robin guthrie

Robin Guthrie
Rocket Girl

We won’t deny that the first time we heard this we were in fact suitably rested in the garden, the sun was shining (indeed yes – I know mid September – bizarre), the mood was tranquil, the CD to hand the latest outing from ex Cocteau Twin(er) Robin Guthrie, a divinely lulling babe that was in fact so lulling that we dropped off mid way through. Now some among you may view this as a slight on Mr Guthrie’s prowess as a musician. Not so. ‘3:19’ is one of those rare albums that enchantingly transports you to another place (if eyes closed as were mine – then to dreamland) far away from your present woes, trials and tribulations to a secret serene sanctuary.

‘3:19’ marks his second soundtrack commission following his work on Greg Araki’s 2004 film ‘mysterious skin’ (and ‘echoes of forgotten places’ – which I suppose makes it his third all told) and sees him shifting towards the more ethereal realms of dream pop. Poised and elegant, tender and caressing this delicately orchestrated ten track suite reveals a more considered side to his artistry, less sugar rushing than his recent solo work, ‘3:19’ is instead glazed purposefully with a more majestic ardour that sees him tailgating similar star crossed ambient vapour trails as explored by Harold Budd, Charles Atlas and Yellow 6 (the latter named especially catered for on the sparsely mellowed minimalism of the atmospherically slender cavernous motifs of ’Cuanto tiempo?’ wherein the chamber like tonalities usher in a bruised and distant yet reverent aura to proceedings).

These beautifully frosted emotionally entwining refractions shimmer and soothe with equal measure, slow to unfurl but embracing and beguiling once in flight, deftly crafted and richly evocative at times (as on the touching and fading introspective tragedy of the quietly grand ‘comprension’ {and its half cousin ‘a la eternidad’}with its pepper corning of spectral lunatic refrains and solemn beauty – much reminiscent it has to be said of Roger Webb’s score for the ‘Hammer House of Horror’ series from the 80’s while simultaneously nibbling at Pulp’s ‘misshapes’) at others simply breathtaking and softly euphoric (none more than on the heart string tweaking surrender of the near perfect and frankly arresting ’alma’ with its bounteous wide screen celestial mirages and shyly recoiling looping love notes).

Guthrie admirably arranges the flow of moods and textures, like a pendulum ’3:19’ it succinctly shifts between light / dark and solemn and fragile (as on the noire like and bruised ’lucia’s lament’ which echoes elements of Gnac ‘ Roy Budd) / optimistic and enriched with such unnerving pathological ease thus ensuring the listener is drawn and captivated, his trademark application to crafting resonating statuesque sonic sculptures more in tune with his Cocteau past are dispatched sparingly as on the ‘explaining the game’ and the dream weaving nocturnal light show of the porcelain pirouettes found amid the unfurling crystalline chime corteges of ’en mi punto, en ti punto, y miy en ti punto’.

But then aside ‘Alma’ nothing quite touches like the hauntingly lovelorn ‘lisa@dixo .com’ – the softly spectral drone drift string treatments, the hollowed halos of celestial sirens enticing evocatively into the voids and the cocooning amorphous overtures all seductively coalescing into an aching apparition of aching consequence that literally cuts you open from the inside out.

Quite perfect if you ask me.

Key tracks –


 september 2008

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