The first album from Glissando, aka Richard Knox and Elly May Irving, was an elegant, emotional affair. It featured an experimental tapestry of folk and post-rock minimalism sprawled over seventy minutes of music. The fact that Knox and Irving were once partners in romance only serving to add to the impressions of tension and loss. ‘The World Without Us’ is no walk in the park either.
The first thing to note is the length of the record which clocks in at under fifty minutes. ‘Still (I)’ begins the experience with an instrumental piece and arrives under a bleak cloud; populated by desolate piano and mournful strings. ‘The Long Lost’ follows suit with a funereal pace and a funereal aura but at least we get the chance to hear Irving’s siren-like voice for the first time. ‘Companion’ floats and meanders like a This Mortal Coil album track, whereas ‘Of Silence’ aims for grand melodrama. It is left to ‘Embers’ (a traumatic howl of a track) and the sombre strains of the stunning ‘Still (II)’ to complete this haunting valediction.
‘The World Without Us’ is an artistic triumph where each note has clearly been carefully considered. Spiritually and musically it belongs in the same niche as Dead Can Dance or Mark Hollis for it’s a record which disobeys the conventions of verses and choruses and inhabits its own peculiar world. The only flaw is that the stern outlook allows for few chinks of light but its power is undeniable.
Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil