Andrew Wasylyk – The Paralian
The Paralian is an antidote to everyday chaos, an album that’s somehow both meditative and majestic, quieting the mind as it leads it through multiple journeys of space, time and place
Andrew Wasylyk’s third solo offering cements his impressive compositional talents with evocative instrumentals rich in romantic glamour and subtle grandeur. The Paralian is a joy to experience, elegantly drifting through myriad narrative tangents against the backdrop of an omnipresent but ever-changing coast.
Wasylyk is most known as an integral part of Idlewild’s current line-up and head of indie pop outfit The Hazey Janes under his given name Andrew Mitchell but, along with his Art of the Memory Palace project, it’s his instrumental imaginings, interpreting places and spaces, that have more recently demonstrated the breadth of his abilities.
2017’s Themes for Buildings and Spaces proved his mastery of composition, weaving aural stories of his home city of Dundee and its evolving historical places and landmarks. This marked somewhat of a shift from the mournful, crooning storytelling on his brilliant debut Soroky but, in the absence of lyrical input for the most part, The Paralian is laden with thoughtful, delicate soundscapes and multitextured complexities.
Wasylyk was originally commissioned to create new music for the restored 19th century Erard Grecian harp at the historic house Hospitalfield in Arbroath, but the pieces blossomed over the five-month residency largely due to the influence of the external environment, with inspiration coming from the building’s relationship to the brutal but beautiful North Sea. As time passed, the songs expanded with extensive field recordings taken on exploration of the surrounding coast. The harp-led compositions that were developed using the house’s grand piano soon grew into a series of textured tales dressed in a variety of instruments including synths, flugelhorn, euphonium, oboe and strings.
Greendrive #2 glides and floats with effortless grace, while Welter in the Haar is soft-focus filmic beauty. The horn-led Dreamt the Breakers Spill has a sense of sorrowful solitude, and Flight of the Cormorant boasts suave jazz-infused percussion and tanpura flourishes before the contemplative, swelling lament of Mariner’s Hymn. Wasylyk’s vocal appears on the penultimate track Adrift Below a Constellation, lurking dreamlike in the darkness of a laid-back beat, increasingly engulfed by waves of instrumentation.
The Paralian is an antidote to everyday chaos, an album that’s somehow both meditative and majestic, quieting the mind as it leads it through multiple journeys of space, time and place. Wasylyk has once again fortified his abundant talents on this record, producing yet another breathtaking body of timeless work.
Listen to: Flight of the Cormorant, Adrift Below a Constellation