Despite having only encountered Floating Beauty twice before, via the single Larissa and the album that spawned it, Larva, I already look forward to any of their music which finds its way to my review pile. Why? Because musically it is so different from almost everything else that comes my way, it runs against the usual fads and fashion of pop culture, in short it is always a truly unique experience. Floating Beauty makes music which is slow and purposefully, which builds tension and anticipation, that demands patience and rewards the listener for taking the time to journey with it.
Like a Glare in the Night sees Floating Beauty continue to mix classical grandeur with ambient electronica, but whereas the previous album seems to come more form the former, full of sweeping strings and drawn out elegance, this time out there seems to have been a slight shift to the latter. Not so much that you would say that the sound has significantly changed, rather that the style is less about classical sounds being formed into ambient landscapes but more interested in ambient sounds capturing the blissful grace of those timeless sonics.
Right from opening track Glow, there is a more electronic feel, glitchy and echoing radio noise, and punctuated by industrial sound shocks and pummelling beats yet between these sonic peaks the more expected gossamer-like textures still reign supreme. Halo takes such near emptiness to the extreme, twinkling acoustic guitars and the noise of the natural world forming the translucent body of the song and Gleam returns us to a place of piano led beauty with just enough droning electronica to remind us that this album is a meeting of worlds.
It is a meeting of the formal and the inventive, of the old and the new, of the familiar and the strange. And it is as those parameters get used in differing amounts that the music takes its form. The music seems to reflect the differing night time visuals that you might see looking out over a cityscape… The Glare a pulsing beacon broadcasting at intervals, Glitter the gentle shimmer of effervescent patterns, The Whisper, the slightest of flickers and Dark Storm the crackle of thunderous energy and dancing lightning as a storm approaches.
This is music as light, light as sound, sound describing a visual aspect, vision as a sonic rendering, it’s brave and marvellous and such an intriguing concept. It is almost like the soundtrack to a piece of film that is yet to be created, or perhaps one that only needs to exist in the listeners mind. Or maybe this is the starting point of a new creative process whereby, rather than have musicians and composers create music for existing films, that film makers instead create the visual component to accompany the music. Now that really is a tantalising new idea.