A prolific avant-garde musician, a Turner Prize nominated artist, a Norwegian jazz bassist and Franz Ferdinand's drummer walk into a bar... I'm joking - this isn't leading to a torturously elaborate punch line. In fact, it’s the line-up of AMOR, a Glasgow based musical quartet that have released one of the most captivating and mesmerising projects of the year.
The term 'supergroup' is probably too straightforwardly unoriginal to describe AMOR, who’ve been brought together from across the musical and artistic landscape. Unoriginal perhaps, but fitting given the diverse influences and experience that each member brings to 'Sinking Into A Miracle'.
At only five tracks but forty minutes in length, the album oozes a confidence rarely found in electronic music releases of this kind. There is zero filler and the unconventional structure of the project is both a testament to their artistic vision as well as being a brave move in the streaming-era of short tracks and baggy albums.
This confidence is evident from the opening track 'Phantoms of the Sun', which begins with a solitary thudding drumbeat, before eerie synths and an entrancing baseline capture the attention. Richard Youngs' ghostly vocals provide a brilliant juxtaposition here, and from the very start of this project you can sense a plethora of influences becoming a cohesive whole.
'Glimpses of Thunder' is as close as we get to a conventional track on the album - with a comparatively short length of 5:20 - and is perhaps the song in which Youngs' vocals are the clearest focal point. It isn't bad by any means but this is arguably the project’s dullest moment, one that’s similar to 'Phantoms of the Sun' without quite matching its impact.
Closing track 'Truth of Life' is the artistic epicentre of the album, and is as experimental and intriguing as the project gets. Yes, the track’s title and protracted running length - 12 minutes - border on the indulgently pretentious, but I guess you wouldn't expect anything less from a group composed of artistic souls. More importantly, 'Truth of Life' succeeds in incorporating more influences than its possible to name while still keeping your foot tapping.
'Sinking Into A Miracle' isn't for everyone, and it isn't meant to be. If you want to escape down a rabbit hole of enchanting electronic orchestration then this is just the ticket. If not, then maybe give this one a miss. Regardless, AMOR are a rare beast in this era of music - bold, experimental and just a tad pretentious. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Words: Will Rosebury
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