Andrew Wasylyk

The Paralian

(Athens of the North)

IT BEGINS with boots crunching over shingle towards the whir of a boat’s engine, the calls of gulls followed by rudimentary chords on a Fender Rhodes. It ends with the dolorous ebb and flow of a tide of synthesisers, receding into nothingness like vanishing haar.

One casts the spell; the other breaks it. In between, Andrew Wasylyk – most active with The Hazey Janes but also a hired hand with the likes of Idlewild – conjures a series of luminous mood pieces that draw their inspiration from the Angus coastline and North Sea but which are equally evocative of an imaginary Europe, a timeless dream-land of leafy boulevards and narrow alleyways winding down to sleepy Mediterranean harbours.

In large part this is due to Wasylyk’s masterly choice of instrumentation (harp, strings, reeds, euphonium and flugelhorn all feature) but it is the nature of his compositions – patient, languid, feline – that plays the greatest part. These are pieces that would be deeply affecting no matter the means of expression.

Thus we have, among the myriad highpoints, noirish anxiety (Flight of the Cormorant), mournful redemption (Mariner’s Hymn) and wondrous solitude (Adrift Below a Constellation). But The Paralian is infinitely more than a series of jazzy atmospheres – rather, it is an astonishing and deceptively powerful seascape in sound that grows more bewitching with every play.