Natalia Beylis: Invaded By Fireflies (digital, Cafe Oto, December 2021)

I stumbled across Natalia Beylis recently because her 2020 record Love-In-A-Mist, Edible has just had a vinyl re-release or re-pressing or what-have-you. But when I went poking around her Bandcamp page, it was this 35-minute piece from last December which I was captivated by.

The focus here is a collection of recordings of the composer’s friends describing “memories of a beautiful place”. These are accompanied by half-melodic clanking and chiming sounds and various field recordings, all processed and smudged into a rather lovely, calm, enveloping acoustic environment. There’s something rather moving about the way the vocals, with their different accents and modes of address but with a common thread of contented nostalgia, nestle into this soundscape. (Beylis describes herself as “born Kyiv, bred Baltimore [County Cork, not Maryland], living Leitrim”, and has interesting things to say in the liner notes about language and place.) It’s quiet and unpretentious but I find it a deeply satisfying listen.

I bought this via the artist’s Bandcamp page.

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