FRIENDS OF ALICE IVY
Friends of Alice Ivy are proud to present a resplendent full-length album ‘The Golden Cage and its Mirrored Maze’ for the delectation of discerning music lovers.
Singer Kylie and instrumentalist Amps garnered critical acclaim during their formative years as Ostia, the premiere Australian ethereal darkwave ensemble of the 1990s. While the precursory Friends of Alice Ivy EPs were experimental and tentative, the reinvention received high praise from the godfather of Gothic rock journalism, Mick Mercer. “…more delicate and sweet-tempered than Ostia… drifting by like the haziest enchanting ethereal poppet… exquisitely dreamy … meanders lusciously, as though we are listening to music made by ghosts.” (The Mick 50, ’09)
With such a pedigree and promising overtures, expectations are high, and this luminous full-length collection of eight songs does not disappoint. The culmination of three years of intensive writing and arrangement, the album signals the emergence of a new leading light in Australian ethereal music, poised to enchant the most discerning audiophiles. ‘The Golden Cage and its Mirrored Maze’ is a true exploration of the art of the album. Kylie disarmingly notes, “It was surprising to realise this is the first time we have actually released ‘an album’ – we wanted to be ambitious.” Amps echoes the aspirational scope. “It is bigger, bolder and more confident than anything we have done before.” The new album is cohesive, assured, and as the title suggests, as intricate and exquisitely detailed as a gilded Fabergé egg.
Transcending the austerity of pure electro, ‘The Golden Cage and its Mirrored Maze’ achieves textural richness
through varied instrumentation, incorporating numerous guest musicians. Amps’s enthusiasm shines through. “We decided we’d invest the time to introduce as many organic instruments as we possibly could procure, arrange and afford.” Enhancing the signature sound of Kylie’s angelic voice over orchestral-style arrangements, the album showcases guitar and EBow by Clifford Ennis (Ikon, Subterfuge), orchestral harpist Megan Reeve, cellists Zora Barisic and Emily Williams, classical soprano Frances Catherine Brüggener, and many layers of percussion and subtle processing by producer Adam Calaitzis (Eden, Ikon, Wendy Rule) at Toyland Recording Studios.
As Amps explains, the arrangements are replete with fantastical and historical overtones, drawing on space-rock and progressive folk. “The psychedelic aspects are a natural extension of trying to achieve a sound that is not of this earth, or at least not something that could in any way be considered contemporary.” Having aimed for the moon, the imaginative arc logically flows on to lyrics about astronomy and romantic understandings of the universe through sky gazing and flight. Four songs – ‘Song of Lyra’, ‘The Sky of the Bright Unfoldings’, ‘Song of the Willows’, and the opening track ‘Aerial Mariners’ – are all concerned with the celestial.
Lyricist Kylie explains these flights of fancy. “I’ve become increasingly fascinated with the stars and outer space. The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s description of air-borne adventurers as ‘Aerial Mariners’ inspired the title of the opening song, and ‘Song of the Willows’ is similarly inspired by Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos.’ I particularly love his reference to ‘cosmic spaceship of the imagination’… how amazing is that?” The emotional heart of the album is a return to beauty and a nostalgic senseFOAI recording at Toyland Recording Studio in Melbourne of wonder. Amps chimes in, “The inspiration for that aspect of the album came from the way scientists, thinkers and dreamers perceived the notion of interplanetary exploration in the eighteenth century. That science could inspire wonder and imagination is magical…”