Svitlana Nianio & Tom James Scott - Eye of the Sea [vinyl]

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Premiera: 04.07.2023

Recorded in correspondence throughout a calamitous and uncertain 2020, “Eye of the Sea" is a collaborative record made by Tom James Scott of the United Kingdom and Svitlana Nianio of Ukraine. Active since the late 1980s, Nianio has released a treasure trove of diverse and beguiling music under her own name, as a member of the legendary Ukrainian experimental unit Cukor Bila Smerť, and in collaboration with the late musician and instrument maker Oleksandr Yurchenko. For his part, Scott has steadily published solo recordings since the mid aughts on labels such as Bo’Weavil, Students of Decay, and Where to Now?, and worked often in collaboration with kindred spirits like Andrew Chalk and Timo Van Lujik. 

“Eye of the Sea” began as a series of intimate, muted piano sketches put to tape by Scott, which Nianio embellished and re-contextualized with voice and instrumentation before returning them to Scott for further overdubbing, editing, and mixing. Listening to these recordings, I’m struck most by their patience, frailty, and beauty. Soft piano lines unspool alongside Nianio’s weightless voice on tracks such as “Slowly Turns the Spring,” which achieves a richly devotional air, and “Lotus,” a piece that all but halts the passage of time as it slowly blooms into expression. But despite their elusive, gauzy palette, there is a startling directness to these recordings that feels unique in the oeuvres of both musicians. Much like Nianio’s wonderful “Lisova Kolekciya,” (reissued by Scott on Skire in 2017) there is the sense that this music, particularly the vocal arrangements, is firmly rooted in some hermetic, primordial tradition. Ultimately, “Eye of the Sea” is a work of romantic, phantasmagoric beauty shot through with morning light; one which draws deeply on 20th century classical, chamber and liturgical musics, and ambient minimalism to arrive at a distinctive voice of its own. - Alex Cobb (Students of Decay/Soda Gong)

SVITLANA NIANIO: voices, sound effects, keyboards.
TOM JAMES SCOTT: keyboards.
TIMO VAN LUIJK: bowed string on 'eye of the sea'.

Engineered by Sergii Khotiachuk and Tom James Scott. Mixed by Tom James Scott. Mastered by Noel Summerville.
Design by Chris Bigg. Photography by Kieran McPeake.