Folk duo Lowland Hum consists of travelling couple, Lauren and Daniel Goans. Their fourth full-length album Glyphonic transports listeners to what feels like a beautiful parallel universe. The fragility of being full-time musicians can be hard, but the couple converted the top floor of their apartment to be their own studio, and this is where they recorded this masterpiece. Bits and bobs of noise pollution may get through wherever you may be, but the couple take breaks when this happens and continue when it’s safe to do so.
A strong connection enlightens the mood as we hear the duo sing the same note to begin with on ‘Will You Be’. Their textures blend together so perfectly and it seems that the album holds onto this motif throughout. ‘A Drive through the Countryside’ identifies crisp vocals that are backed up with a beautiful finger plucking guitar melody. Just over halfway through the track, the chord progression goes slightly darker but still captures the sweet simplicity of the duo right until the short end.
An exploration number that mirrors vanity and femininity, we hear Lauren reminisce in ‘Salzburg Summer’. It has a wide ambient folk soundscape but the acoustic guitar that sits underneath the mix holds onto classical music like there’s no tomorrow. ‘Equator Line’ takes us down a blues inspired avenue that’s short but ever so sweet. We hear the vocals sing the same melody as an instrument in the string family. Hearing the syncopation of the piano that hides behind the mix really makes the song feel like it’s travelling to somewhere important. It’s the kind of track that would fit perfectly on the Green Book soundtrack.
‘I Like You That Way’ stands up straight with it’s shoulders down but head weeping low. It features a slightly loneliness to it that feels slightly more together when the harmonies come in. The duo described the album as finding stillness between all the chaos and this song is that definition down to a tee. Sometimes, you just have to sit back and rest for a little while, just like the instrumentation on this song. ‘Raise the Ring’ tells the story of time and how as humans we feel like things are only temporary. We have the power to control our own lives and that’s exactly what the duo are explaining. Another track on reminiscing, but this time is feels slightly more dark and how we long for the ‘good old days’.
‘Slow’ takes a huge inspiration from the bizarre world of David Bowie. Built around harmonies and an angelic chord progression, you can see the bones of this track. It’s raw and an awakening for many people out there to look at what they have right in front of them. It may sound sad, but it’s quite motivation in the way that it’ll make you feel more grateful for what’s right there. The next track is prominently Daniel’s fragile but comforting vocals. ‘With Sam’ is storytelling at it’s finest. Lingering on from the last track’s subject, it’s about appreciation of the little, simpler things in the song’s finest of forms.
Sometimes you need to take a step back and look. ‘Waite’ feels like the type of song you’d find on a meditation playlist to spend some quality time with yourself. It’s heavenly and consists of a rich purity that I won’t get tired of hearing. ‘Eye in the Sky’ plays a lush lullaby over the atmosphere. Reflecting on memories and the past, the sci-fi number sees the duo capture a beautiful contrast of both voices.
There’s always an end and unfortunately, I don’t want this album to end. Walking into these songs completely blinded as I’ve never heard Lowland Hum’s music has been completely breathtaking. It’s like I’ve walked completely into the darkness, no pun intended for this track. ‘In Darkness’ lays under minimalism and is a beautiful send off to an even more gorgeous album.