Artist: The Virgance
Release Date: 26/01/2015
Record Label: El Vals del Conejo
‘The Virgance’ is the solo project of UK based Nathan Smith, previously of seminal 90’s band Ripley & 00’s electro noise merchants ‘Loveless’. ‘Hiko Shrine’ is his second album to be released on the brilliant Independent Netlabel ‘El Vals del Conejo’ & it follow’s on from his 2014 debut ‘Lost Continent’. Specialising in writing & producing spectacular instrumental soundscape’s via the medium of shoegaze, dreampop, noise-rock & post-punk on your own is not an easy thing these day’s! You have to be a master of a certain type of craft to undertake a mammoth project like this. What Nathan Smith aka ‘The Virgance’ has achieved, in not only this release, but in his magnificent 2014 debut release ‘Lost Continent’ is nothing short of genius! His attention to detail is immense! With swirling, looping, & arching reverb drenched wall’s of guitar leading the charge through an effortless, almost cinematic-like, soundscape of haunting vocal line’s, thriving drum’s & hypnotic bass line’s, the experimental track’s on ‘Hiko Shrine’ are just stunning to listen to. You really have to listen to this album via headphones to experience the absolute feeling of weightlessness & zero gravity! ‘Hiko Shrine’ is why I love this genre of music so much. It epitomise’s & embodie’s what I believe this modern day, next wave of shoegazing is all about. This is the next level. This is Post-Gaze!
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With almost creeping intent, the album’s explosive opening track ‘Propulsion Lab Part 1’ enter’s the musical atmosphere like a steam train. This track is absolutely stunning! It takes you to place’s you could only dream of. Layer’s of effected guitar’s loop around your cranium, carefully caressing your eardrum’s with reverb induced hallucinogenic’s as your led skyward’s to some imaginary planet where shoegaze is king! This is one of my favourite track’s of this year so far, and I know this year is yet young, but I reckon this album will be hanging around my top 5’s of 2015, come year’s end, it is that bloody good. But please, don’t take my word for it, go and check it out below –
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You could press play on any one of the track’s on this immense album and instantly get lost daydreaming your way through it’s epic soundscape’s. From the extremely addictive ‘Mobius Strip’ straight through to, my second favourite track on ‘Hiko Shrine’, ‘Breitling Orbiter’ and on into ‘Airsick, Freon Presence, Interceptors, Propulsion Lab Part 2, Eros & Astraeus’ and the album’s closing track ‘Slingshot’, this album is breathtakingly immense. It’s wall’s of sound will entice you in and lead you through numerous level’s of post-punk & dream-pop infused gaze whilst propelling you into the heaven’s. It’s a roller coaster of sound wave’s and sonic pulse’s, ethereal vocal line’s, pounding drum’s, throbbing baseline’s & looping guitar swell’s. ‘Hiko Shrine’ is a wondrous thing. It is hard to believe that this maelstrom of epic sound’s were written & produced by just one person? What Nathan Smith has achieved is amazing and I congratulate him on releasing a kraken. I’d be very surprised if ‘Hiko Shrine’ doesn’t top end of year poll’s right across the board this year, due to how immaculate it sound’s. This is an epic musical masterpiece and one that I shall listen to for a long time to come!
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‘Hiko Shrine’ is now available up on ‘The Virgance’ Bandcamp page HERE.
Del Chaney – The Primal Music Blog – January 2015 – Dublin, Ireland.
The Primal Radio Show is an internet based radio show broadcasting on RadioAktiv // Underground every Friday night from 10PM BST on mixlr.com/radioaktiv playing Unsigned & Small Independent Label Based Shoegaze, Dreampop, Noise Rock, Post-Rock & Post-Punk.
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