A Noend of Mine – Sanctuaires

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label URL: https://www.hypnoticdirgerecords.com/
Released: 2021
Buy Album [URL]: https://www.hypnoticdirgerecords.com/bands.php
Band Website: https://anoendofmine.bandcamp.com/

Band Line-up:

Les Vynogradov – All instruments

Tracklisting:

01. Des chemins crépusculaires I (6:30)
02. Des chemins crépusculaires II (6:49)
03. Des chemins crépusculaires III (5:17)
04. Lento Tenebroso (3:08)
05. Au fond de cette nuit, une lueur I (5:12)
06. Au fond de cette nuit, une lueur II (5:07)
07. Au fond de cette nuit, une lueur III (3:12)
08. Melas (1:12)
09. Vers l’immensité de l’aurore éternelle (7:03)

Review:

Sanctuaires is the second album by A Noend of Mine, a project by Les Vynogradov (Vin de Mia Trix, Kauan). Sanctuaires marks a departure from the mellow proggy vignettes found on ANoM’s debut, The Serenity’s Eve, in favor of a slower, darker, more cinematic approach. Drawing inspiration from sources as varied as Bark Psychosis, Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Dead Can Dance, and Olivier Messiaen, the album offers an unexpected and often beautiful mix of post-prog, funeral jazz, and sacred music.

Thematically, Sanctuaires is a concept album exploring one’s own intimate sanctuaries. Talking about the album, Les Vynogradov has this to say:

“Our sanctuaries are the places to which we tend to return. In their spatial dimension, they are those privileged sites that have a special significance for us: home; park, garden, or a grove; shrine, or a place of worship; a particular spot where an important event happened that is now inscribed in our personal sacred topography. On a temporal plane, I call sanctuaries our privileged hours of the day, those fractions of the day or night when we feel most overwhelmed by emotions or most fecund creatively. On the album, I tried to recreate some of my own sanctuaries, giving them a sonic form that could convey their inherent evanescence.”

Vynogradov certainly achieves this, as listening through this album feels like being wrapped in a nice oversized blanket in a darkened room. The whole record feels more like a ‘mood piece’ than a conventional album, with heavy synth sections laying down a lush soundscape where Vynogradov can work his blackened and beautiful magic.

‘Des chemins crépusculaires’ is a mammoth near-20 minute epic opening piece split over 3 tracks, and brings to mind echoes of Pink Floyd’s ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’. It’s a multilayered musical experience that ebbs and flows over its lengthy runtime between gorgeous passages of synth and dark vocals with washes of guitar drenched in reverb and understated yet pristine drumming towards the second half.

It almost seems unfair to review each track individually, as it’s also not an album you’d listen to in sections at a time… It cries out to be devoured in one sitting in a darkened room with the best pair of headphones you have. It’s an intentionally slower, darker, and more cinematic album than The Serenity’s Eve, and this works very much in its favour.

‘Au fond de cette nuit, une lueur’ (which loosely translates to ‘Deep In This Night, A Glow’) is another lengthy piece, again split into 3 parts, this time just over 13 minutes. It’s dark, brooding, haunting, and quite beautiful. A sublime choral section is the main focus of the first part and it’s heartbreakingly gorgeous, from composition to execution. It’s clear a lot of time and effort went into arranging that alone.

Sanctuaries is a bold step forward for A Noend of Mine while slightly rearranging their core sound, and it deserves to be listened to in one sitting. Anything less would be doing it an injustice. I’m not sure how many repeated listens it will garner from me but I’m impressed by what has been achieved here.

Review by Jack Merry
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