The Moving Dawn Orchestra: Dials
Fluid Audio

Though it's a modest thirty-two minutes in duration, Dials is nevertheless a superb addition to the ‘classical electronic' genre. The Moving Dawn Orchestra, the latest project from Brighton-based producer Guy Andrews (aka the man behind the ambient electroacoustic outfit iambic), presents four graceful electroacoustic soundscapes on the EP, with each representative of a season. Naturally, the concept cues the listener to associate each piece with a particular mood—the joy of summer versus the wistfulness of fall, for instance—but the tracks transcend such one-dimensional readings through the richness of their contents.

A melancholy thing of beauty, “Spring: Hymn / Hymn” showcases Andrews' talent for merging acoustic and electronic materials into a dramatic, unified whole. It's a lovely set-piece where reverberant piano, choral voices, glockenspiel, violins, and cellos sustain an elegiac mood for eight engrossing minutes. Andrews personalizes “Summer: Keep Still” even more by adding his hushed voice to the song's sunkissed blend of acoustic guitar picking and strings. “Autumn: Between Hands” is melancholy, yes, but also stately in the ponderous mood produced by its acoustic piano and chiming keyboard motifs. The EP's most affecting piece is the sombre “Winter: Silhouette,” a pensive setting for piano, ambient atmosphere, cello, and electronics that becomes a powerful closing statement (its darkening aura enhanced by the portentous sound of Andrews' whisper at track's end). All four pieces are expertly executed and while The Moving Dawn Orchestra's sound is full it's not excessively so, as Andrews takes great care to strike the perfect balance in the settings' arrangements.

April 2010