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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Vessels Album Review: Helioscope

We review the second studio album from Leeds-based post-rockers - Vessels. Prepare to be dazzled!

Written by Gemma Milly

Junky Styling ACOFI in the shop
ACOFI launch party invite for Friday 28th January 2011
ACOFI launch party invite for Friday 28th January 2011.

Well, this dear readers, medical today is finally the official launch day of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, which you have no doubt seen me banging on about on Facebook and Twitter for months now, especially under the hashtag #ACOFI (it’s an abbreviation, geddit, for which I have illustrator Antonia Parker to thank). The book has been in shops since late December, but the party will bring together almost all of the featured illustrators, many of the featured ethical fashion designers, and some of the best journalistic and blogging talent under one wonderful roof: that of 123 Bethnal Green Road, an eco fashion store that is profiled in the book.

Harriet of Tatty Devine
Harriet of Tatty Devine.

During the afternoon I shall be hosting a Pukka herbal tea party for VIP guests in the new Bunker Cafe. We’re going to have a giant ACOFI inspired centre piece and lots of delightful scones and biscuits to accompany it, all baked by the fabulous Lily Vanilli, baker extraordinaire… better still Lily promises me there won’t be a cupcake in sight.

Annika of Junky Styling
Annika of Junky Styling.

Afternoon guests will be invited to sit for their very own fashion illustration with one of my crack team of illustrators, all of whom who are featured in the book. They will also be able to view my online Skype videos with all the featured illustrators, which just today have gone live on my Amelia’s House youtube channel (go check it), perhaps whilst having a soothing hand massage from lovely ethical skincare brand Dr.Hauschka.

123 ACOFI gifts
Reclaimed leather key rings made using fobs found in the shop that now houses 123. A wee gift for party-goers.

On the second floor of 123 they will be able to take a look through a selection of the featured ethical designers, who are taking part in a two week Eco Pop Up shop which will be instore until the 13th February. Make sure you get down and take a look – there’s a whole host of talent in there, and if you haven’t already visited 123 this would be the perfect opportunity.

Beautiful Soul
A blurry pic of me trying on my Beautiful Soul shrug. I will try to look more elegant in it today…

The utterly brilliant Courtney at Forward PR is looking after my PR for today so it looks like I’m going to be busy with interviews almost all afternoon… look out for more in depth coverage in the coming weeks on lots of other websites and blogs. Come 7pm the party proper begins in the newly converted Scout Hut, kicking off with a live gig from Amelia’s Magazine favourite 6 Day Riot, fronted by the glamourous Tamara Schlesinger. We’ll be drinking lovely Spindrift and carbon neutral East Green beers from my favourite beer company, Adnams, alongside Vodka O, a pure Australian spirit.

Nicola of Beautiful Soul with ACOFI
Nicola of Beautiful Soul with ACOFI.

I’m then planning to cut the big Lily Vanilli cake and hand it out in a gloriously sticky manner, hopefully in a way that isn’t too reminiscent of a five year old’s birthday or a wedding with no groom.

Nina Dolcetti shoes
I’m going to be wearing these fabulous Nina Dolcetti shoes.

From there on in it’s going to be a big old dance party once The Pipettes hit the decks…. followed later in the evening by my TOP SECRET special DJ… who I will now reveal is none other than Will of the Mystery Jets… it’s going to be a good one.

ACOFI in the Tate Modern
ACOFI in the Tate Modern.

And of course there will be lots of copies of ACOFI around to browse through… and possibly the most fantastic goodie bag EVER to accompany all purchases of the book on the night, containing gifts created exclusively for the occasion from Tatty Devine, Moleskine, Dr.Hauschka, 123 Bethnal Green Road and Pukka Teas – all presented in a specially designed #ACOFI bespoke tote bag. It don’t get better than that.

ACOFI moleskine
My special bespoke ACOFI Moleskine, with a holographic imprint of the logo on the front cover.

Dr.Hauschka goodie bags at The First To Know launch party
Dr.Hauschka goodie bags at The First To Know launch party for Lida Hujic’s new book earlier this week: I haven’t unpacked/packed our goodie bags yet.

So that’s the plan. But it will all probably be fabulously disorganised mayhem. Make sure you bring your camera if you’re coming! And I feel I should state apologies at this point that this party is invite only… but there just isn’t enough room (or drink, or cake) to accommodate any more people. It’s principally a party to promote the book, so I’ve invited the illustrators and fashion designers who features in it, and lots of bloggers and journalists.

ACOFI tote bag
All packed in the lovely limited edition ACOFI tote bag, designed to complement the cover by Andrea Peterson.

In the meantime go check out my Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration Skype interviews with the 30 very talented featured illustrators, uploaded NOW on my Amelia’s House youtube channel. And don’t forget to check on the #ACOFI hashtag for updates, or take a look at my very own #ACOFI hash album.

