Uncertain Futures and Fading Pasts by Angelmark (Review)

Fans of classic 4AD sounds, as well as stuff like Windy & Carl and Lanterna, will find plenty to like here.
Uncertain Futures and Fading Pasts - Angelmark

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Canadian label Resplendent, specifically about releases by Angelmark and Titania. Michael Turner, who is the head songwriter in both bands, was kind enough to send me some CDs, which I’ve been enjoying quite a bit lately, especially now that the weather is finally taking a turn for the colder and greyer.

Angelmark is Turner’s solo project, and his latest CD, Uncertain Futures and Fading Pasts just came out this year. Fans of classic 4AD sounds, as well as stuff like Windy & Carl and Lanterna, will find plenty to like. There’s something about Turner’s spacious layering of acoustic and electric guitars, with smatterings synths, percussion, and found sounds. The end result is a track like “Equipoise,” which evokes the sense of driving through wide-open countrysides, preferably during twilight.

It feels somewhat odd to be listening to this track in my office — I find myself resisting the urge to turn towards the window and just gaze for awhile, in hopes of seeing landscapes like those that fill the album’s liner notes.

Meanwhile, tracks like “Mam Tor,” “Unseen Hand,” and “Twilight World” exist somewhere between Sigur Ros’ angelic wail and Cocteau Twins’ Victorialand. The shimmering guitars on “Mam Tor” might point towards the Icelanders’ penchant for unleashing huge walls of sound, and the songs certainly seem to be heading towards some massive climax. But instead, the tracks remain cold and distant, the musical equivalent of a flurried white-out. Meanwhile, the glittering sounds on the song’s edge hint at the first rays of sunlight dancing across the ice, chipping away at the long arctic winter.

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