RIYL: trip-hop, downtempo, Bristol sound

Label: Gizeh Records

It’s been WAY too long since I’ve had an excuse to write about one of Gizeh‘s releases. Claire Brentnall, Richard Knox and special guest cellist Julia Kent (Antony & the Johnsons) take us to the base of the Niagara Falls on a cold, dreary day or to Bristol, England – your choice. As you listen, you’ll quickly realize there’s a reason that this is seeing a release only shortly before fall officially begins. Mirror Breathing, judging from the sole two tracks we have available to listen to, is a lavish, fluttering take on lounge/trip hop. Gizeh seems to host those who bring glory to genres popular in ye olde 90s/early 00s that are woefully revisited today for the most part. Shield Patterns can do a delicate lullaby, like on “Dusk,” or replicate a grandiose opening, like on “Cerulean,” but it’s honeyed all the same. Listen to “Cerulean” and “Dusk” off of Mirror Breathing below via the Soundcloud streams and see what you think of them. Cheers!

The Details

Manchester-based duo Shield Patterns return on September 2nd with a new album entitled Mirror Breathing. Released on band member Richard Knox’s own Gizeh Records label, Mirror Breathing follows on from the critically acclaimed debut album Contour Lines in 2014 and 2015’s Violet EP.

Where it’s predecessors took a more stark, electronic and processed approach, Mirror Breathing is an altogether warmer, more cinematic record. The cello of guest collaborator Julia Kent (Antony & the Johnsons / The Leaf Label) introduces a new element and a new energy to the sound, pulling the songs into a more symphonic form. The electronics, drones and field recordings are intricately and painstakingly arranged by the duo, meandering between haunting vocal passages, clarinet swells and delicate synth phrases. The album ebbs and flows through hypnotic beats (Dusk, Blue Shutters, Glow), ethereal and tender piano-led songs (Bruises, Anymore) to more aggressive, heavily experimental, free-jazz elements (Balance & Scatter).

Continuing the fiercely DIY ethos adopted by both band and label, Mirror Breathing has been written, recorded and produced in its entirety by Claire Brentnall and Knox in their home studio in the Peak District. The record is both personal and universal; an exploration in sound and songwriting. The music Shield Patterns are making is difficult to place into genres or pigeon-holes. Experimental sounds are married to striking, inventive melodies throughout; it’s contemporary pop music of sorts with a richly detailed cosmic edge.

Some words from Claire about the album:
"The album for me is about feeling connected; exploring what it means to be a friend, to be in love, to be an individual, to be part of a collective unconscious. It's about the beauty of imperfection, of making mistakes, and the discoveries that are made by chance as we learn to exist."

Shield Patterns is the Manchester-based duo of Claire Brentnall and Richard Knox (A-Sun Amissa / The Rustle of the Stars / Glissando). Together they create intensely emotive music full of light and shade that's both melodic and incredibly detailed. It's a sound that is at once accessible and exploratory and ends up as a triumph of dreamily surreal contemporary music.

The duo's critically acclaimed debut LP Contour Lines (2014) and subsequent EP Violet (2015) were both released via Richard's own Gizeh label with work almost complete on a new album, scheduled for release in August 2016.

During Shield Patterns' relatively short life-span they have been remixed by alt-j and Dutch Uncles, invited by post-metal titans Cult of Luna to perform at their Beyond the Redshift festival in London, appeared at Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig, Germany (the biggest Gothic festival in Europe) alongside touring and playing shows with the likes of; James Holden, Portico, Olöf Arnalds, Woman's Hour, Bernard + Edith and Conquering Animal Sound. March 2015 saw the duo take to the road in support of the Contour Lines album playing in seven different countries along the way.

Price $18.14

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