Beautifully Haunting: A Blessed Unrest by The Parlour Trick

Most of my recent musical discoveries of recent years have been a serendipitous process, with one discovery leading to the next. The most recent gem, however, came from literature, rather than music. I spotted a post on Twitter by William Gibson – one of my two favourite living authors. (Twitter: @greatdismal) Gibson was giving a plug to this Kickstarter project, crowdsourcing funding for the production and promotion of an album of “retro sci-fi/quasi-Spiritualist parlor songs.”

I had a look at the Kickstarter page and decided that this sort of musical project was most certainly up my alley, so backed it for the price of a retail CD. (For which the artist generally gets only a very small percentage.) I restrained myself from looking at/listening to any of the preview media, as I wanted the album to come fresh, as a surprise, once the project was funded. (It had already reached the funding goal at the time of my backing, so I knew that Things Were Happening.)

The Parlour Trick – Meredith Yayanos (Twitter: @theremina) and Dan Cantrell – is an awful lot of musical talent manifesting in two people. In the sound of A Blessed Unrest, acoustic instruments predominate, with electronics there, but not blatant – a very sensitive and satisfying combination. (The Theremin, played by Yayanos manifests to me almost as though it were a “real” instrument rather than an electronic one. Hearing a Theremin so well used, I am quite inspired to get back into my Building An Electronic Instrument project.))

I don’t want to insult a piece of art like A Blessed Unrest by tearing it apart and subjecting it to critical analysis (thinking of the books I was put off for life, by their treatment at school) so my review of this work will be two simple words: hauntingly beautiful. Or possibly beautifully haunting. Both reflect my perception of this most excellent project.

I really hope that we will be hearing more from The Parlour Trick – ready and willing to support their next Kickstarter, should there be one.

The digital version of The Parlour Trick can be obtained through this Bandcamp page.

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