And please go buy the book… cos the future of this website kind of depends on it… For a sneaky 10% off use the discount code ACOFI LAUNCH – vald for one month only until the 28th February 2011 (coincidentally my birthday… just thought I’d drop that in)

Right, I’m off to get my hair blow-dryed by Shine on the Green… I hope they will be able to tame it into something suitably sophisticated. See you on the other side…

ACOFI launch party invite for Friday 28th January 2011
ACOFI launch party invite for Friday 28th January 2011.

Well, advice dear readers, recipe today is finally the official launch day of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, which you have no doubt seen me banging on about on Facebook and Twitter for months now, especially under the hashtag #ACOFI (it’s an abbreviation, geddit, for which I have illustrator Antonia Parker to thank). The book has been in shops since late December, but the party will bring together almost all of the featured illustrators, many of the featured ethical fashion designers, and some of the best journalistic and blogging talent under one wonderful roof: that of 123 Bethnal Green Road, an eco fashion store that is profiled in the book.

Harriet of Tatty Devine
Harriet of Tatty Devine.

During the afternoon I shall be hosting a Pukka herbal tea party for VIP guests in the new Bunker Cafe. We’re going to have a giant ACOFI inspired centre piece and lots of delightful scones and biscuits to accompany it, all baked by the fabulous Lily Vanilli, baker extraordinaire… better still Lily promises me there won’t be a cupcake in sight.

Junky Styling ACOFI in the shop
Annika of Junky Styling
Annika of Junky Styling.

Afternoon guests will be invited to sit for their very own fashion illustration with one of my crack team of illustrators, all of whom who are featured in the book. They will also be able to view my online Skype videos with all the featured illustrators, which just today have gone live on my Amelia’s House youtube channel (go check it), perhaps whilst having a soothing hand massage from lovely ethical skincare brand Dr.Hauschka.

123 ACOFI gifts
Reclaimed leather key rings made using fobs found in the shop that now houses 123. A wee gift for party-goers.

On the second floor of 123 they will be able to take a look through a selection of the featured ethical designers, who are taking part in a two week Eco Pop Up shop which will be instore until the 13th February. Make sure you get down and take a look – there’s a whole host of talent in there, and if you haven’t already visited 123 this would be the perfect opportunity.

Beautiful Soul
A blurry pic of me trying on my Beautiful Soul shrug. I will try to look more elegant in it today…

The utterly brilliant Courtney at Forward PR is looking after my PR for today so it looks like I’m going to be busy with interviews almost all afternoon… look out for more in depth coverage in the coming weeks on lots of other websites and blogs. Come 7pm the party proper begins in the newly converted Scout Hut, kicking off with a live gig from Amelia’s Magazine favourite 6 Day Riot, fronted by the glamourous Tamara Schlesinger. We’ll be drinking lovely Spindrift and carbon neutral East Green beers from my favourite beer company, Adnams, alongside Vodka O, a pure Australian spirit.

Nicola of Beautiful Soul with ACOFI
Nicola of Beautiful Soul with ACOFI.

I’m then planning to cut the big Lily Vanilli cake and hand it out in a gloriously sticky manner, hopefully in a way that isn’t too reminiscent of a five year old’s birthday or a wedding with no groom.

Nina Dolcetti shoes
I’m going to be wearing these fabulous Nina Dolcetti shoes.

From there on in it’s going to be a big old dance party once The Pipettes hit the decks…. followed later in the evening by my TOP SECRET special DJ… who I will now reveal is none other than Will of the Mystery Jets… it’s going to be a good one.

ACOFI in the Tate Modern
ACOFI in the Tate Modern.

And of course there will be lots of copies of ACOFI around to browse through… and possibly the most fantastic goodie bag EVER to accompany all purchases of the book on the night, containing gifts created exclusively for the occasion from Tatty Devine, Moleskine, Dr.Hauschka, 123 Bethnal Green Road and Pukka Teas – all presented in a specially designed #ACOFI bespoke tote bag. It don’t get better than that.

ACOFI moleskine
My special bespoke ACOFI Moleskine, with a holographic imprint of the logo on the front cover.

Dr.Hauschka goodie bags at The First To Know launch party
Dr.Hauschka goodie bags at The First To Know launch party for Lida Hujic’s new book earlier this week: I haven’t unpacked/packed our goodie bags yet.

So that’s the plan. But it will all probably be fabulously disorganised mayhem. Make sure you bring your camera if you’re coming! And I feel I should state apologies at this point that this party is invite only… but there just isn’t enough room (or drink, or cake) to accommodate any more people. It’s principally a party to promote the book, so I’ve invited the illustrators and fashion designers who features in it, and lots of bloggers and journalists.

