Today sees the release of Kim Janssen’s album Ancient Crime from Snowstar Records over in the Netherlands. It is a concept album and that concept might be stunningly gorgeous music…no really. I have been looking forward to this album for a few months now and after more than a few listens it has become one to beat for best album of the year so far.
So when I mentioned my lame “concept album” reference above it is because it is in fact described as one in all honesty. The album as outlined by artist and label as:
It is a album inspired by his years on boarding school in Asia. ‘Ancient Crime’ is a concept album that takes place in an old idyllic school, in a remote village in north-west England during the winter. A mixture of history, myth, memories, old and new verses and arrangements.
This is not lost on you when listening as it is extremely delicate, formal and hits a nice balance of instrumental band tracks with more traditional (yet just as grand) vocal tracks. If I am not mistaken the album is 10 tracks and 5 are essentially instrumentals – this may immediately make many pause but the strong points in this album are so strong that they literally pull the entire album together. I normally am not a huge fan of these interludes/ambient moments on albums and Ancient Crime has its fair share, but with tracks like ‘Drift’, ‘Tors’, ‘Casket’ and ‘Holmes’ Bonfire 1966′ being so stunning you just want more from this artist/album that the interludes fill that void left by what could effectively be an EP release if he so wanted.
The songs Drift and Tors have made appearances on Slowcoustic already and they lead the pack on the album as the truly top notch tracks. Drift is currently my favourite track of 2012 so far…by a long shot. Take a listen to it below:
And Janssen has recently performed it live, so let’s take a look at it as well!
There is a 10 second ad prior to the performance…just hold on!
The song Drift is a good measure of the sound and overall feel of the Ancient Crime album – it is a floating pensive moment put to a beautiful backdrop of acoustics, instruments, choirs and Janssen’s feather soft vocals. It might be Janssen’s cadence and breathy delivery that makes you feel comfortable and at home in these songs…it just so happens he has crafted a beautiful pallet of music to coincide with. Take a listen to ‘Tors’ below to get the full effect of the instrumentation of which I speak.
Again, the album from this co-member of the band The Black Atlantic (yes, that Kim Janssen!) is truly a “best new music” and comes highly recommended.