Norah Lorway – Fade (Xylem Records)

‘Fade’ is a suite of software manipulated soundscapes from laptop performer and composer Norah Lorway.  The music derives from acoustic sources: field recordings, pianos and clarinets, which have been transformed into a diverse set of stunning ambient compositions.
‘Spheres’ recalls the work of Ligeti in its discordance and sustained alien rumbling.  ’Fade’ leaves weaving lines of clarinet unadorned in a bed of shivering glassy harmonics, a frosty background drone approaches and recedes in close unison with the deftly curling Debussy-like calm of the foreground elements.  ‘You Are Here’ is heart-stopping; a whispering, sighing, and graceful few minutes of aching stillness.  ‘Shimmer’ complements the previous track but with a subtle sub-bass wobble and ringing chopped piano notes.  Final track ‘Twitch’ pairs insectoid rattles with bubbling synth textures, like the opening build-up of Keith Fullerton Whitman’s ‘Lisbon’; here, Lorway invokes an occasional undertone of menace with falls into echoing silence, the sound sometimes almost dropping out entirely, returning in drizzling gusts of static.
‘Fade’ is a brilliantly accomplished album; the electronic and acoustic ingredients co-exist in perfect balance, each informing the other, blurring the boundaries between them.  Like the best ambient music, it will invade your surroundings during its all too brief duration.  It is a sophisticated work; but simple in its beauty.  ‘Fade’ echoes around the mind long after it ends; like a melancholy dream, softly recalled, that colours your waking moments.
Purchase ‘Fade’ here.

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