Active Child : You Are All I See
Classically-trained harpists rarely infiltrate the world of alternative, indie or popular music, but inimitable artists such as Joanna Newsom and Active Child are compelling exceptions. Of course, Newsom has the upper hand in terms of lyrical sustenance and virtuosity, but Active Child possesses, undeniably, the superior voice. Resplendent in its majestic orchestrations, electronic flourishes and ghostly ambience, the sonic territory inhabited by Active Child is as celestial as it is foreboding, and at times transcendent.
The genius behind Active Child is Los Angeles-based harpist/guitarist/keyboardist/former choirboy Patrick James Grossi, whose angelic tenor vocals glide and soar mesmerically. Intertwining synth-pop, post-dubstep, hip-hop, R&B, soul, gospel, classical and ambient music, Grossi creates heavily evocative soundscapes, moods and experiences - morphing his classical and modern influences into a trippy, progressive sonic realm.
In the title track of Active Child's debut album, You Are All I See, Grossi's stunning falsetto emerges from a hallucinatory spiral of rippling harp melodies, eerie electronic spells, organs and horns; his lyrics invoking the endearing naivety and staunch promises of early love. Hanging On is a breathless, heart-rending ballad of relational confusion and torment that unfurls into catharsis by way of its enveloping, transcendental allure. Despite drifting occasionally into sentimental indulgences and glossy synths, You Are All I See is a truly captivating record that pines for the haunting, bizarre and often divine avenues.
Best Track: Shield & Sword
If You Like These, You'll Like This: James Blake JAMES BLAKE, The Crying Light ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS.
In A Word: Hypnotising