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Bleeding Heart Narrative - All That Was Missing We Never Had In The World

All That Was Missing... is another of those surprising releases that are picked up by Cold Spring for reissue. Bleeding Heart Narrative is the solo-project of the criminally young and talented composer/musician Oliver Barrett. All That Was Missing... was originally issued in a limited run of 200 copies on Tartaruga Records, compiled from three or so years of recording from this London based project.

Much of All That Was Missing... is built around piano, strings and voice cut through with experimental textures. It's an extremely mature record that manages to attain a feeling of melancholy through its use of classical instrumentation. In spite of its frequent forays into noise and drone based material it is undoubtedly a post-rock record, though. 'As If Yearning Was All And More Than Enough' with its repetitive piano notes, deep earthy cello swabs is lead by a sombre violin score. It's followed by the piano loops of 'Black Glass' with multi-tracked sombre vocals over rustling percussion. These are somewhat reminiscent of Larsen which is no bad thing. 'Braids And A Necklace' is based around sweeping scrapes of the violin building up into hushed deep melodies courtesy of Alastair Bailey. With a flurry of repeated piano notes and mordant chords 'Blueskywards' is a gem of a track. Violins swirl and disappear, a plaintive voice flanked by appealing harmonies enters before the entire pieces slips away far, far too early.

From then on All That Was Missing... slides into more improvised and experimental areas with diminishing returns. 'A Nest' resonates in a blurred and blissful manner with shimmering drones and strings. Loose acoustic guitar playing jostles with harmonica-like drones on 'Discovering Abandoned Houses', while 'Nothing Is Out In The Yard' comprises aching strings, and tinkering piano notes alongside droney sax playing. The lack of song structure is disheartening when you know what Bleeding Heart Narrative are capable of. 'Though Your Feet Have Left Footprints', like the opening track, injects some textured noise alongside the classical instrumentation. Bleeding Heart Narrative are wonderful at drawing out a song from fragemnts of ambience they create. The hushed harmonies of 'Finding The Door' open up into the, by now, familiar repetitive piano and sweeping cello, while dreamy atmospherics coalesce with lush fuzzed guitar chords on the final track 'Lillian Gish' as the massed voices pull on the tailcoats of Akkron Family or current media darlings Fleet Foxes.

All That Was Missing... manages to touch all the bases: it's neo-classical in instrumentation, it's post-rock in structure, it carries traces of nu-folk in its voices, and it touches upon the current fascination with noise. All of this helps to make All That Was Missing... sound familiar. And while that is its immediate strength it's also at the root of its weakness. Bleeding Heart Narrative are undoubtedly talented; when they are good they are very good, but, at points, All That Was Missing... loses direction and consistency. It's unarguably an impressive debut but how much life I get out of it remains to be seen. For more information go to