CD 2009 | Silber 075
16 tracks, 50 minutes
~ Music Musing & Miscellany
The Silber super group returns this time featuring Brian John Mitchell (Remora/Small Life Form), Jon DeRosa (Aarktica), Brian McKenzie (Electric Bird Noise), Martin Newman (Plumerai/Goddakk), Michael Wood (Something About Vampires And Sluts), Jessica Bailiff, Annelies Monsere, Jim DeJong (Infant Cycle), Michael Walton (mwvm), Paolo Messere (6 P.M.), & more. Sounds go from indie pop to punk rock to drone ambient.
Listen to the track damage the land & the sea
Although Vlor has been around since
1992 in various forms, Six-Winged is their second full length. A versatile
band of musicians, dubbed the Silber all-stars, Vlor goes through several
sonic territories like ambient, drone, slowcore to garage rock with ease.
Vlor is a compilation of instrumentals
sent around via snail mail to other musicians in the attempt to create
a “chain-mail” approach to music. It’s interesting. Tracks drift in and
out, neither ending too soon or wearing out their welcome. Six-Winged
has an ethereal quality, and its minimalism and experimentation meet to
create a hybrid between post-rock and symphonics to create something genuine.
The experiment is successful in its attempt to meld ambience, shoegaze,
and soft electronics, but the record never really picks up. The work here
is promising, but one might feel better inclined to pick up something less
self-involved. Keep an eye out for them though, there are some great moments
on this record.
~ Nick Gergesha, Hearwax
Following up on the previous Vlor album,
A Fire Is Meant for Burning, Six-Winged acts as a similar flag of convenience
for Silber labelhead Brian John Mitchell to get a wide variety of fellow
travelers to jointly participate in a group effort, halfway between supergroup
jam, label sampler, and remix project. The resultant 16-song collection
has Mitchell's guitar and bass parts and occasional vocals as the core
for each track, with various collaborators working together or separately
to add vocals, beats, other parts in general. Mitchell's work is fairly
straightforward -- understandable given that they were meant to be the
skeletal beginnings of further work -- but they allow the often-brief tracks
to flow together quite well, even as each may take distinctly different
roads all together. Thus, the Seefeel-like, fall-and-rise loops of "Guided"
make for a much different piece than "She Goes Out with Boys," with its
suddenly charging bass shifting into a moody melody and lyric that Mitchell
sings, backed by Rollerball/Moodring vocalist Mae Starr. Meanwhile, little
could be more significantly different than the near-ambient, lengthy flow
of "Tolerate the Wicked," one of two tracks Aarktica's Jon DeRosa appears
on, the a cappella "Will I See You Again" sung by Annelies Monsere, and
the backwoods/garage stomp of "Watch Me Bleed," featuring backing from
Jessica Bailiff, with guest vocals from Michael Wood and Magen McAvenney.
It's a wide variety of sound that still works on one album, and very well
at that -- especially when showing a sense of humor by calling one of the
loveliest instrumental tracks "Maybe You Should Chew on My Fist."
~ Ned Raggett, All Music Guide
Ambient and shoegaze music is tricky
to review. How can you really do justice to a genre that by its very nature
isn't meant to even distract you from day to day life? Throw avant-garde
into the mix and you're left thinking that if you don't like the album,
maybe it's an extremely surreal and complex joke on you after all.
Luckily for Vlor's new long player Six-Winged the job is largely done for you, as in the space of forty-six minutes you get everything good and bad about ambient, shoegaze and avant-garde wrapped up into one. On the negative side, many of the brief songs are half-finished ideas and some of them, like the utterly pointless 'Tolerate The Wicked,' seem to go literally nowhere before just ending abruptly. On the positive side, the album barrels through sixteen tracks across its runtime, which means even the weaker songs don't tend to overstay their welcome - and what's more, the better ambient pieces, like the dreamy 'Without Blame', are constantly in some kind of sinister motion, never destined to become just wallpaper. At times, the album just forgets its source material entirely and goes mental, as on the demented 'Watch Me Bleed', which sounds like a Stooges outtake. Brilliant closer 'I Have Left Home (reprise)' meanwhile is some kind of major-key battle between REM and Mogwai that ends things on a truly majestic note.
At the end of the day Six-Winged is simply a bemusing experience, a schizophrenic Frankenstein's monster that would be difficult for anyone but the most eclectic to truly love. However anyone who appreciates an MP3 player's shuffle function will get a lot out of it by choosing their favourite songs.
~ Gaz Hughes, Rock Midgets
This release of "post rock, slow core
and indie ambient" is quite good indeed. The band is made up of a virtual
cornucopia of established musicians from such groups as: Remora, Aarktica,
6PM, Goddakk, Rollerball, Infant Cycle and Electric Bird Noise among others.
Sixteen tracks of pure bliss on Silber Records.
