“Sentimentalist” by Sanso-Xtro
Subtle analogue experimentations and brave acoustic instumentation in this astonishing debut from Melissa Agate.
Melissa Agate is no newcomer to the music scene, being exposed very early in life as the drummer of Australian avant rock outfit Sindog Jellyroll. Since then she has refined her styles and perfected what she believes to be a truly personal sound. Taking influence from her antipodean background and also from a life-changing move to British shores, Sentimentalist is deeply reflective and unashamedly visual.
Finding herself discontented with the trappings of the rock genre, it was not long before Agate discovered electronic music and began to experiment with as many different instruments as she could manage to acquire. From acoustic guitar and ukulele to traditional bells and kalimba, anything at hand was added to the rich soundscape of her creative vision. In doing this, Melissa has created something truly original. By purposefully taking sounds which inspired her and allowed her to visualize the rich memories she had stored in her mind, she has forged a work which is accessible but very difficult to define in genre.
Agate’s influences are as far reaching as her musical ambition, and she takes well informed references from avant jazz, blues and experimental electronic works. Moments of Sentimentalist project hazy echoes of Robert Johnson, before colliding with the sublime analogue chic of Stereolab or Broadcast. Elsewhere, skeletal outlines of Opiate or Mum drift into angular rhythmical sounds explored by Supersilent or Radian. Yet rather than try and emulate another artist, instead Agate takes ideas to add to her ever changing musical ideal. It is her goal to produce an honest sound, something that is true to her soul, and she succeeds magnificently.
Sentimentalist leaves us with something truly timeless and it exists slightly removed from the world we live in. Carefully selected fragments of musical history are lovingly woven together creating a magical album, and one not to be taken lightly under any circumstances.