reveal-artistpagebanner

LINKS


WEBSITE

Richard J. Birkin

About Vigils, Birkin says:
“This record is about the wonder of the human body, the way we break down communication to electrical impulses so that we can (seemingly) truly connect, scary physics, beautiful physics, sensations beyond physical sensations, ascension, looking for the singularity in the past, lying in a burned out basement with the full moon in your eyes, lost worlds and small miracles.”

Vigils album out now on Reveal Records. Here are some of the reviews for this most subtle and beautiful album.

"Like so many of the best things about Vigils itself, it's this humbleness and muted brilliance that make so satisfying." (The Quietus, Daniel Jones)

"It is economic in length, but never in its application or reach. Its minimalism is never dull or slight and every song is fully realised; its discretion tantalisingly leaves you wanting more. Vigils is light and airy, but it has solid emotional purchase and is a fine addition to the piano music tradition. A small miracle it most certainly is." (8/10 Drowned in Sound, Bekki Bemrose)

"It is the dreamers that make life truly interesting, and Vigils is full of dream-like music. Inspired by science journals, writers Haruki Murakami and Dalton Trumbo, and the elements enveloping his countryside studio, Birkin concocts a compelling series of mostly instrumental, minimalistic pieces.Vigils I/II/III/V/VI contain the essence of primary sonic moderators (Brian Eno, Johann Johannsson, Nils Frahm), while the likes of Moonbathing, Night Sun, and A History of Good Ghosts highlight Birkin’s own special skills at setting plaintive moods to music."
(4/5 Irish Times, Tony Clayton-Lea)

“Contemplative, yes, but also reaffirming; ascendant strings will do that to a record, yet the intelligence in Vigils is how it slips away from both classical conventions and expectations, from the drifting arpeggios of Accretions, and A History of Good Ghosts (with its lost beauty amidst intricate guitar), to mid-point Moonbathing – the only piece with a vocal – signifying both natural break and caressing folk lament (“Now I remember why ghosts like the dark and you don’t”). Compositions with a timeless quality – and they improve with every listen."
(4/5 The Skinny, Duncan Harman)

“A truly beautiful album...If you're going to name an album Vigils then you need to back it up. It's not a word to be plucked lightly from the ether, to be hacked out of the dictionary and placed upon a record sleeve. But then, Richard J Birkin isn't a talent to be taken lightly either. An artist of real depth, fragility, and power.”
(Clash Music, Robin Murray – album stream)

”Richard J. Birkin looped his voice into a one-man choir, I was moved to tears."
(Louder Than War, Live review, Sarah Lay)

"A confident, mature work of contemporary chamber music. Chamber music because, as the title suggests, it evokes small spaces and contemplation; a record to live with. Beautifully recorded and played,Vigils is an exciting addition to Birkin’s expanding discography. Where he goes next should be very interesting."
(Fluid Radio, John Boursnell)

“His new record Vigils exhibits the warmth and understanding of an intimate conversation with classical instrumentation (piano, strings) navigating space with a patient empathetic grace.”
(ATTN, interview by Jack Chuter)

"The album also provoked one infuriating notion to form somewhere between the haunting wonders of ‘Night Sun’; that no matter the emphasis or nuances placed upon these words, they will never truly convey the brilliance and ghostly magic of ‘Vigils’, and so the review simple becomes this. Buy ‘Vigils’, play it again and again until every delicate note has soaked your soul, and then go thank Richard J. Birkin profusely for his gift."
(10/10 Anthem Review)

“All of the elements coalesce. “Night Sun” is the album's highlight, with dark cello balanced by light glockenspeil. One can sense the shimmer in the evening air. When the violins enter, they contribute the sense that all the watching has paid off. A certain connection has been formed between piano and strings, artist and moon, music and listener, intimating a potentially deeper connection between human beings...Now that the moon has entered its fullest phase, the artist can rest, knowing the watch will continue in his absence.”
(A Closer Listen, Richard Allen)

"...a series of short, sharp trips through the musical stratosphere. And that is the real beauty of the record. Nothing is overlong. Everything ends just where it should and you feel something extra may have been added to elongate it. This is a very hard skill indeed. It sits very easily between a feeling of half-finished and a sense of dragging it out, and deserves recognition."
(4/5 Native Monster Leigh Sanders)

"...eleven wonderfully arranged, spectral melodies that float out of the speakers and haunt the room like wraiths." (Collective Zine, Captain Fidanza)

"Time is but a construct measured in lived experience, and subtly, subliminally, by implication and by simply side-stepping stylistic trappings of past, present or imagined future, Richard J. Birkin captures all of this in a beautiful, poised and soothing collection of work."
(Aural Aggravation, Christopher Nosnibor)

"...underhyped treasure"
(Meccalecca)

"Solo albumVigils digs more into the realms of sound art and in-depth composition rather than a songwriter style angle, and it’s quite frankly struck gold. Inventive and intricate guitar and piano work take turns to lead the way while groundbreakingly atmospheric strings shimmer over the arrangements and characterise the sound to transform the music into the sonic wonder that it is."
(Bearded Magazine, Allan Judkins)

“Minimalism nirvana...its sure to get you on different levels. It's melancholic but at the same time uplifting. It's dark but at the same time shines a tone of light. It's art that imitates life in the sense that is a paralell between those small things in life that give an inexplicable joy.”
(Music and Riots, Tiago Moreira)

“Superb”
(Narc, gig preview, Nick Wessen)

"A slow-burner yet instant-classic in feeling; an essential, beautiful, alive, thrilling record."
9/10, NORMAN RECORDS

"If you're going to name an album 'Vigils', then you need to back it up. It's not a word to be plucked lightly from the ether, to be hacked out of the dictionary and placed upon a record sleeve. But then, Richard J. Birkin isn't a talent to be taken lightly, either. An artist of real depth, fragility, and power, his new album 'Vigils' arrives on March 11th via Reveal. It's a truly beautiful return."
CLASH MUSIC

"Birkin has described the album as being about, amongst other things, ‘lost worlds and small miracles.’ And in that, he has succeeded. It is economic in length, but never in its application or reach. Its minimalism is never dull or slight and every song is fully realised; its discretion tantalisingly leaves you wanting more. Vigils is light and airy, but it has solid emotional purchase and is a fine addition to the piano music tradition. A small miracle it most certainly is."
8/10 DROWNED IN SOUND

"Contemplative, yes, but also reaffirming; ascendant strings will do that to a record, yet the intelligence in Vigils is how it slips away from both classical conventions and expectations... Compositions with a timeless quality – and they improve with every listen."
4/5 THE SKINNY

"A confident, mature work of contemporary chamber music. Chamber music because, as the title suggests, it evokes small spaces and contemplation; a record to live with. Beautifully recorded and played, Vigils is an exciting addition to Birkin’s expanding discography. Where he goes next should be very interesting."
FLUID RADIO

“Inventive and intricate guitar and piano work take turns to lead the way while groundbreakingly atmospheric strings shimmer over the arrangements and characterise the sound to transform the music into the sonic wonder that it is.”
BEARDED