~ David Carter, Pins & Cathedral Bells
right. this features a buncha people
from the silber roster including michael wood & brain mckenzie from
the fabulously titled something about vampires and sluts, yr man from aarktica,
jessica bailiff (who i love in an almost creepy sexual way), annelies monsere
and the fella in charge of silber. among others. and this is why you get
a wildly eccentric mix of breathy pop and plinky noise and shoegazerry,
ambient bloops and sweaty garage rawk stomp. and this is why you get two
tracks to chow down on here. if i was to say schizophrenic you’d
be heading in the right direction. and yet somehow manages to sound like
a proper bloody album and not just a pissaround compilation where a buncha
folks bash out a buncha stuff they like playing but couldn’t squeeze into
their own records. it manages to be aggressive, odd, soothing, brittle,
massive, barely there, stupid, clever, loud, quiet and every goddam thing
inbetween. not meant in the pejorative when i say this is all over the
place. yet cohesive. cross-pollination and collaborative mind-melds. aargh.
what the fuck am i dichotomously babbling about? christ even i don’t know.
it’s not often you get to write about a record that at various points says
earth, sons & daughters, swans, guided by voices, la monte young and
cocteau twins. what you do need to know is that this is a wild and exhilarating
listen. it’ll drag you up down left right and stroke yr inner thigh gently
while occasionally biting yr extremities and whispering exotic erotica
into yr inner ear. oof.
~ cows are just food
Vlor are a Silber Records supergroup
comprising a dozen musicians from various bands, the best known of whom
is probably Jessica Bailiff. Starting out with guitar and bass lines from
team captain Brian John Mitchell, the tracks were all completed by various
people from all over the world. Comparisons with This Mortal Coil are inevitable.
Indeed, there are plenty of musical similarities – short neo-classical
instrumental sections, low key ambient pop and ethereal vocal tracks redolent
of the Cocteau Twins at their most mellow.
The major difference between Silber’s supergroup and their 4AD counterpart of two decades ago is that Vlor are even more eclectic. “Tolerate the Wicked”, for example is an eight minute long dark ambient drone piece. “Damage the Land and Sea” is an instrumental based around a deep throbbing bass and scratchy slide guitar that threatens to explode into aural violence, but never quite does. However, the next track “Watch Me Bleed” injects some real aggression into proceedings. It’s a thrashing punk-pop thing that comes across like Sons and Daughters at their most bolshy. Definitely NOT very This Mortal Coil!
Half the tracks are under two and a half minutes, and many of these are little more than instrumental sketches of ideas. But they work as the glue that keeps the album flowing and not sounding like a random grab-bag of tracks. Only “Not the One for Me” grates a little, seemingly no more than an endlessly repetitive fade out whose title is the entire lyrical content.
Six-Winged is a terrific album that flits from style to style, but manages to hang together perfectly. Even the book ending tracks, ostensibly two versions of the same thing, sound nothing like each other. The first a delicate, fragile whisper of a song, the second straying into Galaxie 500 territory. It shows that surprise and variety needn’t be at the expense of consistency and flow.
~ Music Musing & Miscellany
Vlor is an “all-star” project from
the Silber label. It is spearheaded by label mogul Brian John Mitchell,
who records basic tracks for songs and instrumentals that he sounds out
to other artists for completion. So, Six-Winged (the second Vlor album
produced in such manner) features collaborations from Jessica Bailiff and
members of Aarktica, 6PM, Rollerball, Plumerai, Electric Bird Boise, mwvm,
and more. Unsurprisingly, the dominating musical vision is Mitchell’s (the
man behind post-apocalyptic lo-fi folk project Remora). The album covers
a lot of ground, from slowcore to punk-pop and drone. The instrumentals
are quite fine, the songs nicely tortured. A strong indie project, and
more consistent than Vlor’s previous effort A Fire is Meant for Burning.
~ François Couture, Monsieur Delire
Much rather a compilation album this.
Dark, brooding and quite esoteric, the Vlor Collective most importantly
comprises Brian John Mitchell, Annelies Monsoré and Paolo Messere.
Brian John Mitchell stuck around on all recordings as he oversaw this project
in the entirety. Who played what remains unrevealed but the question of
a general director behind this release makes for a very easy guess.
A host of guest appearances marked the great difference here; listed are twelve contributors and amongst them a few reaching to the ends of their wits. Magen McAvenney, Michael Wood and Brian McKenzie disrupt the Vlor sound on 'Watch Me Bleed' with indie rock styled insensitivity - in a way that contrasts the overall moody electronica touch with buzzing, almost rock'n roll like conviction.
A cleverly unbalanced effort this, and therefore one that you're destined to keep returning to; odd, underachieving and still mesmerizing. 'Six-Winged' begs for attention, personified on 'Will I See You Again' with Annelies Monsoré in the middle of the attention. Dronetronics might be the term to throw in right here and just now. And oddly enough, pieces fall into the right place on 'Not The One For Me'.
