Simon Wickham-Smith – Love & Lamentation

Simon Wickham-Smith

CD – Pogus
With a degree in English literature at King’s College in London, Simon Wickham-Smith is certainly not concocting. In his album’s title he places a fairly explicit reference to the “lamentation” genre, a literary and musical style in vogue between the fourteenth and the sixteenth century, mainly in Europe, which in turn borrowed from Greek tragedy and famous antecedents in the Bible. In the form – in fact – of a melting prayer, “Sandokai (The Harmony Of Difference And Equality)” is based on a tape given to the author by a nun, at a zen devotional ceremony. The texts, written and recited by the American poet Rachel Becker, are subject to minimal digital manipulation.”The Kindness Of Kin-Beforehand” brings us ethereal and dark atmospheres, using multiple languages and interpretations. We hear voices of ghosts in unison that appear lost in a vacuum yet remain vibrant as micro-tales. Echoes and minimally dissonant electronic music, harmonious mantra and orientalizing influences, which interlace with traditional Scottish psalms in the title track, in a strange mixture of tastes, textures and repetitions. A fascinating work, restless, rich in suggestions and melancholic.