ALBUM REVIEW | The Virgance – Paradigm 3


ARTIST: The Virgance

RELEASE: Paradigm 3 

RELEASE DATE: 21/09/15

RECORD COMPANY: El Vals del Conejo

The art of sculpturing beautifully textured musical notes, layering them one on top of the other & then incorporating a cinematic storyline into every fibre of a finished soundscape marks an artist out as true genius. To have the ability to tell a story through the medium of mind bending sound-waves in this modern day underground musical world is astonishing! Back in January I was blown away by a collection of immensely moving & truly thought provoking tracks courtesy of UK based ‘The Virgance’ AKA Nathan Smith. ‘Hiko Shrine’ for me incapsulated the true spirit of this modern day shoegazing world where an emotive, looping & shimmering reverberating sound broke down barriers and allowed this listener to float on a wave of experimental musical brilliance & it is without doubt one of my favourite albums of this year so far. Now Nathan Smith AKA ‘The Virgance’ has unleashed a behemoth of a follow up album entitled ‘Paradigm 3’ on the brilliant underground independent ‘El Vals Del Conejo’ Records & has once again catapulted himself into expressive shoegazing heaven.


‘Paradigm 3’ sounds almost like an extension to ‘Hiko Shrine’ with its expansive cinematic shoegazing tendencies, pummelling swirls of reverb & space age like soundscapes but there is a deeper focus this time centred around a more structured sound. Yes the shimmering spine tingling brilliance is there (Just incase I’ve scared you) but with the added advantage of precise song structuring & definitive shape included in the mix! This time Nathan has left us with a way to come down from the dizzying heights of ‘Hiko Shrine’. There is now a structured tethering that fixes itself to Terra Firma but is held deep within ‘Paradigm 3’ that is absolutely intoxicating.

The album opens up with the brilliant ’25 Years’. A swirling wall of reverberating sound caresses your eardrums as you dive into a musical murmuration. This cinematic soundscape comforts you as it guides you through clouds of wonderful gazing sounds only to soar above the looping & arcing jet streams that were created by layers & layers of fuzzy brilliance. An absolutely masterful track that needs repeated listens to actually hear everything. Next up is the gliding ‘Epiphony’. This track streaks skywards through crashing cymbals, repetitive drum patterns & emotive droning sound waves that seem to go on forever. Track 3 entitled ‘Sequester’ is a sonic war of attrition with its whispered beginnings leading the listener on a musical journey through layers of instrumental brilliance before emerging into a structured finale. Track 4 – ‘Moonolog’ stumbles into ‘Death In Vegas’ – ‘Contino Sessions’ territory with its structured opening bars consisting of repetitive drum patterns & floating selective guitar arrangements that are strangely reminiscent of experimental ‘Richard Fearless’ until the shimmering break momentarily takes the wind from its sails only to pick up once more & kick start the whole process over again but this time with added structured swirling fuzzy shoegazing tendencies. Track 5 ‘Saturnine’ is a slow droning whirlwind held within a magical space rock induced world that reminds me of when I was young & I held a sea shell up to my ear for the very first time. It’s a snapshot of immense cinematic sound waves, held within a small insignificant space but capable of creating a beautifully intense sound – Stunning! Track 6 & the longest track on the entire album ‘Down The River’ features the seemingly indestructible angelic vocal arrangements of Shauna McLarnon (UMMAGMA) which are used here to brilliant effect immersed & intertwined within a plethora of swirling effected reverberation. ‘Dissipate’ barely registers with me after the heady brilliance of the previous track & comes across as more of an outro than a full track? The anticipation of the traditional ‘Virgance’ closing track has my mind spinning & ‘Nathan Smith’ does not disappoint. The absolutely stunning ‘No Return’ meanders onto the musical canvass with its soaring cinematic brilliance.

‘Paradigm 3’ is full of thought provoking instrumental shoegazing from start to finish! It has everything needed to take a listener on a musical journey through peaks & troughs of shoegazing brilliance. For me though,  it doesn’t quite reach the spell binding soaring heights of ‘Hiko Shrine’ which still stands as a mesmerising beacon of shimmering light in this years underground psychedelic shoegazing scene.




Del Chaney

Del Chaney

Del Chaney has spent the last three years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze Dream Pop Post-Punk & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog – The Primal Music Blog. His other arm – Primal Radio – has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.

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