~ Maarten Schiethart, Pennyblack Music
Vlor began in 1997 when Brian John
Mitchell and Russell Halasz recorded guitar in a racquetball court. For
this CD, Mitchell is joined by guests such as Jon DeRosa of Aarktica, Jessica
Bailiff, Annelies Monsere, Martin Newman of Plumerai, Paolo Messere (and
many others). The music is, for the most part, relaxing, reverby guitars
(although 16 features an amazing bit of beauty produced by a dulcimer or
lute). 8 is the oddball, in a great way, in that it’s the only fast-paced
rock song in a sea of calm shoegaze. Just the thing when you have unpleasant
Ethereal, ambient, float-y guitar,
electronics, effects and pretty sounding voices predominately by Brian
John Mitchell. Mitchell gets help from fellow Silber Records band members
Aarktica, Remora along with Jessica Baliff, Mae Starr of Rollerball and
a bunch of others. Overall, very nice stuff. Dig this if you’re into Low,
most stuff on Kranky Records, Cocteau Twins, & Lycia.
((((1)))) Plucked electric & acoustic guitars, layed vocals by Jessica Baliff sounding somewhat similar to Jarboe at her most ethereal.
(((2))) Repetitve piano, vibrating feedback.
(((3)) Way too much repetition. Bass, minimal, disjointed guitar chords, female vocals warbling.
((((4)))) Glistening chords, repeating (in a good way) in a fairly psych direction.
((((5)))) Minimal bass and male & (later) female vocals-from Mae Starr of Rollerball. Very melancholic & compelling.
(((((6))))) Slow, drifting, distant ambience.
(((7))) Dramatic, tense noise vs. bass & guitar minimalism. Odd metered but interesting.
(((((8))))) Loud & rockin’ tune with dual male & female vocals. Not far from the Pixies or even Sebadoh. Well done! (Btw, near the end the girl says “Watch you bleed” NOT “fuck you bleed”)
(((9))) Distant, spindle-ly guitars and sparse piano.
((((10)))) Vibrative ambience.
(((((11))))) Trippy, airy female vocals with focus on every syllable. Pretty short.
(((((12))))) Minimal, cinematic tones & structures flowing in & out.
(((13))) Early-mid 90’s Indie guitar tone & bass. Somewhat flat male vocals with 1 lyric repeating 1000x. Alright already! I heard you the 34th time!
(((14))) Bass & mild guitar fuzz.
((((15)))) A nice blanket of orchestrated ethereal ambient drones.
((((16)))) Clean chords, mandolin, so Americana sounding you pretty much expect someone singing about blue mountains or drunk/jealous ex-lovers.
Trying to review and/or cover bands
and artists whose music doesn't easily fit within specific categories is
simultaneously time consuming, frustrating, and thought provoking. After
all, it's a lot easier to simply toss out a few positive sentences about
the latest rock group whose songs all pretty much sound the same. Around
since 1992, Vlor is a band that has come and gone and shifted from one
phase to another. This album presents tracks that were recorded by Brian
John Mitchell who recorded guitar and bass tracks and then sent them to
various artists/musicians across the country and around the world to expound
upon and/or flesh out (or more accurately, as the press release states
"a collection of Silber all-stars working together). The artists recording
with Mitchell include Jon DeRosa, Jessica Bailiff, Paolo Messere, Annelies
Monsere, Martin Newman, Mae Starr, Jim DeJong, Michael Walton, Brian McKenzie,
Michael Wood, and Megen McAvenney. Not surprisingly, this album goes all
over the map...and very often totally off the map altogether. When money
isn't the motivation...it's amazing what can happen in music. A mind-bending
blur of styles and approaches...almost completely unpredictable. TOP PICK.
Vlor are many things, all of them unique:
they create an avant-garde, ambient sound with keen accessibility, defiant
of genre expectations; over seventeen years, they’ve been reborn in a variety
of skins; the band’s current cross-nation, cross-continent collaboration
on Six-Winged is rare for its ambitions and success. The sixteen tracks,
waxing from drone to basement rock band, from cinematic expanse to outright
aggression, is warm enough to warrant repeat listens, plunging its rich,
deep, evocative mix for new sounds. One would never know that its creation
spanned over six states and five continents, collecting more than a dozen
artists from their main projects, all via mail. The names are too many
to list (many of them familiar from the Silber Records catalog), often
obscure, but the results are cohesive, a compelling record that once again
screams for recognition.
So many of the tracks on Six-Winged would feel oddly out of place on former Vlor records, too well formed for the sparse, one-off lavish/luxate and somehow, too well adjusted emotionally for A Fire Was Meant For Burning. None of these comments or comparisons, however, should underscore that the record also possesses all the delightful hallmarks of a Vlor record. The wake-up-and-stretch strings on “Without Blame” or “I Have Left Home” tinge with darkness, a hint that overwhelms later songs like “Watch Me Bleed,” an angry shout, à la Nick Cave. The moribund quality is especially prominent on “She Goes Out With Boys,” something so unsettling in tone, so borderline sterile and hurtful lyrically, that it requires careful examination—if only for a chance for the listener to believe that everything will be alright.
