Giancarlo Erra received praise for 2005’s ‘Sol29’ from both critics and soundalikes No-Man and Porcupine Tree; his main shtick being a mixture of progressive/post rock and ambient music. Impressively, after a slow start, the new NoSound album now adds even more layers of emotion to the mix and successfully takes his music to the next level.
After the minimalist opening ‘About Butterflies And Children’, ‘Places Remained’ is a return to prog rock territory. Then the record starts to come into its own. ‘The Misplay’ is a moving piece made up of a serene synth wash, mournful cello and wistful piano. This builds up to the intended centrepiece, which is the fifteen-minute long ‘From Silence To Noise’. It’s an epic in terms of its sense of desperate, romantic longing. After a sedate first four minutes, the keyboards crank up the urgency and some powerful harmonies make their presence felt. If there is a weakness, though, it is Erra’s tendency to go in to full sprawling guitar mode like a prog rock lord from yesteryear.
Thankfully, there’s no room for such indulgence on ‘Someone Starts To Fade Away’. With Tim Bowness of the aforementioned No-Man guesting on vocals and a lush, melancholic keyboard melody, the results are quite stunning. Also, whilst Erra’s vocals are not the strongest he delivers a powerful turn for ‘Kites’ and the title song, the former backed once again by cello, the other using subtle but blissful instrumentation. Therefore, my lasting impression of the record is that it’s one which gets gradually better from the first to the last track.