Above All Else

(2018 – Invictus Music Ltd – UK)

The front cover art by Paul Dews (How Far To Hitchin) visually describes this dynamic ethereal debut. A year and a half in the making, Nova Cascade present the world with their full length ‘Above All Else’, which has soft cinematic atmospheric music, that has strong elements of Sigur Ros, the more gentle post rock, and some of what Tim Bowness (No-Man, solo, and many collaborations) produces on his floating dream state songs. You may also catch retrospective tinges of the more happy Private Music label artists (started by Peter Baumann of Tangerine Dream) from the grand electronic 1980's.

Somewhat spacey and ripe with a heavenly bodies instrumentation, the album is both soothing and calming to the mind. Never boring or background music, the progression of the order of songs stands as a testament to the band’s capabilities and smarts at composition and arrangements. By track 4 (‘We Never Spoke’), a more aggressive guitar comes in to give the listener notice that this release is not vanilla or stagnant with style. Track 5 (‘Hurtled’) is truly beautiful with Dave Hilborne on vocals, synths and programming (Dave sings on 4 of the 12 cuts and writes the lyrics, except for a collaboration with Charlie Bramald on ‘Hurtled’). The credits of the full band are Dave Hilborne : synthesizers,lead vocals/ Dave Fick : bass/ Alessio Proietti : guitars,backing vocals/ Heather Leslie [from Flintlock ] : violin/ Charlie Bramald : flute/ and David Anania [from Blue Man Group] : drums (on ‘Epiphany’). They make full use of the symphonic keys, added flute and violin. ‘Wilted’ (track 12) will melt your heart with achingly gorgeous music and whisper soft vocals.

The entire recording has both an aeronautical and romantic feel. While pleasant is too weak of a word,  perhaps totally satisfying would be the best result one gets from listening. The writers use an effective art of mixing a delicate fabric into their compositions, along with creating sumptuous instrumentation. This is a lofty debut and Nova Cascade will have a line of fans eagerly awaiting their next release. Great for late night, winding down , chilling, or just peaceful listening.  This is journey music full of interesting ideas to hold your attention, but where one can drift and glide. Extra nice.

Reviewed by Lee Henderson 12 – 1 – 2018

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