It’s the dichotomy that is Vlor. One moment the sun is rising (“Guided” or “Maybe You Should Chew On My Fist”), and another, it’s slowly melting away.
~ Erick Mertz, Kevchino
This second collaboration between Silber
chief, Brian John Mitchell and a collection of Silber artists and friends
continues in the same vein as 2006’s “A Fire Is Meant For Burning”. Right
out of the gate, we’re in the company of angels with Jessica Bailiff’s
celestial wordless vocals over Mitchell’s pensive plucking on “I Have Left
Home” – like a more meditative Cocteau Twins. Across these 16 tracks, Mitchell
and friends explore all aspects of the sonic guitarscape spectrum, from
the hypnotic wall of drone, “Guided” (with Paolo Messere) and the nocturnal
heartbeat of the looping, Durutti Columnish “Never To Be Rebuilt” (also
with Messere) to the minimalist, glacial flow collaborations with Jon DeRosa
(“Tolerate The Wicked” and “Not The One For Me”), which pass into the expansive
snorecore realms of Stars of The Lid, Windy & Carl, Eno, Azusa Plane
and DeRosa’s own work as Aarktica, although the latter sounds like it could’ve
been an outtake from DeRosa’s later efforts as Pale Horse & Rider,
with its more traditional pop arrangement…and vocals!
Occasionally Mitchell & Co. step out of the strict guitarscape mode as on the hushed, late night duet with Rollerball’s Mae Starr (“She Goes Out With Boys”) or the harsh, punky metallic percussive collaboration with Bailiff, Brian McKenzie and Michael Wood and Magen McAvenney (“Watch Me Bleed”) which fluidly and expertly combines references of Swans, Nine Inch Nails, and the Siouxsie-led Creatures. The Annelies Monseré collaboration (“Will I See You Again”) returns us to a hauntingly ethereal headspace that hearkens back to the good ol’ days of the vintage 4AD label, particularly His Name Is Alive’s Livonia collection. Michael Walton’s “Maybe You Should Chew On My Fist” is the antithesis of the vitriolic title, as it brings us back to the lovely ambient snorecore of yore. The release comes full circle with the gorgeous guitar duet reprise of opener “I Have Left Home,” with Bailiff and Mitchell pulling out all the stops in their faithful recreation of the finest Lawrence & Maurice Deebank guitar duals on those classic early Felt albums.
Overall, “Six-Winged” is a virtual instructor’s manual in the type of sounds you can coax out of an electric guitar and a few fx pedals. It’s a challenging and enveloping experience.
~ Jeff Penczak, Foxy Digitalis
Back in Vital Weekly 530 we discussed
Vlor's 'A Fire Is Meant For Burning'. It was the relaunch of Vlor as vehicle
for 'music by post'. Guitarist Brian John Mitchell sends out his playing
for other to complete. An even bigger line-up this time around, including
Jon DeRosa (of Aarktica), Mike vanPortfleet of Lycia, Nathan Amundsun (Rivulets),
Jessica Bailiff, Paolo Messere (6 P.M.), Annelies Monsere, Martin Newman
(Plumerai and Goddakk), Mae Starr (Rollerball, Moodring), Jim DeJong (The
Infant Cycle), Micheal Walton (Mvvm), Brian McKenzie (Electric Bird Noise,
Something About Vampire And Sluts), Micheal Wood (also of Something About
Vampire And Sluts and The Wet Teens) and Magen McAvenney. This must not
be understood as a remix album, but Mitchell laying down the groundwork
for a piece, and his guests add their own vocals, cello, melodica, piano,
or strings (or whatever else), to complete the songs. Sixteen pieces in
some forty-five minutes may mean a nice average length of three minutes
(pop! length), but some of these pieces are mere sketches of post rock/noise/improvisation,
which is a pity. But then a piece like 'She Goes Out With Boys' sounds
like a real song. One could wish there would have been more pieces like
this here and leave the schematics behind. Maybe that should be instructions
for the next Vlor release. Still, altogether this is a pretty nice release
~ Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly
Silber Records, run by Brian John Mitchell,
who's also a musician, is devoted to the progressive side of modern rock,
and the 'rock' tag has a tendency to wear itself out long before arriving
at Silber's doorstep. This collaborative effort—the Vlor "group", masterminded
by Mitchell and serially composed by a quite populated informal collective
of musicians in six states and five countries—occupies myriad modes: shoegaze,
alt rock, ambient, emo, etc. As such, it's kind of an introduction to the
label itself, one release of which, Aarktica, a participant in Six-Winged,
is reviewed here.
The angelic I Have Left Home, an ambient/chant affair, leads off the anthology in a wistful repeating intro refrain dominated by female chorale (a one-woman ensemble if my guess is correct), but along the way, through the 16 cuts, you'll encounter guitars -- some heavily processed, others not—keyboards, cello, melodica, strings, and percussion. The goal appears to have been to achieve the attenuated meditative drone state currently so popular in the vanguard and keep it, nicely done here. Don't expect Lars Ulrich to be unloading concrete through the speakers or Robert Plant to be driving dogs berserk with microphone-shattering ululations.
