‘The Blue Hour’ Review: Sea Of Tranquility
30th August 2012
Rhys Marsh is an English singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist & producer who is now located in Norway. His ‘multi-national orchestra’, The Autumn Ghost, features members of Jaga Jazzist, Anekdoten, The National Bank, Wobbler, White Willow, Änglagård, Emmerhoff & The Melancholy Babies, Pelbo, In Lingua Mortua, The Irrepressibles & The Divine Comedy. The Blue Hour is the third album by Rhys Marsh & The Autumn Ghost, and is set to be released September 11th, 2012. With this release, they have stepped into new territory – strings and mellotrons are replaced by brass and woodwinds, as well as a new vocal style that has been simplified, using less thick harmonies but often combine male and female vocals singing in unison.
Now, I have to stop here and confess to my audience that I had a difficult time figuring out how to write about this album. I actually found it to be quite a unique musical experience (especially considering my “usual”), but despite this (maybe because of it) I found it difficult to come up with the words to describe it. After some serious writer’s block, the following is what I’ve come up with: I hope it does this album justice. The Blue Hour is an experience that I feel would best be enjoyed by turning the lights down dim, starting up your player, and lying down with your eyes closed to enjoy the whole thing. It is warm, ambient, melancholic, and very peaceful. Rhys’ vocals, combined with the gentle orchestration, are very soothing and make the listener forget the stress and cares of the world outside. The compositions take their time building up and are carefully arranged, it seems. But this is not to say they are not dynamic – there are tempo and rhythm changes throughout, as well as mood shifts. But the album as a whole has a very intimate, calming effect and is quite a beautiful experience. I would highly recommend this to Symphonic Prog fans, as well as anyone looking for an ambient experience.