Album Review: Gillian Rae Perry – Lost Children

Lost Children is the new avant garde album from Los Angeles, USA-based neoclassical composer Gillian Rae Perry.

By Graeme Smith

Here at York Calling, I love to hear anything that is outside the run of the mill. Lost Children certainly ticks that box. Spoken word verses intermingle with whimsical and atmospheric instrumentals to create music with a strong sense of narrative.

The story opens with Meeting, a spooky meditation which tells the tale of Jamie who mysteriously disappears. It sets the tone for what is to come, with stories of four further children to unfold. Gentle percussion tugs at your ear while mournful woodwinds envelope you.

The whispering intro of part two Seeing makes things all the spookier. It feels as if you have now dove into a world that isn’t quite our own, following the children into whatever shadowy world in which they now find themselves. Fractious string are combative while single piano notes create a sense of movement. It’s clear from this track that the music was originally written for dance and film. There is a visceral sense of drama about it.

Part three Speaking is slow-burning piece of minimal ambience. Percussion clacks, long, ragged notes are played on strings and the albums second meaning begins to come to the fore. Aside from being a dark fairy-tale of missing children, Lost Children explores the sub-conscious, digging deep to where thoughts of self-doubt lie.

As the album enters its second half, Hearing starts with klaxon-like strings and crashing, rolling cymbals. A heavy drumbeat enters and the track becomes Gillian’s music at its most dynamic. It stretches the neoclassical style into the world of psych and I certainly got a taste of Saucerful of Secrets-era Pink Floyd from it.

The story’s penultimate chapter is Feeling. The woodwinds return and act as a balm to the rough edges of Hearing. There’s a nostalgic feel about it but by now I knew not to expect anything so optimistic from this album. There remains a sinister undercurrent even as Gillian’s narrative speak of warm sun and play.

Then, all is left to end the story and the thirteen-minute odyssey Sleeping does this. Reaffirming many of the album’s themes and techniques, it draws the elements together into a tight, unsettling crescendo before uncoiling into a delicate epilogue.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Lost Children. It’s so rare that music is this bold yet this refined. Gillian is quite a find. I have no doubt there are big things on the horizon for her. You can listen to the album below.