Contemporarily, there's a good deal of Eno, Sensation's Fix, Aphex Twin, Coma Virus, Jeff Greinke, Robert Rich, and the prog catalogue of serious sound sculpturists and risk takers over the last few decades. Classical antecedents in Cage, Oliveiros, Partch, Subotnick, and the electronic pioneers and avant-garde movement can be detected as well. In fact, most of the participants here are more electro-Romantic and diode-Impressionistic than is normally the case. Even the moody pop of She Goes Out with Boys, one of only a few cuts that could even vaguely hope for any dimmest type of mainstream recognition, Watch Me Bleed achieving a better chance of that, is buttressed by a throbbingly muted factory hellscape settling into purgatorial neutrality. That said, though, within that fairly tight bandwidth, there's quite a bit of variety here, all of it well enscripted.
~ Mark S. Tucker, FAME
We in the extreme metal scene are sometimes
impressed by a drummer hopping on a plane to collaborate with some guys
a couple of hours away, so ambient act Vlor are pretty much going to blow
our minds – a collective of musicians from the various corners of the Silber
roster, this eclectic project relies on the mail to share and build its
beautiful outpourings, spanning countries and continents. “Six Winged”
is the second Vlor album since their 2006 relaunch, an involving, imaginative,
questioning kind of a record with loads of hidden angles to explore.
It’s hard to characterise what we’ve got here, simply because the collaborative working method has clearly thrown up a whole world of ideas – some tracks are slow-burning, film score affairs, whilst others work around shoegazey guitar ideas, some are earnest rock, others are snarly garage recordings. It sounds wrong but it’s weirdly right, founded on the strong, shared interests of the group, whose musical bond makes it all ok.
I’m most fond of the cooler ambient compositions, for example the keening, delicate, sultry, slow-evolving “Without Blame”, or the gorgeous, blunt-edged acoustic work of “Never to be Rebuilt”. “Tolerate the Wicked” has a warming calmness in its echoey drones and simplistic, expanding-ripple notes, whereas “Damage the Land and Sea” is far more melancholy, a creeping bass and a despairing guitar picking their way through drones that sit on the edge of your nerves. These four tracks especially show just how beautiful Vlor can be using the minimum of components. Not languidly, detachedly beautiful like the sparsest ambient music, but evocatively beautiful, reflecting the infinite richness and lovely sadness of human beings rather than machines or icy landscapes.
The tracks that explore other ideas are surprising, for example “Watch Me Bleed”, when it shimmies and roars into life, but it’s like the same characters on a different stage, fitting in well with the diverse, earnest feel of the album as a whole. While this is definitely way out in the left field, a highly individual work, at the same time I could think of a number of people to whom I would have to recommend it as I let it spin around my head.
~ Ellen Simpson, Hierophant Nox
Collaborative second album by Vlor,
masterminded by Silber’s boss, Brian John Mitchell, and involving a host
of other affiliated musicians from groups such as Aarktica, 6PM, The Wet
Teens, Rollerball and more besides. Over the sixteen cuts, everything from
sombre and contemporary folk-tainted songs, through Eno-esque whorls, progressive-ambient
and slowcore, to the kind of punk-strained garage rock Billy Childish has
churned out is explored. Unfortunately, although it’s clear that there
are a lot of ideas here that Mitchell & co. are fully adept at handling,
it’s this very same diversity that leads to Six-Winged’s undoing. If, perhaps,
some of the only too brief, yet abstract, pieces, such as the fantastically
titled ‘Statue of Jealousy’, had been allowed to take up more room here
instead of the indie sensibility, I’m sure things would’ve been different.
Whilst there’s no denying the sincerity behind all of this, the whiff of
either trying to prove themselves or please everybody hangs a little too
~ Richard Johnson, Adverse Effect
I like the kind of concept behind this
project set up by Brian John Mitchell (known from the Remora project) where
the friendship between the contributors seems as important as the music.
For this 2nd full length he got some help from Jessica Bailiff, Annelies
Monseré, Paolo Messere ( Blessed Child Opera), Martin Newman (Plumerai),
Mae Starr, Jon Derosa (Aarktica), Brian McKenzie, Michael Wood, Magen McAvenney,
Jim Dejong and Michael Walton. The realization comes pretty close to akind
of cinematographic music style. Most of the tracks are definitely moving
into this style, which seems to mix ambient and experimental elements.
