Neoclassical and ambient composer Richard Laurence possesses a colourful background in post-rock and electronic studio projects, including the cinematic Gifts From Crows.

The second Gifts From Crows album, Stories in Slow Light, is a collaboration where Laurence takes inspiration from photographer Helena Whitten; the project consists of twelve compositions, all inspired by and composed around themes depicted in Whitten’s motion-blur photographs. The scene is Poltimore House in Devon, which depicts a solitary figure in front of an oval frame where a mirror used to be.

“The protagonist appears to be channeling these spirits out of the ancient walls of the house, at times contorted by the energy flowing through her and then flowing with serenity,’ says Laurence. “The track itself is in constant flux and does not conform to any traditional structure of either arrangement or instrumentation. Beginning with ghost-like voices and improvised cello articulations, the piano leads the strings in a mesmerising dance that seems to change key every few bars. The strings shift from tight pizzicato motifs to sweeping legato passages building to a crescendo of ancient harmonies fought out between the cello, viola and violin performers. In the closing bars, a kind of peace is finally restored.”

The track evokes the memory of our ancestors and imagines all the living souls who have passed in front of the now long absent mirror. The protagonist appears to be channeling these spirits out of the ancient walls of the house, at times contorted by the energy flowing through her, and then relaxing in serenity. The music composed by Laurence is melancholic and bittersweet, evoking long-lost memories and the ever-flowing passage of time.

The video, directed by Corey Rid, features choreographer and dancer Kristine Berget. This version, a dreamlike sequel, differs from their February release – bringing this concept into a Merchant Ivory-style multiverse. This version is contemplative, melancholy, and mesmerizing.

Watch below:

Gifts From Crows has some music for purchase through Bandcamp, including the debut album, Holding a Thought Forever on CD and sessions with the Northern Film Orchestra as digital downloads. Holding a Thought Forever, released February 2021, is a hauntingly beautiful collection of piano instrumentals augmented with samples, electronics, and string arrangements.

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