Album Title: 
Bring Down The Sky
Release Date: 
Friday, November 21, 2014
Review Type: 

Northumbria was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the east of England with quite an interesting history. As from about 500 A.C. on, it was quite an important and mighty kingdom, until Danish Vikings conquered the region in the ninth century. But since we’re not an online encyclopaedia…

It’s also a region not that far away from Toronto, Canada, with a notorious university…

Northumbria is also the name for a Canadian project, founded out of the ashes of Toronto-based Holoscene in 2011. So I guess they are named after the Canadian option rather than the historical British one, but since I want to share my über-intelligence with you …

No, seriously, when Holoscene split-up (though, I am not sure at all if they did split up permanently, since there was a new album after Northumbria were formed)… So, I’ll try it this way: when Dorian Williamson and Jim Field left Holoscene, they started to play under the Northumbria-moniker. They recorded a little hand full of things in the past, amongst which a collaboration-project with Famine just a couple of months ago, and then they had the chance to sign to Belgium’s cult-in-spe label Consouling Sounds, on which roster they do perfectly fit. The first result of this co-operation is Bring Down The Sky, a five-track recording with a total running time of forty three minutes. It was produced by the duo (Jim: guitars and electronics / Dorian: bass and electronics) and mastered by nobody else but James Plotkin.

Bring Down The Sky brings totally instrumental Aural Art, a mystic and adventurous journey through ambient and droning soundscapes. This album translates mysterious landscapes, eerie travels through the mind, and spiritual excesses into a mesmerizing sonic experience that does both let you dreams away, and grabs you by the bal… by the throat. Layers of hypnotic synths interact with opulent guitar melodies, being intimate and introspective and, at the same time, open-minded and grotesque. On the bio that we received is stated: ‘whether Northumbria are taking a hike to infinity, cracking open the cosmic egg, or wrenching you away from modernity’s madness, the band’s harmonic vibrations offer the prospect of healing the mind, body, and soul through a shared sense of journeying through heart-rending sound'. It’s a piece of art created to connect, which means trespassing borders of narrow-minded limitation and hypocrisy. This is sonic euphoria and, at the same time, dramatic, Noise without being noisy, and obscurity covered in enlightenment. Connection and contrast musical intelligence despite the nihilistic, minimal approach.

There are quite some influences from the Canadian scene, and then I am thinking about, let’s say, thisquietarmy or several of the projects Aidan baker is involved with, and with some fantasy (though I do not think it is exaggerated) you might discover several hints of Tiamat’s Wildhoney too from time to time, as well as Indian / Tibetan shamanism, the distant esoterism of Oren Ambarchi, the spaceness of The Necks, the integrity of so-called Shoegaze, etc.


Finally this: hey guys, where has your (cool) logo from the earlier years gone to?