A few vocal parts have been injected now and than. I like the lazy kind
of vocals running through “She Goes Out With Boys”. Another essential piece
is the kind of experimental rock piece entitled “ Watch Me Bleed”. The
male-female duo in the vocals is well-produced here. In the last part of
“Six-Winged” hides my favorite song from this album. “Not The One For Me”
reminds me a little bit to the mysterious soundtrack atmosphere of the
famous “Twin Peaks”-series. It’s just pity we don’t get more songs in this
vein, but the huge input of different artists is probably an explanation
for the diversity of the songs. Guitar and bass guitar both take a very
important part in the writing of this release, but other instruments such
as cello, keyboard and percussion have been quite essential as well. We’re
just not used to get several guitarists and vocalists on the same album,
which give it a little compilation form. To conclude I would say that Vlor
doesn’t always sound like the most accessiblemusic, but true adepts of
experimental releases will be pleased here!
Four years after A Fire is Meant for
Burning, label owner Brain John Mitchel is back with Silber all star band
Vlor. Again a dozen of musicians are invited to contribute to the music.
Brain has created some bass lines and guitar melodies and send them around
to friends who add their ideas to the music. Among those friends are Jessica
Bailiff, Brain McKenzie from Electric Bird Noise, and many more. A Comparison
with 4AD all star band This Mortal Coil is easily made as they were making
music in the same breakable vein as Vlor Does nowadays.
Six-Winged starts with moody and breakable “I Have left Home” an ethereal pop song redolent to the Cocteau Twins. Other tracks are more towards ambient with droning guitars or repetitive bass lines. There are many short songs that sound like musical sketches and ideas that have to be worked out but in the whole concept of this album this works well and creates a wallowing atmosphere of melancholy. The sketches of sober ambient soundscapes and drones go together with melancholic songs. After breakable “She Goes Out With Boys” you get “Tolerate the Wicked” an eight minute droning ambient piece in the vein of Stars of the Lid. Tense is build up slowly in dark threatening “damage the Land & the Sea” with a throbbing bass, scratching strings and a minimalist melodic texture. Nearly felt asleep “Watch Me Bleed” woke me up rudely. This garage rock is breaking the album and will leave you in surprise. The are many style variations including ambient and shoegaze on this album but however its eclectic nature Six-Winged sounds as a whole and even stomping “watch Me Bleed” is not falling out of tune. Lush musical textures are weaving this album together with some surprising tracks such as a cappella “Will See You again” and tender “Not the One for Me”.
Vlor has made a very moody album with beautiful ethereal musical pieces. A very moving post rock album with mesmerizing sounds and touching melodies.
Brian John Mitchell has put together
a second full-length album as the amorphous entity Vlor. Six-Winged,
for which Mitchell provides bass & guitar, spans a range of styles;
form slow & soft, to really slow & soft. Vlor's mood is a
matter of perspective. If You're exhausted, it's a sleepy assemblage.
If you've just woken up, it's a blossoming garden of petals. If you're
in full gear, it's a meditative exploration. The 16 arrangements
pass by in quick succession -- most only a minute or two long. The
sole exception, "Tolerate the Wicked," allows ample time for languid dronescapes
to break, roll onto shore, & retreat into the sea. It's too bad
"Damage the Land & the Sea," "Young Lions," & "Boundaries of the
Land" weren't similarly treated. "Watch Me Bleed" & "Not the
One for Me" offer an awkward, indie rock gesture -- thankfully they're
brief. The full band reprise of "I Have Left Home" at the end of
Six-Winged is a more approptiate execution of the rock idiom. The
highpoint is unfortunately named "Maybe You Should Chew on My Fist."
Here Vlor offers shimmering horns, not unlike Eyvind Kang's arrangements
on Sunn O)))'s "Alice." The songs on Six-Winged are singular, content
to float in musical purgatory. Still, they're quite pretty, assuming
they don't put you to sleep.
~ Nick DeMarino, Outburn
The DeRosa theme is continued in this
next offering from Silber “super group” Vlor, also featuring among others,
main man Brian John Mitchell. “Six-winged” (Silber 075) is a strange bird
to be sure. Ploughing a similar furrow to the “In Sea Remixes” (Silber
records pride themselves on ”drone, love,honesty, sound”), this has a more
unsettling vibe to it. “Guided” is a particularly effective fusion of cloying
bass and a loop that rises and falls like some ghostly parody of a police
siren. The rumbling bass then ascends/descends to another level on one
of the few vocal tracks here (and one of only two with a discernable narrative).“She
Goes Out With Boys”, shows that the lyrical subject matter is just as left-field
and dysfunctional as the music. Mitchell and the ever-reliable Mae Starr
from Moodring sound as though they are about to descend into the arms of
Morpheus, or something much worse, as they detail the dating and mating
habits of an insecure, control-freak woman who can’t have children and
targets emotionally weak and vulnerable younger men. The other “conventional”
song is the completely bonkers and way-out-of-character “Watch Me Bleed”,
a withering relationship putdown, retro post-punk rant featuring Jessica
Bailiff on co-vocals. The rest of the album is very much “as you were”
- all very singular, experimental, mind-boggling and curiously enjoyable.
