Album Review
The Balustrade Ensemble - Capsules Album Cover

The Balustrade Ensemble - Capsules

Reviewed by
The Balustrade Ensemble - Capsules
Record Label: Dynamophone Records
Release Date: November 13, 2007
The Balustrade Ensemble are an ambient-pop group whose album Capsules may remind you of the tunes that are played inside keepsake music chests and snow globes. The vintage tint of the keyboards played by Scott Solter sound like the leafy flaps of a harpsichord played in Mozart's time, and the luminous glide of the guitar chords made by Grant Miller produce lush dreamscapes that move with a liquidity fluorescence. It seems as if these songs were synchronized to the movements of a school of mermaids. The songs are draped in shags of pedal steel, cello, and lacy piano keys with the celestial pitch of singer Wendy Allen chiming in and melding into the melodic fabric so there really aren't lyrics just vocal sounds. This is an album that transcends genres similarly to Enigma and Andrei Lanes. The music travels to a destination that the listener knows will involve magical happenings and enter into a desirable world.

Unlike Enigma, the music feels warm blooded like it was made by humans for human's pleasure. "Glorianders" opens the curtains to an Atlantis-like underworld of free flowing motions and gorgeous paraffin soundscapes. "The Drowning Calm" is soothing and delicate like the music from a child’s toy chest. The angelic ambience feels like a toddler's playground filled with innocent beauty. The aquatic motions of "Tangle In Delirium" is impaled by oriental-tinged symphonies, which create circular motions of enchanting fields and exotic tones that enter into a private world. The textures feel ancient and the wavelengths seem ethereal. The shimmery acoustics of cellist Rich Vaughan and pianist Liam Singer are strategically clipped by pedal steel player Ryan Rosenberg and keyboardist Matt Henry Cunitz whose shearing creates sonic parfaits of Icelandic castles with a jejune twinkle.

The folk hues and ambient-pop dews of "Incamadine" are marinated in harp-like tones, and the murky daze of "Synnove Skeie" produces an eerie wilderness. The orchestral vistas of "Fall Away Into Darkness" are worthy of Enya with a suspension of ambient cello loops and scenic guitar passages. The iridescent keyboard sails of "The Museums of Sleep" are friendly and open, while the techno-visions illuminating "A Long Fetch Over" sound like they contain some mystical secrecy. The sonic bearings of "Crushed Pears" are dreamy and the gentle ambling guitar chords of "Szol A Zene" are distilled in refracting angles and eclectic sound effects that resonate like crushed glass.

The music continually travels like it is taking the listener to some place special in mind. The album moves through magically glowing passages that induce pleasure. It’s interesting that the album is called Capsules because each song encapsulates the listener in a fantasy-like compartment that aurally projects visually pleasing lands. With Capsules, you don't need to take a plane to enchanting lands because The Balustrade Ensemble’s music does that for you. By the conclusion of the album, you will have felt like you have taken a trip to a foreign land, maybe even from another time, and have come back feeling refreshed and having sensations awakened that you never even knew that you had.

Recommended if You LikeEnigma, Enya, Andrei Lanes, Phoenix

This review is a user submitted review from Susan Frances. You can see all of Susan Frances's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 2 of 2
08:46 PM on 06/08/08
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I absolutely love this album.

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