Gonçalo Pereira [ born 1984. Lisbon, Portugal ] is a multi-instrument player, post-rock, ambient electronica musician and producer. Pereira first started as the frontman of the post-rock band How Comes The Constellations Shine before establishing himself as a solo artist under the moniker of Diamond Gloss. His sound and melodies incorporate elements of modern classical, electronics, idm, ambient, and post-rock music with live instrumentation.
Pianos, micro-beats, effects-treated guitars, music-boxes, lo-fi strings arrangements and other acoustic instruments such as glockenspiels are the vehicles that shape this carefully produced and layered, non-linear quest. His influences travels among modern composers such as [ Arvo Pärt ] ~ [ Henryk Górecki ] the ambient experiments of [ Brian Eno ] or his peers [ Autechre ] ~ [ Hammock ] ~ [ Sigur Rós ] ~ [ Helios ] and [ Múm ].
[ Bears ] Diamond Gloss’s debut album “Bears” is a fresh take on the usual dark, droning styles of post-rock and ambient IDM. The record showcases a more lighthearted take on the styles and is able to find a unique identity in two genres that are quickly becoming harder to find a voice in. Diamond Gloss is the alias of Portuguese post-rock musician Gonçalo Pereira (not to be confused with the guitar virtuoso of the same name) who established himself as a solo musician after fronting the band How Comes The Constellations Shine. His solo work features many of the set piece calls of a post-rock/ambient IDM album with its slow, passionate piano work, droning background sweeps and glitchy electronics, making for an album that easily showcases its influence from acts like Helios, Secede, Sigur Rós and Múm.
From that basic starting point however Diamond Gloss adds these very happy and high pitched instruments like music boxes and glockenspiels. The inclusion and use of these instruments take the usually serious emotional tone of post-rock and inverts it into an almost innocent and nostalgic, emotional style. It’s hard to describe through words alone how this transition is accomplished but this sound is strong and striking when experienced. Songs like “Walnut and Trees Tables” invoke the thought of taking a nap in a kindergarten music room as an autumn evening breeze chills the air outside; it’s peaceful, serene, and calming.
While the majority of the album maintains its almost gleeful sound, Pereira is not afraid to show his serious side. “Fawns,” the album’s closing track takes a different turn than the rest of the album, it drops the joyous tones of earlier tracks and creates a song that brings the album’s theme of accepting that we all grow up full circle. For as much praise I have given so far for its emotional sound work, “Bears” isn’t for everyone. With no vocals, a non-linear songwriting style and half of the tracks reaching over 10 minutes in length people who do not actively listen to this style of music may be deterred from it.
It has other problems as well; tracks like “I am Black and Blue All Over” and “Step Piece” are too short to craft a song that can compete with the other tracks off the album. Regardless of what type of music fan a person is, when “Bears” stands on its own it is a beautifully crafted escape through a trail that post-rock and ambient IDM do not normally travel down. With its innocent and emotional pull, it is an easy recommendation, even if this may not be your musical cup of tea.
Ali Murray is an ethereal folk songwriter/musician from the cold isle of Lewis in the north of Scotland. He writes dark atmospheric folk music with lush sweeping dreamy soundscapes and Celtic-twinged instrumentation. His new album LAND OF EVERGONE strikes a balance that is intimate and soaring, peaceful and haunting, sad and quietly joyful, delicately reverberating with Murray's dreamy voice and guitar playing.
Orellana is a neo-classical/post-rock collective hailing from Bristol, UK. Their new album “52”, released in late December, brought in the new year with it’s explosive and intricate sound. The project’s music transcends genre definitions in order to focus on a broad, diverse concept that is more emotional than tangible. This particular release is full of rich and diverse arrangements, but it is also a powerful exercise in minimalism, one that showcases the strength of very few notes placed in the right spots. The simplicity of the arrangement is actually one of the strongest aspects of this entire release: there’s a palpable stillness created by the long, drone notes in the background, which almost makes you feel like the world is happening in slow motion. When the chords and notes change, it feels quite monumental due to the beautiful contrast between the stillness of the background textures and the expressive sound of the guitar-based melodies.