Pill-Oh – Vanishing Mirror
Posted In: Alexander Monken, Hior Chronik, Kitchen Label, Pill-Oh, Vanishing Mirror, Zinovia Arvanitidi
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“We find ourselves when gazing into “mirrors”, but we lose ourselves if we gaze too much”
Have you ever stood staring in to a mirror and not recognised the face staring back at you? Is it really you? How do you know it’s you if the only reference you’ve ever had is in glass or film? I always had that feeling as a child. The feeling that I never really recognised myself because, as humans, we only ever catch fleeting glances of our own reflections in the bathroom, or bedroom mirror or in the window of a passing car or house. And the reflection itself is a hollow image. The mirror only reflects the shell within which we exist, it doesn’t represent the whole.
As we stand looking in the mirror it’s the inner self that is often the element that we struggle with most. The glass may break. The vision may fade from view. But the internal struggle to be who we are meant to be will never leave. I have found that music has the power to heal, the power to help. Without music in our lives we would surely not have got through some of our worst moments. We would not have enjoyed some of our best. And we would stare into mirrors at the hollow shells staring back. No soundtrack. Just void.
“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
Oscar Wild once said that “beauty is a form of genius – is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts in the world like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark water of that silver shell we call the moon.”
‘Vanishing Mirror’ by Pill-Oh, then, needs no real explanation as it captures the above sentiment perfectly, bringing together the wonderful range and tone of the piano with subtle instrumentation to create a dreamlike journey that will leave you longing for more.
The album is laden with beautiful piano moments, from technically gifted playing to simplistic movements designed to accompany a melodica or glockenspiel or accordion, to punctuated rather than dominate. And here in lies the beauty of this record. The piano is the central element but Pill-Oh have created a record of variation and depth. The piano is recurring but not the only star of the show and the tracking of this record creates something rich and vibrant, which does penetrate deeper and is affecting in such a positive way. It’s truly dark and it’s beautiful and it’s diverse. At times, like on the mesmerising ‘Nightstill’ it feels like you could be listening to Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto. At others, such as ‘Notebook’ it’s reminiscent of Olafur Arnalds lush beauty and then, when a beat appears on ‘No Regrets’ we’re moved into Nils Frahm/Anne Müller territory. Such is the range of this record closer ‘Promise’, based around the cello, really should come as no surprise – and yet does. A wonderful conclusion to a wonderful album.
Much like gazing into a mirror for too long, you will lose yourself in this record. But when you come too, the face looking back at you will feel more whole, more alive, for this record is exactly why life without music would be a mistake.
- Alexander Monken for Fluid Radio