ACOFI tote bag
All packed in the lovely limited edition ACOFI tote bag, designed to complement the cover by Andrea Peterson.

In the meantime go check out my Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration Skype interviews with the 30 very talented featured illustrators, uploaded NOW on my Amelia’s House youtube channel. And don’t forget to check on the #ACOFI hashtag for updates, or take a look at my very own #ACOFI hash album.

And please go buy the book… cos the future of this website kind of depends on it… For a sneaky 10% off use the discount code ACOFI LAUNCH – vald for one month only until the 28th February 2011 (coincidentally my birthday… just thought I’d drop that in)

Right, I’m off to get my hair blow-dryed by Shine on the Green… I hope they will be able to tame it into something suitably sophisticated. See you on the other side…

ACOFI launch party invite for Friday 28th January 2011
ACOFI launch party invite for Friday 28th January 2011.

Well, illness dear readers, today is finally the official launch day of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, which you have no doubt seen me banging on about on Facebook and Twitter for months now, especially under the hashtag #ACOFI (it’s an abbreviation, geddit, for which I have illustrator Antonia Parker to thank). The book has been in shops since late December, but the party will bring together almost all of the featured illustrators, many of the featured ethical fashion designers, and some of the best journalistic and blogging talent under one wonderful roof: that of 123 Bethnal Green Road, an eco fashion store that is profiled in the book.

Harriet of Tatty Devine
Harriet of Tatty Devine.

During the afternoon I shall be hosting a Pukka herbal tea party for VIP guests in the new Bunker Cafe. We’re going to have a giant ACOFI inspired centre piece and lots of delightful scones and biscuits to accompany it, all baked by the fabulous Lily Vanilli, baker extraordinaire… better still Lily promises me there won’t be a cupcake in sight.

Junky Styling ACOFI in the shop
Annika of Junky Styling
Annika of Junky Styling.

Afternoon guests will be invited to sit for their very own fashion illustration with one of my crack team of illustrators, all of whom who are featured in the book. They will also be able to view my online Skype videos with all the featured illustrators, which just today have gone live on my Amelia’s House youtube channel (go check it), perhaps whilst having a soothing hand massage from lovely ethical skincare brand Dr.Hauschka.

123 ACOFI gifts
Reclaimed leather key rings made using fobs found in the shop that now houses 123. A wee gift for party-goers.

On the second floor of 123 they will be able to take a look through a selection of the featured ethical designers, who are taking part in a two week Eco Pop Up shop which will be instore until the 13th February. Make sure you get down and take a look – there’s a whole host of talent in there, and if you haven’t already visited 123 this would be the perfect opportunity.

Beautiful Soul
A blurry pic of me trying on my Beautiful Soul shrug. I will try to look more elegant in it today…

The utterly brilliant Courtney at Forward PR is looking after my PR for today so it looks like I’m going to be busy with interviews almost all afternoon… look out for more in depth coverage in the coming weeks on lots of other websites and blogs. Come 7pm the party proper begins in the newly converted Scout Hut, kicking off with a live gig from Amelia’s Magazine favourite 6 Day Riot, fronted by the glamourous Tamara Schlesinger. We’ll be drinking lovely Spindrift and carbon neutral East Green beers from my favourite beer company, Adnams, alongside Vodka O, a pure Australian spirit.

Nicola of Beautiful Soul with ACOFI
Nicola of Beautiful Soul with ACOFI.

I’m then planning to cut the big Lily Vanilli cake and hand it out in a gloriously sticky manner, hopefully in a way that isn’t too reminiscent of a five year old’s birthday or a wedding with no groom.

Nina Dolcetti shoes
I’m going to be wearing these fabulous Nina Dolcetti shoes.

From there on in it’s going to be a big old dance party once The Pipettes hit the decks…. followed later in the evening by my TOP SECRET special DJ… who I will now reveal is none other than Will of the Mystery Jets… it’s going to be a good one.

ACOFI in the Tate Modern
ACOFI in the Tate Modern.

And of course there will be lots of copies of ACOFI around to browse through… and possibly the most fantastic goodie bag EVER to accompany all purchases of the book on the night, containing gifts created exclusively for the occasion from Tatty Devine, Moleskine, Dr.Hauschka, 123 Bethnal Green Road and Pukka Teas – all presented in a specially designed #ACOFI bespoke tote bag. It don’t get better than that.

ACOFI moleskine
My special bespoke ACOFI Moleskine, with a holographic imprint of the logo on the front cover.

Dr.Hauschka goodie bags at The First To Know launch party
Dr.Hauschka goodie bags at The First To Know launch party for Lida Hujic’s new book earlier this week: I haven’t unpacked/packed our goodie bags yet.

