Sylvan, Nad - Spiritus Mundi,
These days, Nad Sylvan is most recognised as the frontman for Steve Hackett, a position he has been in for the last 10 years, but his musical career both with bands and solo stretches all the way back to the late Seventies. After he completed his recent trilogy of albums, he was wondering about what direction he should move in next and started thinking about Andrew Laitres who had approached him previously about working on a song called “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” which ended up as a bonus track on one of Nad’s albums. Nad listened to some of Andrew’s demo tracks, and they decided to work on them together to create a proper album.
Nad provides lead and backing vocals, keyboards, orchestration, electric and acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and programming while Andrew contributes lead and backing vocals, acoustic nylon, steel and 12 string guitars, and additional keyboards. Of course, Nad used his contacts to fill out the sound, so Tony Levin provides bass on four tracks, while Jonas Reingold is also present on bass for one. For drums, Sylvan targeted The Flower Kings drummer Mirkko DeMaio while Steve Hackett makes an appearance on one track titled “To a Child Dancing in the Wind.” Lyrically the album is based on the poetry of William Butler Yeats, who is often referred to as one of the finest poets of all time (and a royal pain in the neck to anyone studying English Literature to any level as he was massively complex and fixated on gyres – they still haunt me).
The result is something which sounds both fresh and invigorating, with lots of space within it, and the feeling that this belongs far more in the late Seventies than it does in the third decade of the 21st century. We get harpsichord at times, wonderful vocal harmonies of acoustic guitar, but more importantly there is loads of space contained within. This is a prog album to sit back and relax into, with a nice glass of pinot gris, keeping everything fresh and light. The lack of touring due to the pandemic means that Andrew in the US and Nad in Sweden could spend their time working on this and finessing it to a fine polish, resulting in something which is a delight from start to end. I sincerely hope we have more collaborations between the two in the future as this really is like a breath of fresh air.