~ Ian Fraser, Terrascope
Vlor è il supergruppo di casa
Silber. Una sorta di This Mortal Coil degli anni zero. Per registrare “Six
Winged” Brian John Mitchell ha raccolto una lista di musicisti straordinari
tra i quali Brian McKenzie (Electric Bird Noise), Jon DeRosa (Aarktica),
Nathan Amundson (Rivulets), Jesse Edwards, Paolo Messere, Jessica Bailiff
e Annnelies Monsere. Proprio le voci di queste ultime caratterizzano la
parte iniziale del disco, tra nenie sospirate (“i have left home”) e sussurri
post-shoegaze (“without blame”, “guided”). Poi il disco prende a seguire
percorsi più cupi, in sintonia con quell'ambient-folk crepuscolare
che è il marchio di fabbrica della maggior parte delle pubblicazioni
della Silber. Risplendono in scaletta le lente trame alla Labradford orchestrate
da De Rosa (“tolerate the wicked”) e così come il folk circolare
della conclusiva “i have left home (reprise)” con McKenzie a supportare
la voce angelica di Annnelies.
~ Roberto Mandolini, Losing Today
Im Unterschied zu einem festen und
aufeinander eingeschworenen Bandgefüge gibt es in der Musikwelt immer
wieder Konstellationen, die geradezu angelegt sind auf überraschende
Wirkungen. Das Remixen zählt natürlich dazu, ebenso spontane
Jams eigentlich unbekannter Kollegen, und nicht zuletzt auch die sogenannten
All Star-Bands, die meist aus dem Umfeld eines bestimmten Labels oder Freundeskreises
stammen, und sich durch den Zusammenfluss unterschiedlichster Qualitäten
auf die Probe der Kompatibilität stellen. Das vom Sänger und
Gitarristen Brian John Mitchell nach einer albanischen Hafenstadt benannte
Projekt VLOR ist so ein Phänomen, bei dessen aktueller CD man in exzessives
Namedropping zu verfallen kann, wenn man sich an eine Beschreibung wagt.
Dabei existiert der eigentliche Kern als Band schon viel länger, denn
Mitchell operierte unter diesem Namen schon in den frühen 90ern, löste
das damals eher dreampoppige Duo aber bald auf und belebte die Gruppe mehrfach
neu unter immer wieder geänderten stilistischen Vorzeichen und mit
jeweils neuem Lineup. Auf dem aktuellen Longplayer versammelt er eine ganze
Reihe von renommierten Exponenten des Silber Media-Labels um sich, und
stellt ein verrauscht vor sich hindröhnendes und fiependes Shoegazer
Pop-Album auf die Beine, das gemessen am Puzzlecharakter der Beiträge
sehr stimmig geraten ist und dabei gleichzeitig nicht wie ein Werk aus
einem Guss wirkt. Den Reigen eröffnet die flämische Sopranistin
und Experimentalmusikern Annelies Monseree, deren doch sehr heißeres
Fiepsen mich bei „I Have Left Home“ bedingt überzeugt, vielleicht
noch am ehesten wegen des Kontrastes zum monoton schleppenden Gitarrensound,
der in seiner Langsamkeit weder bedrohlich noch entspannt wirken will und
so in seiner Unbestimmheit Konzentration verlangt. Ich bin vor allemein
Fan von Monserees Klavierkompositionen, bei ihrem Gesang finde ich, dass
das Gelingen von bestimmten Melodieführungen und dem Hintergrundinstrumentarium
abhängt. So überzeugt mich das entrückte A Capella „Will
I See You Again“ schon deutlich mehr, ebenso ihr Duett mit Mitchell in
„She Goes Out With Boys“. Zu einem im Hintergrund auf- und abebbenden basslastigen
Ambientteppich tragen die beiden einen Text vor, dessen alltägliche
Tragik durch die fast gemurmelt-beiläufige Vortragsweise eine Wendung
ins Surreal-Artifizielle bekommt und so seine eigentliche Größe
offenbart. Wenngleich die verhaltene Dröhnung den Löwenanteil
des Klangbildes ausmacht, erschöpft sich der Charakter der Platte
keineswegs darin. „Watch Me Bleed“ besipielsweise ist ein handfester Garagenrocksong,
bei dem die Riot Girl-artigen Vocals von Magen McAvenny Lust machen, alte
(aber auch wirklich nur alte) YEAH YEAH YEAHS aus der Mottenkiste zu holen,
wenngleich der Refrain dann doch etwas zu sehr nach Unifeten-Beschallung
klingt. Das Gros der Songs bleibt einer Midtempo-Gangart treu und dankt
seinen Charakter der Keyboard-, Gitarren- und Drumarbeit von Musikern wie
Jessica Bailiff oder Jon DeRosa von AARTICA. Immer wieder schaffen es kurze
und weniger kurze, wohlklingende und raue Interludien, bei denen auch Streicher
zum Zuge kommen, den Hörer zu bannen und laden ein, die zwischen angedeutetem
Stonerrock und cinematisch anmutendem Ambient angesiedelten Soundscapes
vor dem geistigen Auge zu visualisieren. Alles in allem ein durchaus gelungenes
Unterfangen, welches den Beweis erbringt, dass das Gegenteil von “kurzweilig”
beileibe nicht “langweilig” heisen muss.