So that’s the plan. But it will all probably be fabulously disorganised mayhem. Make sure you bring your camera if you’re coming! And I feel I should state apologies at this point that this party is invite only… but there just isn’t enough room (or drink, or cake) to accommodate any more people. It’s principally a party to promote the book, so I’ve invited the illustrators and fashion designers who features in it, and lots of bloggers and journalists.

ACOFI tote bag
All packed in the lovely limited edition ACOFI tote bag, designed to complement the cover by Andrea Peterson.

In the meantime go check out my Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration Skype interviews with the 30 very talented featured illustrators, uploaded NOW on my Amelia’s House youtube channel. And don’t forget to check on the #ACOFI hashtag for updates, or take a look at my very own #ACOFI hash album.

And please go buy the book… cos the future of this website kind of depends on it… For a sneaky 10% off use the discount code ACOFI LAUNCH – vald for one month only until the 28th February 2011 (coincidentally my birthday… just thought I’d drop that in)

Right, I’m off to get my hair blow-dryed by Shine on the Green… I hope they will be able to tame it into something suitably sophisticated. See you on the other side…

Vessels Helioscope

So I’m sitting in my studio in British Columbia, stomach Canada, more about looking out at the mountains & snow-covered trees, approved which are glistening in the winter sunshine. And I’m listening to Vessels second studio album proper, Helioscope. It’s a pretty perfect backdrop to Vessels’ expansive sound and what I predict will be one of my album highlights of 2011. I consider myself a lucky girl right now!

Since they emerged onto the experimental post-rock scene in 2008 with debut album ‘White Fields and Open Devices’, I have developed a firm love affair with the Leeds-based five-piece. Their sound has been described as ‘big’, ‘delicate and heavy’, ‘intricate and vast’, and Helioscope certainly lives up to these claims.

Gemma Milly - Vessels Helioscope

Vessels by Gemma Milly

To some people, the very label ‘post-rock’ conjures up images of seven minute-long angsty harmonics and tremolo, leading to a vast guitar climax, if you can stay awake that long. But Vessels seem well versed in the art of writing songs with very strong composition, which keep you intrigued as to where the melody will take you and hooked right until the last bar. White Fields… certainly has all these ingredients, so where to go from a critically acclaimed and undeniably accomplished first album? Well, they’ve taken their knack for tight, technically astute songwriting, done away with some of the arguably arbritary vocals, and build on this to create a far more polished and confident sound.

Monoform kicks things off at a nice relaxed pace with some intricate drumming from the uber-talented Tim Mitchell, soft vocals in the background masquerading as another instrument rather than a standalone tune. The only thing that is slightly lacking towards the end is a little extra ‘oompf’, which leaves you feeling that the track never quite realised its full potential.

Vessels Band Studio

Vessels in the Studio.

For me, the album highlight is The Trap – I could listen to this on repeat for a month and not get bored. The band have managed to do what so many post-rock outfits have not, combine a really catchy beat and well-rounded melodies with a complex arrangement of instruments, clever time signature changes and a well-written structure.

Other stand out moments come courtesy of the beautiful melodies in ‘Later Than You Think’, Stuart Warwick’s haunting vocals on ‘Meatman. Prostitute. Piano Tuner’ and the juddering ‘Art/Choke’; with its enormous base line & chugging guitar riff set to looped piano tinkelings & atmospherics, this is a fine example of Vessels’ mastery over their instruments. The song ends abruptly and I realised that I’d been holding my breath for the last few bars! In this case, forgetting to breathe is definitely a sign of a flippin’ amazing song.

Stuart Warwick

Stuart Warwick provides guest vocals on ‘Meatman. Prostitute. Piano Tuner‘.

Overall, what sets this album apart from the debut, is a greater attention to contrast and pace. ‘Heal’ provides a satisfying hiatus from the crunching Art/Choke and the breathy vocals of ‘Recur’ are a welcome addition to an album that is predominantly instrumental. Time signature changes are executed effortlessly with precision and skill. And don’t even get me started on the quality of Tim Mitchell’s drumming – a man whose talents constantly and consistently blow me away. Even though this is by no means a concept album, it still has all the essential elements of a good narrative and takes you on a journey. You can really get absorbed in Helioscope – as every 5/8 rhythm is balanced with melodies verging on the, dare I say it, toe tapping! But this contrast is what keeps you enthralled with the album.

Above all, the obvious technical skill and ability of the band really does shine through on this album. What would be my criticism? Maybe that it is verging on the commercial side (I admit I’m clutching at straws here), but for an instrumental-led album, achieving a more accessible slant is quite an achievement. When it comes down to it though, I suggest you listen and make your own mind up and, if you possibly can, catch them on tour in March in the UK, Ireland and Europe.

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