“Deeply rooted in the soul of North Wales, (For Now We See) Through A Glass Dimly echoes and reverberates in and around the nestled villages, working its way through the tiny, crooked streams and the gently stirring brooks of shallow water. Past the twisted knots of the branches, so like a tangling of auburn hair, the music gently progresses into the woods. Musically vibrant, muscularly strong and fit, the music has a fiery power in its stirring string sections, which dynamically rise and then forge ahead like a thousand soldiers consumed in battle, as fierce as the flames of a dragon as its forks streak across the setting sun, matching up with the orb’s blood-orange colour, emerging from a time out of mind.
The vocals of Joanna Swan (Ilya) are softer, slowly riffling through the cottage’s windows on a low spring breeze. A tiny brook hides the piano’s melody, but then the strings suddenly burst into life, shining like the sun as it slowly (but inevitably) rises over the hills, unhurriedly beginning a new day. The piano gives way to the swelling strings, and they eventually tower over everything, fortifying the sound with their brass-plated armour, increasing its density. The landscape of North Wales doesn’t just seep through the music – it is the music.
It always has been…
Imbued in the music is the country’s spirit, her legends and her musings. Like a rock stuck in the side of a mountain, her spirit is wedged there. The grass that spreads itself over the body of the land darkens to a deeper green after a spattering of rain (that’s an intrinsic part of life in the UK, too), and the music of Antonymes (Ian M. Hazeldine) has a similar, vibrant purity in its colouring. The crests of the melodies rise like ancient hills, this long walk in the countryside taking the listener past a beauty that fills the eyes and the ears. There are no shortcuts.
It has a rhythm of breathing, on the one hand living in the present moment, and on the other hand telling stories of centuries past.
(For Now We See) Through A Glass Dimly is a nascent flower emerging into its perfect bloom, its intense timbres as rich in colour as the surrounding woodland, tonally overflowing like a running river after the rain has fallen; constantly renewing season after season, never ageing. The strings evoke the British weather and its intense, largely unpredictable periods, the brooding, bruised and leaden clouds giving way to cold spells of rain. Its minimal heart conjures a pure, enchanting kind of classical ambient music, a sound as natural as the landscape that shapes and shelters it, the melodies flowing over the grass, the leaves and the forget-me-nots. The music should just be there; its place in the world doesn’t need to be questioned.
For a brief time, the piano is left on its own. The strings, descendants of royal blood, fall away, leaving only the piano to fill the space with its plaintive notes. At times sorrowful, the notes start to swirl lazily, supported by a late breeze that’s fatigued by the time evening comes. The strings wear a golden halo, a metallic crown engraved with secret symbols. The seasons shift with the sweeping, slightly grimy fog of the coda, ‘Through A Glass Dimly’. The breeze has a cold bite, and the burning leaves begin to smoulder. They go through their beautiful decline, transforming into bursts of orange and red that reflect the sun’s setting and its inevitable renewal. Autumnal in its feel it may be, but the countryside never really changes. And the music remains crisp, sparkling with an emerald’s clarity, imbued with a shade of deep green that rivals the countryside.”