Nosound- Lightdark (Burning Shed)
review by Jim Clark

Track Listing

1. About Butterflies And Children
2. Places Remained
3. The Misplay
4. From Silence To Noise
5. Someone Starts To Fade Away
6. Kites
7. Lightdark



In 2005, Rome’s Nosound created one of my favorite discs of the year with Sol29. The band’s leader, multi-instrumentalist Giancarlo Erra, previously led a Porcupine Tree cover band called Redshift, and those influences shown through without being contrived.

The efforts of that excellent debut landed Nosound on the Burning Shed label, which should be familiar to Porcupine Tree fans as it is run in part by Tim Bowness, Steven Wilson’s partner in No-Man. Now for the follow-up to Sol29, Erra and company have released Lightdark.

The disc starts with the brief but beautiful instrumental “About Butterflies And Children.” A keyboard-drenched track with some lovely piano playing, the song leads nicely into “Places Remained.” While Erra’s vocals, more warm keyboards and a cool drum sound comprise the core of the track, it’s the killer, Gilmour-esque guitar solo towards the end that really stands out.

Next up is “The Misplay.” With Erra singing along to a layer of synths, cello and what sounds like an Asian-stringed instrument, the song works, though it is probably my least favorite on the disc.

The 15-minute “From Silence To Noise” follows, and the song lives up to its title. Building slowly with synths followed by guitar, the intro structurally reminds me somewhat of Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” A mellow vocal by Erra starts, as does some subdued but effective drumming and more keys. A standout piece!

“Someone Starts To Fade Away” sounds like it could be a missing No-Man song as Tim Bowness, whose voice is so associated with that band, takes over the singing. Piano and restrained guitar start the piece before Bowness offers up his distinctive vocals. Again, like most of Lightdark, keyboards dominate musically, though Erra delivers yet another tasty guitar solo.

The moody “Kites” is next, with loads of cello provided courtesy of Marianne de Chastelaine. Jazzy drumming and downbeat vocals carry the track along. The extended instrumental outro, with a haunting cello line and some impassioned though controlled drumming, is quite cool.

Closing things out is the title track, soaked in more synths. With minimal vocals towards the start of the song, it’s the keyboards and Erra’s guitar that dominate the piece, making for a nice way to close out a wonderful disc.

Overall, I probably liked the band’s debut a little better, but Lightdark is still a very strong sophomore effort that I find thoroughly enjoyable. While I found Sol29 to be a bit more varied musically, Lightdark is quite an ambient disc, with the keyboards front and center. So while Erra’s Porcupine Tree influences came through on the debut, I’d say this disc would remind me more of No-Man, though more in style than actual sound. In all, a very good release that shows Erra broadening his musical palette, and making me very intrigued about what will follow next.

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