Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Found Your Faces Of Montreal - You Are My Symphonic (SCQ's Autumn Records 2011)

I Found Your Faces Of Montreal

You Are My Symphonic

SCQ Rating: 88%

Some records you hold onto for just the right moment; still, this was a tough one. Released on the cusp of summer after a three-year recording process, Vishal Kassie’s second record under his You Are My Symphonic moniker instills a still-life beauty ideal for autumn wanderings. Granted, June worked out pretty well regardless, as one can actually hear these songs blossoming into being via pristine acoustic instrumentation and crisp electronic layers. But it’s Kassie’s mournful edge that offers I Found Your Faces Of Montreal its auburn melancholy, a reflective spirit that touches gently on love and loss – themes this record knows all too well.

The record has in effect been written twice; the first being halfway finished when stolen as part of a laptop heist in 2008, the second being Kassie’s present labour of love – rewritten, rearranged, expanded upon and (if we can trust the author’s word) greatly improved. Following 2009’s instrumental wedding-score Afternoon Birds Of Arima, I Found Your Faces Of Montreal has the air of a debut proper. Capturing the same bucolic loveliness that coloured his past ambient efforts, opener ‘Meet Me In Trinity’ unlocks a door by ushering in Kassie’s prowess on the acoustic guitar and a new dimension to You Are My Symphonic’s sound. It has a widescreen appeal, expanding in echo-drenched ivories on ‘Autumn Will Fall In Love’ and rippling over the Ulrich Schnauss-approved ‘Under Your Umbrella, with grandiose aspirations that should no doubt turn off some cynics. Yes, that latter example finds melodies fully maximized, stretched to their life-affirming potential without much thought of restraint, and on early listens can be misunderstood as schmaltzy.

That sentimental veneer is to be cherished, however, as it coats some of the record’s devastating highlights. ‘Rooftop’’s shimmering reverberations house biting details of a dead relationship, the soaring synth on ‘My Father And His Sister’ counteracts some rather glitchy beats, while the title track bears Kassie’s haunting yet irresistible multi-tracked vocals. Like the storied history of the recording process itself, emotions run deep throughout I Found Your Faces Of Montreal’s sprawling eight compositions. Uplifting and heartbreaking – often all at once – You Are My Symphonic has staked himself proprietor of an ambient-folk scene positively alien to Montreal. And on that island’s island, I Found Your Faces Of Montreal is a landmark release waiting to be found.

Autumn Will Fall In Love from You Are My Symphonic on Vimeo.

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