The Balustrade Ensemble

Renewed Brilliance

Free-flowing rivers pour out from Renewed Brilliance. Golden, crisp notes jet along the only stream there really is; the stream of infinity, where the music never ends. Their tails dive into the deep first, splashing into waterfalls that contain nothing but sunken sounds. The translucent, harmonic light of an unfamiliar, alien sun glints over the water, sparkling like a thousand brilliantly coloured gems as the water catches its light. Yes, this world looks so similar to our own, but it feels very different. You haven’t been here before.

Renewed Brilliance, the second album from The Balustrade Ensemble, is the sound of infinity. A gorgeous, ever-present sound opens previously unknown doorways that then lead into new, alternate dimensions. They’re only accessible through music. As you listen to the music, strange, non-conventional thoughts swirl around inside your imagination. It’s more than suitable subject material for a David Lynch film, or a novel by Haruki Murakami. Those white, fluffy clouds somehow keep afloat as they hang in the sky. Why do they drift all day long, how do they anchor themselves to the blue and over which continent did they fully come into being? Such questions are never answered, of course. Sometimes, you don’t need answers. You don’t need a destination – you just need the journey. Sounds of solace slip out of the music and into your soul. Tones light up like fairground attractions. Roll up, roll up. Carousels slowly spin, the grinning horses locked perpetually in a circular race.

Incredibly lush tones flow out of the music; it’s the sound of vitality, of perfect health. Chiming sweetly with every passing second, these notes are more like buried crystals. Deeper textures hint at shipwrecks that have slipped through the Bermuda Triangle, equally sailing through and falling into eternal chasms of uncharted space. Navigation is made easier by a static-fuzzy harmony that dimly lights the way, but it’s buried deeply in the snap and crackle. The only constant is its untainted beauty; it glimmers as brightly as its tone, and finding that kind of beauty is rare. Occasionally, strings give the music more of a processional quality, but it never loses its ambient heart.

A whoosh of the breeze sends us to “Summerhill”, a nightly escape to a cool, out-of-the-way cave where the wind levitates and fluctuates like the tired apparition of a sailor, and the sounds echo and rebound off the cold stone walls. Electronic fragments scuttle around the coda “Goodbye Leona Dare”, but they never disrupt what is a softly mellow atmosphere. The notes slowly twirl around, gracing the music with its electronic ballet. As they dance, the light fades away, and arpeggios, shaped and bent into strange intervals, glow softly in a renewed, brilliant romance.

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