If Venice Is Sinking were a drug, they’d be a very powerful sedative. The orchestral musings and delicate harmonized vocals on offer on AZAR are both dream inducing and seductively beautiful. Of the eleven tracks, seven use the mixed vocals as a meaningful instrumentation, the other four forgo vocals altogether. The beauty of tracks like -Ryan’s Song’ and -Iron Range’ is in their subtle, layered sound that at times seems like an entire orchestra playing in a well-balanced, muted blend. It’s slow and layered, but never overdone. As subtle and well formed as AZAR’s tracks are, there’s a definite hint of brooding melodrama underlying them all.
The four instrumentals – each bearing the album’s title – are sprinkled liberally through the record, each sounding like a perfect soundtrack to a David Attenborough documentary. There’s the lightly energetic -fish leap up a waterfall’ track and the powerful yet subtle -lion falls asleep after large meal’ track, each as note perfect as that last. If there’s one gripe with AZAR it’s that it’s not an album you could easily sit down and listen to in your front room. It’s more suited to a view over one of the Seven Wonders of the World, or a cocktail-fuelled sunset after a nasty but long-overdue break up.
If Venice did sink, this would be the soundtrack on the slowed down video of the water slowly rising over the central peak of the Rialto Bridge. In short, AZAR is extraordinarily beautiful, though you still might not listen to it all that often. One for the collection.