The Long Lost – The Long Lost

The Long Lost - The Long Lost

The Long Lost - The Long Lost

Alfred and Laura Darlington have been producing music together in various forms for around fifteen years now, whether as the electronic based Daedelus and Flying Lotus projects, or as the lo-fi acoustic Sa-Ra, or indeed as The Long Lost. This fourteen track album isn’t their first release under this name, and as fifteen years is quite a measure of time in any field of creativity it’s apparent that the Darlingtons and their associates feel they’ve plenty worth sharing with the listening public.  If this was mathematics, the equation might read something like :  Experience + Enthusiasm X Actual Talent -Too Much Electronica = A Highly Original And Captivating Piece Of Work … right or wrong?

First track “The Art Of Kissing” establishes the mood of the album within its opening verse. Plucked acoustic guitar, jazzy brush drums and Laura’s delicate yet forceful vocal. Listen closely and there are some gently modulated keyboards in the background  and what actually sounds like a double bass, although it’s probably an electroacoustic four string.  Second track “Amiss” takes us further down the route marked “Loungecore”, but keep listening and it’s obvious that The Long Lost are more comfortable in the slightly less frenetic folk stylings of  “Substance”, and the playing styles merge as the album progresses, with some surprisingly convoluted results. Laura’s voice is shown to quite some effect when double-tracked, as on songs such as “Overmuch”, while the instrumentation is frankly mesmeric. Those fifteen years haven’t been wasted.

Over the rest of the album there are numerous moments to savour. The cello and flute that introduce “Siren Song”, the equally surprising and effective xylophone and oboe of “Awash”. Then there’s the quirky storytelling style of “Colors” which has the Darlington’s drawing a richness of imagery from what are relatively simplistic lyrics. These are very skilled performers and they aren’t bashful about playing the odd trick or two on their audience, which is the real strength of this release. The instrumentation is never overbearing and continually inventive, which while it suggests that this project has been several years in the mixing stage, is also what  kept my listening attention throughout.  Ideas that might seem twee or mildly strange are given a musical impetus that doesn’t slacken, and I unreservedly pronounce The Long Lost the first great lo-fi orchestral psychedelic artcore jazz album of 2009. That I’ve heard yet anyway.