~ Michael Göttert, Black Magazine
Superskupinou bychom mohli nazvat sdružení
Vlor, které obsahuje všechny d?ležité persóny Silber
records a ?adu dalších muzikant? navíc. I na druhé
desce Six-Winged se smíchávají vlivy domovských
kapel jednotlivých protagonist? (Remora, Aarktika, Jesicca Bailiff,
6PM, Plumerai, Infant Cycle Electric Bird Noise ad.) jak pomalu se plavící
a roztávající kry v jarním ?e?išti. P?edstavte
si jamující Low, Joy Division a kteroukoliv pomalejší
kapelu vydavatelství Kranky, a máte rámcovou p?edstavu
o tom, co m?žete od Vlor na nové desce o?ekávat.
~ Pavel Zelinka, Radio Wave
Dietro il nome Vlor c'è un ambizioso
progetto, composto da una dozzina di musicisti provenienti da varie band
e da varie parti del mondo, tra cui Brian John Mitchell (Remora/Small Life
Form), Jessica Bailiff e Paolo Messere (6PM).
“Six Winged” è il risultato di quest'eterogeneo sodalizio artistico: composto da ben sedici tracce (ma molte di esse sono di brevissima durata, quasi dei bozzetti di idee sonore), l'album propone un dark ambient fortemente etereo ed evocativo, in gran parte strumentale – ma con alcune eccezioni, come ad esempio la tetra nenia “She Goes Out With Boys” - dai toni variegati, a tratti fruibile, ma spesso di ascolto non immediato.
Innegabile la suggestività di alcuni brani, tra cui “Tolerate The Wicked”, tappeto sonoro ambient estremamente cupo che si dipana in ben otto minuti di lugubri echi rumoristici, o “Damage The Land And The Sea”, altro brano interamente strumentale carico di tensione, tutto incentrato sul basso, e sorprese stilistiche, come l'inaspettata “Watch Me Bleed”, che con la sua aggressività quasi punk si discosta profondamente dagli altri brani.
I Vlor sono un progetto interessante, con una vena ambient/ethereal che ricorda un po' i This Mortal Coil o i Cocteau Twins, ma con una maggiore – e forse anche eccessiva - eterogeneità stilistica e con una creatività ancora in fase di sviluppo, che rendono “Six Winged” un lavoro inaspettato e interessante.
~ Alone Music
Lasciati alle spalle i loro trascorsi
pop/shoegaze degli anni novanta, i Vlor sono riemersi come supergruppo
indie nel 2006 con “A Fire Is Meant For Burning”, primo capitolo di una
seconda - e mi auguro più longeva - vita discografica. Brian Mitchell,
il boss della Silber, ha lavorato a distanza con un “online collective”
di una dozzina di artisti, tra i quali Jessica Bailiff, Mae Starr dei Rollerball
e vari membri di Aarktica, Goddak ed Electric Bird Noise: si rischiava
il sovraffollamento di idee, invece i sedici brani di “Six-Winged” scivolano
senza eccessive sbavature tra lo slowcore amarognolo di “I Have Left Home”
e gli scenari dronati di “Guided”, il garage rock rabbioso di “Watch Me
Bleed” e le tipiche contaminazioni post+ambient+avant che sono la specialità
della Silber. Un esperimento riuscito che smentisce la regola del “less
~ Raffaele Zappalà, Rockerilla
Vlor Six: il loro Winged sembra un
minestrone fatto da mile persone con mille influenze ed infatti è
Vlor Six è la versione di Usa for Africa della Silber Records e cioè un megagruppo composto da molti artisti sotto contratto per questa etichetta. Il metodo di composizione utilizzato è quello per corrispondenza: Brian John Mitchell, chitarrista dei Remora (e deus ex machina della Silber Records) ha inviato per posta alcune sue basi ad altri artisti sotto contratto della Siler Records (non manca Jon DeRosa, remember him?) raccogliendone poi in seguito i vari contributi. E’ un disco minestrone con pezzi che spaziano dal Drone al punk, dal pezzo slow core a lontani echi di un brano garage. Sembra il campionario di un agente di commercio specializzato in musica alternativa d’avanguardia. Un’antologia di musica varia, unita dall’unica caratteristica di sembrare composta superficialmente: sembra quasi che sia nata da diversi contributi raccolti per corrispondenza.
Niente di che, a parte “She goes out with boys” pezzo interessante, ma rappresenta il classico Jolly in una mano sfigata.
Di sicuro in mezzo a tutto questo fermento creativo e a questo humus di musica senza alcuna concessione all’easy listening e senza alcuna logica commerciale, qualcosa di estremamente interessante dovrà pur attecchire, mi son detto, guardando le mie occhiaie allo specchio, durante una pausa in bagno dalle lunghe sessioni di ascolto.
~ Black Milk