Album Review: The Virgance – ‘Paradigm 3’

‘Paradigm 3’ is the 3rd album in 18 months from precocious and prodigious talent, The Virgance aka Natham Smith.

It follows hot on the heels of 2014’s ‘Lost Continent’ and this January’s ‘Hiko Shrine’, a release which, in conjunction with an interview with the man himself, I was honoured to have grace this page – “‘Hiko Shrine’ needs to be listened to, and through listening, savoured and appreciated for the vastness of it’s realised ambition.” – chromaticism…

The Virgance - Paradigm (album cover_)

It delights me that even Nathan’s own Facebook page struggles to identify a “genre” into which he can be easily pigeon-holed, citing “Indie Rock / Shoegaze / Dream Pop / Noise Rock / Post Rock / Ambient / Experimental”.

The Virgance is all of these things, and reassuringly more than merely the sum of it’s constituent parts.

’25 Years’, shimmers into hallucinatory view, mirage-like in it’s sparkling effervescence, an illusory anniverser-al allusion; ‘Epiphony’, not only appeals to my penchant for wordplay and derision for “spell-checking”, it delivers a beatific, harmonious exercise in how to leave the fakers dumbfounded and grasping at their funerary wake; ‘Sequester’, as the name suggests, perhaps portents a sense of isolation, there is an aching longing, a treasure trove revelatory prize, awaiting those who seek it; ‘Moonolog’, swaggers with confident patination, an opulent drum revelry…

‘Saturnine’, delves deep and dense, yet defies it’s taciturn roots, there is an ephemera hinting at the salvation beyond; ‘Down The River’, featuring the equally subliminal Ummagma, eludes the gravitational pull with it’s floating, transient sub-tropical dreamscape; ‘Dissipate’, is a gossamer film, an imperceptible, intangible dimensional interface, and yet it tantalisingly exists, just out of reach; ‘No Return’, rumbles into frame, ushering a glistening assemblage of layering orchestration, the pervasive coda, in and of itself a fragmentary, eclectic delight…

‘Paradigm 3′ is an enveloping cinematic triumph, a treatise in crystalline, evanescent distillation.

“Melan-phoric” has been my imagineered word of the week, and I make no apology for using it again in relation to the output of The Virgance, which is both lugubrious and spiritually uplifting, in gloriously equal measure.

Radio edits of ’25 Years’, ‘Sequester’ and ‘Down The River’ are also included on this release on the El Vals del Conejo Label, available via bandcamp, iTunes, and Spotify.

The Virgance photo 3

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