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Nothing Is Still


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Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Rosie Langley, Jessie Murphy, Ellie Stanford, Stephanie Benedetti, Marianne Haynes, Paloma Deike (violin); Amy Stanford, Josephine Galton (viola); Amy Langley, Jessica Cox (cello).
  • Recording information: Konk Studios.
  • Leon Vynehall received acclaim during the mid-2010s for his joyous, backwards-glancing house tracks, but there's always been much more to him than blissful club nostalgia. 2014 breakout release Music for the Uninvited included a smattering of jazzy downtempo moments, while 2015 compilation track "Midnight on Rainbow Road" was a relaxing ambient cruise. Nothing Is Still, Vynehall's Ninja Tune debut and first "proper" album, is a big departure from his previous work. The album was conceptualized after Vynehall's grandfather passed away, and his grandmother presented him with vintage photographs of the two of them -- they had emigrated from England to the United States during the 1960s. As Vynehall talked with his grandmother and learned more about his grandparents' story, he began composing reflective music which could easily soundtrack a montage of old memories and artifacts. Owing more to contemporary composers like Gavin Bryars and Terry Riley than any electronic artists, the album is a smoothly flowing suite of lush strings, subdued saxophones, and stirring piano melodies. While more orchestral than his usual work, Vynehall hasn't abandoned the production tricks of his club-ready material. There are still plenty of swirling ambient loops and swelling synth pads, as well as some sporadic beats on cuts like the slowly shuffling "Drinking It in Again." Vynehall explores a darker, more dramatic side with the three-part "Trouble," which begins with a sequence of harpsichord arpeggios before eventually plunging into a series of deep, grimy bass growls. The rainy, downcast "Envelopes" features a slow, knocking trip-hop beat reminiscent of many of the records Ninja Tune put out in the '90s, along with a cascade of weepy strings. "English Oak" is considerably more buoyant, even if the beats sound a bit more sinister than usual for Vynehall. While not as immediately appealing as his prior releases, Nothing Is Still is clearly designed to be appreciated through multiple listens, and it's ultimately a work of considerable depth and feeling. ~ Paul Simpson
Professional Reviews
NME (Magazine) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his one is a stunner....It's an album borne out of grief, adventure and bold creativity."

Clash (Magazine) - "NOTHING IS STILL retains the sultry atmosphere and warm synths of his previous work; but departs from Chicago house nostalgia for a melting pot of jazz fusion, ambient sound collage and trip-hop."
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