Reviewed by Xavier Farrow-Francis

Silva Spiral: Compendium Of Colours

Reviewed by Xavier Farrow-Francis

Silva Spiral: Compendium Of Colours

Based in Te Whanganui-a-TaraShohana Saeed Swortzel, aka Silva Spiral, is creating dreamy, visionary art pop that challenges ideas on electronics and song structures.

Having had no former musical training her debut album ‘Compendium Of Colours’ was made entirely on her own in GarageBand. Enjoyably abstract and experimental, the lo-fi nature of the record makes for a wonderfully charming and alluring listen.

The album art reflects the wispy soundscape of the record perfectly, as it depicts Silva Spiral striding rocks by the ocean on a steel blue day, channelling her inner Kate Bush or Spelling on the cover. Silva Spiral’s music also harkens back to Grimes’ early releases, that of ‘Halfaxa’ or ‘Visions’ – two albums also created in GarageBand.

The experimentations with melody and dissonance, as well as guttural, earthy beats throughout ‘Compendium Of Colours’ recall a similar ethereal, enigmatic sensibility. Silva Spiral is more individual in her musical identity though, it never feels like she’s wearing her influences on her sleeve. She is a singular-sounding artist with a strong, clearly heard vision.

Despite the album’s inherently hypnagogic and dark-atmospheric nature, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Opener The Infinite Sadness sets the tone well, which lead single Charm The Wind then builds upon with grand synth textures that evoke images of a towering labyrinthian kingdom in a surreal anime film. The track uses space very well to make the listener feel inquisitive, but ever so slightly daunted.

Other highlights include Silver In The Light Of The Huge Moon, which starts off with a delicate and twinkling synth, only to sweep you with a ginormous wave of bass synth, and Underpainting Of An Angel, which calls back to the darling soundtrack to ‘Coraline’ with its plucky harp. Silva Spiral’s vocals are enchantingly gorgeous on the track too, it’s a truly lovely song.

Dark Dramatic Splendour and Wisteria Delirium use unconventional rhythm bases such as soft breaths or knocking, illustrating Silva Spiral’s quest for oddity and uniqueness. The title track is a fitting closer sonically, with punchy drums and grounded synths that bring the listener back down to earth after floating around different dreamscapes for the previous half hour.

Overall, Silva Spiral’s album debut is captivating and promising. It showcases an artist with wondrous intent.