Ffrwydrad Tawel is the most recent release from Cardiff based electronic pop musician, producer, artist and photographer, Ani Glass. The title, translating to “silent explosion”, was also the title of a 2016 exhibition by Welsh artist Ivor Davies, a bleak reflection of society in Wales, and at which Ani Glass was later invited to perform as part of.
The EP opens with a lush acapella, opening up into a rhythmic, almost militaristic, beat, and for all the gentle, ethereal quality of the vocals which glide across the music like silk, this has the feel of immediacy, action, protest. This first track, Y Newid (Change) is probably my favourite piece on the EP, I can’t stop listening to it.
Y Ddawns (The Dance) creates a powerfully poetic vision of industry, whilst Dal I Droi (Another Day) and Geiriau (Words) ease into a more relaxed, chilled out, and pop-influenced vibe – although no less powerful and addictive for it. Mor Hapus (So Happy) provides an interlude before closing track Calariad Cud (A City Sleeps) with it’s eighties futurism vibe and pulsing rhythm layered with those utterly compelling vocals.
The use of Welsh language for the vocals, in my opinion lends additional weight, which combined with that strong, immediate sound and those beautiful vocals, creates a presence of meaning which would have been, if not lost, certainly dampened had they been sung in English. I’d listened to the EP well before I read much of the accompanying press material, but reading it after hearing the music, it came as no surprise to have my impression confirmed that there’s a socially motivated influence within this music. You don’t have to understand the words to realise that, because it transcends language; it’s crafted into every beat.
At times dreamy, folksy electro, at others perky Europop, there’s a consistent space and presence to the sound throughout, which envelops the senses and draws the ear in. There are obvious elements of folkier influences in the melodies and vocal style, and it works brilliantly with the poetic quality of the lyrics, the electronic accompaniments and rhythmic beats. The sound is striking, managing to be both powerful and dreamlike, hypnotic in a way that invites movement. There’s a solid purpose to the sound here, and it feels like a call to action. This music stands its ground and stares you defiantly in the eye, a living, breathing entity all of it’s own.