A LILY (aka James Vella) has announced details of his fifth album release, Sleep Through the Storm. Out on 16 October 2020 on limited edition cassette and digitally, the new album will be his first for London/Dorset imprint Bytes.
“The Storm” in the title, Vella explains, refers to the dark period in human history that we are currently experiencing and the accompanying personal anxieties; “Sleeping Through” is surviving it, a moment of personal protection while the turbulences rage around us. It is neither ambient nor electronic music, instead Vella is exploring a form of analogue synthesis that balances light and dark.
The eight tracks were mostly built live, looping and layering a single performance, pushing repetition and patterns – exploratory, cellular variations on a theme, lyrical songs that say something without lyrics. For the most part, Sleep Through the Storm is an expression of sadness and lament, but it is proof that there can be harmony and consonance in misery.
Vella has released solo music with labels such as Blank Editions, Fierce Panda, Dynamophone Records and Sound in Silence, among others and live, A Lily has shared the stage with Amiina, Ulrich Schnauss, Mutual Benefit, Peter Broderick, Silver Apples, yndi halda, ISAN and many more. The son of a choral/operatic soprano and music theory lecturer, he grew up around music and saw his first record released as a teenager. Using the A Lily name to encompass a wide range of solo music, his releases have covered dark alt-pop, piano solos, ten-hour ambient pieces and abstract experimentalism. He is the founder and principal songwriter of the acclaimed band yndi halda and he also runs independent record label Phantom Limb.
Bytes is a London/Dorset electronic label and an offshoot of Ransom Note Records. Since its formation in 2019, Bytes (named after the 1993 Black Dog album that was part of Warp’s influential Artificial Intelligence series) has released eight albums, two EPs and a T-shirt. It is run by the journalist Joe Clay and the Ransom Note proprietor Wil Troup, old friends who met while working at the now defunct record shop chain Our Price in the Nineties.
For its first release Bytes coaxed Minotaur Shock (4AD/Melodic) out of semi-retirement for his first album for seven years. Since then the label has released the debut solo album of Andy Bell of shoegaze legends RIDE, recording as GLOK; two albums from the French producer Franz Kirmann (composer of the soundtrack to the BBC drama McMafia); the debut album from the Danish/German ambient-techno supergroup Herrmann Kristoffersen; and the debut album from the experimental Polish duo jik.
Earlier this year, the debut GLOK album Dissident was given the remix treatment by an array of top production talent including the late Andrew Weatherall, Maps, Jay Glass Dubs and Richard Sen. Sleep Through the Storm by A Lily is the eighth album for the label in a productive first 18-months.
A Lily can be found via their own website