Starlight Assembly is the new duo of Dominic Appleton of Breathless and This Mortal Coil and Italian composer Matteo Uggeri. It’s an unexpected combination, but their debut album, Starlight and Still Air, shows the symbiotic nature of their approach and ideas. Rich compositions dotted with layered character and countless textures create a future where the last fires of hope burn bright in secret.
First single, “There Is No Crisis To Come,” grinds through cavernous landscapes with purpose. Appleton’s multi-layered vocals swirling hypnotically, a chorus of ghosts insisting the place they haunt isn’t anywhere anyone wants to be. Progressive rhythms ground everything with a stolid determination while Uggeri’s production is angular, jutting off in surprising directions, weaving Appleton’s voice throughout like a golden thread between sonic stalactites. “There Is No Crisis To Come” thrives in catharsis, Appleton asking early on, “Is it a life is worth living?” Throughout Starlight and Still Air, there are no easy answers, but this music holds the weight of it all and for us, it’s time to get up and face the fire.
“Bloodlines,” the penultimate song on Starlight and Still Air, is an honest lament. In the original, Uggeri’s opulent production is a dream, rising like a luxury spaceship through golden skies to escape a bleak reality. Appleton’s simple vocal melody is a ghost, only heard at the end but echoing throughout the song. “It’s in my blood, it’s in my bones. Painting history, bloodlines flow,” he sings over skittered percussion and open air.
Pan American’s remix finds the softest part at the center of “Bloodlines” and brings it gently to the surface. There’s a minimalist almost-desolation to the remix that is soul-destroying in the best way. Carving off the layers and sinking the walls we surround ourselves with into the sea is the only way to take a step forward. Pan American has such an unbelievable ability to strip moments down to their barest form and turn them into these little, heartfelt sonic vignettes that just *are.*
Starlight and Still Air will be released by Beacon Sound on October 22nd and can be pre-ordered HERE.
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