Tuesday, September 6, 2011

REVIEW: Nest - Body Pilot [Serein]

Serein's Seasons project continues - a four piece set of limited edition 10" records released periodically throughout the year. The penultimate installment sees a four track highly anticipated EP called 'Body Pilot' from Nest; their first excursion since the magnificent Retold album out on the same label last year.

Given the short duration of the format, their return is a brief affair - just a fleeting twenty minutes of beautiful sound inspired by themes of air travel. If you were lucky enough to have picked up a copy of Retold (which sold out very quickly at source), or you are one of the 25,000+ people that downloaded the first part of the album during Serein's netlabel days, your expectations will rightly be high and I will do little to encourage you to purchase 'Body Pilot'.

For those unfamiliar with Nest and in need of a little background information, they consist of Serein label owner Huw Roberts, based in Wales and Norwegian Otto Totland, who is one half of Deaf Center. The duo are both excellent pianists for starters and together they weave the sound of ivory keys with a collection of acoustic instruments and sound sources to create incredible pieces of modern classical tinged music. Although the music hints lightly at a traditionally classical background through the piano and orchestrated walls of sound, their collaboration yields a unique result that goes some way to establish the duo as a cut above many. Perhaps if the stormy but highly melodic debut 'Retold' were to serve as the ideal introduction to their sound, 'Body Pilot' would indeed be an artistic exploration that delves much deeper and allows the melody to draw out for longer. Seemingly, at least. What is interesting about 'Body Pilot' is that Nest are presented with a time restriction, by the nature of the 10" vinyl format yet they decide to take this time and draw it out to the maximum, instead of rushing through a collection of short melodic extensions of Retold. Through the four movements, time stands on end and this is where the loose concept of flight comes into play so poignantly for the listener. It gives a sense of free-falling through the sky at speed, but at a gently drifting, semi-conscious pace thanks to the sheer marvel and wonder of it. It is literally happening so quickly, yet it seems to move so slowly. If we look down from the sky that is 'Body Pilot' we can almost see 'Retold', an album that felt very much 'of land'. We have an aerial perspective of it now.

'Body Pilot' shows great ambition and marks a welcome artistic development for Nest, whilst still retaining the depth and character that they have become so well acclaimed for. It comes with my highest recommendation and is not to be missed by anyone. For new listeners, I'd recommend hunting down a copy of Retold too, if you can, or at least purchasing a digital copy

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