Withheld by Chaz Knapp

Release date: May 26, 2017
Label: Varied Frequencies

Sometimes, when one records a body of work, and discards it for some time, returning to it years later can unearth new ideas and concepts when it is all looked at in a new light. Whilst on paper, the idea can perhaps seem to result in something that would be oddly clunky, with seemingly disparate recordings working against each other as they refuse to meld. The result here on, Chaz Knapp‘s latest album Withheld has instead resulted in a wonderfully cohesive vision, one which takes a many different ideas and genres and fuses it all together into something beautiful.

There’s a wonderful sense of melancholy that runs mostly throughout the album, a melancholy that doesn’t leave one feeling drained and horribly upset, but instead manages to lift the listener, and sway their emotions with changes in the music itself. There’s many elements of orchestral ambient music, much of which evokes similar aesthetics to A Winged Victory for the Sullen, whilst other sections feel more familiar with the delicate works of Sigur Ros. As well as gorgeous beautiful passages, there’s other moments of intense crushing, of which you’re dragged through something sinister and thrown out on the other side, ready to reflect upon it.

There’s a wonderful delicate craft to the work being presented on Withheld, which showcases Knapp has a composer whose paying attention to those minor details, the kind which help elevate the music to something more affecting. There’s an emotional resonance to the album, one which flows and moves emotion effortlessly, making it a very interesting and at times, powerful release. From the moment the album begins, one instantly begins to understand that this is a work that is going to be very emotive, in all of the best ways.

Withheld isn’t of course without its downsides, perhaps in part to the disparate nature of the individual recordings, but the overall result is one that is incredibly pleasing. There’s a wonderful sense of melancholy running throughout the music, one that doesn’t consistently try to bring down the listener to horrible levels of despair, but simply express emotion through the music itself, and carry the listener through a journey through these emotions. For the most part, it all works very well, suggesting very strong capabilities from Chaz Knapp.

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