the bag at this point and returns to the expansive, optimistic approach of earlier, ending on a positive note with “Push Weight”. It’s hard, however, to shake off the bleak mood of some of the previous tracks; Body Moving Slowly takes us on a journey but there are parts that require the occasional short-cut. (Jeremy Bye)