The last album from Glacis (Euan Alexander Millar-McMeekan) sounded like a breakup; this one is inspired by a death. The artist’s father Sandy lost his battle with emphysema in 2011, and this set attempts to capture the emotions of the following week, culminating in the funeral. At times like these, it’s good to have friends, and on this album, Ed Hamilton and Christoph Berg make the loneliness a little less lonely.
Glacis’ spacious piano is just perfect for this sort of music, as it imitates the spaces between words, echoing the inability to comprehend a major loss. Berg’s violin has always sounded mournful, and in these settings is even more so, while Hamilton’s arrangements are tasteful without being too tidy. After all, there’s nothing orderly about a family thrown into chaos. By alternating the violin pieces with the piano/effect pieces, Glacis suggests the surges, if not the stages, of grief.
The quieter tracks, such as the title piece and “The Mask Is Meaning”, sound like stasis: the mind whirling like a buffering computer, attempting to wrap itself around a new reality. In these tracks, one can hear the seeds of inner peace, not yet sprouted, but evident in retrospect. When a light buzz develops in “Love, Like All Things”, it’s as if the mourner’s mind is clouding over with too many emotions; the piano cuts through the fog, seeking clarity, but the drone wins in the end. Fortunately, the violin returns for the final triptych, acting as a blanket of consolation. At a funeral, one often forgets the words that were said, but one remembers the people who were there. The sprinkling of bell tones that closes “From One Room To Another” implies church services and angels’ wings; the definitive notes of the closing piece imply acceptance, although not finality. The week may have passed, five years ago; but the impressions of a father continue to inspire. All in all, The World Is A Little Lonelier Without You is a lovely tribute, a testimony that is more torch than eulogy.
Most of our readers should be familiar with Fluid Audio by now, and only those completely new to the site will be saddened to learn that the release has sold out. This tends to happen immediately with the label’s releases, which all smell lovely and contain special additions ~ in this case, a small map and a series of note cards containing a short story about a spider and a fly. All we can say is that those on the mailing list receive advance notice of all Fluid Audio releases, and isn’t it better not to miss out? Some excellent albums have been coming through the pipeline lately, and more are soon to come. (Richard Allen)