-->
Music

Astrid Williamson: Requiem and Gallipoli

Returning to her formative classical music training, singer-songwriter Williamson releases a set of orchestral compositions exploring musical grounds traversed by such composers like Górecki and Pärt.


Astrid Williamson

Requiem & Gallipoli

Label: Imports
Amazon
iTunes

Known for her art-rock compositions with Goya Dress and the more straightforward pop songwriting of her solo career, Shetland-born Astrid Williamson returns to the classical musical training of her formative years to present Requiem and Gallipoli. A ten-piece set of orchestral compositions written by Williamson herself, Requiem and Gallipoli is a crystalline example of the songwriter’s talents as a composer.

Her work with the atmospheric and dramatic alternative rock outfit Goya Dress established Williamson’s skill in combining the storms of pop-rock structures with the understated and moody arrangements of a string section. The artist further expressed classical designs in her follow-up solo work, always within a pop context.

Distilled down to its purest lesson in classical and sacred music, Requiem and Gallipoli explores themes of transcendence in the wake of post-traumatic stress disorder. Originally conceived as an extension of the practices of the David Lynch Foundation (a charitable organization which teaches those living with PTSD forms of mantra meditation to help combat debilitating stress), Requiem and Gallipoli, on its own, is an exercise in spiritual profundity and mines similar terrain explored by such composers like Arvo Pärt, Henrik Górecki and Sofia Gubaidulina.

According to Williamson, the writing process was arduous but automatic. “I would translate each movement from Latin, then start writing the music at the piano, later orchestrating and singing each individual voice... it was incredibly intuitive work -- the music seemed to unfurl before me.”

Haunting and byzantine in its emotional complexity, Requiem and Gallipoli opens up not only Williamson’s songwriting talents to new worlds, but also her voice. Known for her distinctive tone, Williamson’s singing here offers deeper dimensions that could never be explored within the constructs of popular music. Drawing upon themes of liberation and renewal, “In Paradisum” proposes a layered dream calling from a space of imagined reality. Williamson’s voice is the haunted vessel sailing into the realm of dreamed sounds.

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

Scholar Judith May Fathallah's work blurs lines between author and ethnographer, fan experiences and genre TV storytelling.

In Fanfiction and the Author: How Fanfic Changes Popular Culture Texts, author Judith May Fathallah investigates the progressive intersections between popular culture and fan studies, expanding scholarly discourse concerning how contemporary blurred lines between texts and audiences result in evolving mediated practices.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Merseybeat survivors, the Searchers made two new-wave styled, pop rock albums in 1979 and 1981. They covered Big Star, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. What could possibly go wrong?

Imagine the plight of the Searchers in 1979. You've been diligently plugging away at the night-club circuit since the hits dried up in the late '60s, and you've just made a great, pop-rock record. Critics love it, but radio won't play it as they're too busy scrambling around to find bands that look like the Pretenders, the Boomtown Rats and Elvis Costello, but who sound like… well, the Searchers.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Burt Lancaster not only stars in The Kentuckian (1955) but directed and produced it for the company he co-founded with Ben Hecht. The result is an exciting piece of Americana accoutred in all sorts of he-man folderol, as shot right handsomely in Technicolor by Ernest Laszlo and scored by Bernard Herrmann with lusty horns to echo the source novel, Felix Holt's The Gabriel Horn.

Keep reading... Show less
7
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image