Wednesday, February 27, 2008

They Died For Beauty

Thinking about music from Bristol, as I was a few days ago, leads me to mention a 2004 album that I still frequently listen to. I have not mentioned one for a while but, as the weather is tending towards spring (I hope), it reminded me of another.

Ilya - They Died For Beauty

Released on Virgin/EMI it is certainly one for late at night or early in the morning - nine tracks of chilled acoustica/elctronica, with more than a little of the European lounge influence included on some, of which only two are less than five minutes long. It is however essentially summery as long dark nights don't become it; particularly the wonderful Soleil Soleil but for what my thoughts are worth it is as near flawless as it gets. How were they rewarded for this masterpiece?
You guessed - they were dumped by the label! There is a later album 'Somerset', of which more soon, but the good news is that 'They Died For Beauty' is still readily available (and that includes the 12" vinyl version too) from, or 'Marketplace Sellers' thereon, at a reasonable price. Ignore the currently rubbish illustrations of the album artwork on the above sites; the image above is of my copy of the 12" LP that I bought in early 2005 and it was taken about an hour ago. At almost 49 minutes it is long for a single LP but the quality is still good and to check that I'm listening to it as I write.

Now, if only to avoid misunderstandings, a few words of warning:
There is more than one Ilya! This is not a bad thing but it can be confusing which, I will readily admit, is how I came to discover another! The "Bristol Ilya" have released in the US as 'San Ilya'.

The cover of the US CD version of They Died for Beauty.
It is very easy to forget just how beguiling trip-hop can be!

There is however another, US based, Ilya:
To the best of my current knowledge they have released two studio albums:
  • Poise Is The Greater Architect (2003)
  • Leaving Sans-Souci (2006)
The first is not too hard to find in the UK:
In this ILYA Blanca Rojas does vocals (in place of Joanna Swann, plus Nick Pullin and Dan Brown of the UK ILYA). The songs and sound are certainly not the same but neither are they a million miles apart and whatever the differences I find them all very likable. Like 'Somerset' the US ILYA's second album might well be harder to track down. 'Leaving Sans-Souci' does not seem to be readily available in the UK and don't seem to stock it either. It is available from third-party sellers but at some not insignificant price.
It does however exist and this is my CD copy ---
70% of the total cost was shipping from the US!

Finally there is a third Ilya, apparently quite unrelated to the forgoing, about whom I know nothing more than that which this link provides.

Note added 22 March 2008:

For whosoever searched for the track list of the Ilya album Poise Is The Greater Architect today, here it is:

001. Isola
002. Rana
003. BPD
004. I Want To Know
005. Blatchford
006. Lady Folly
007. Nux Vomica
008. In My Sleep
009. Disturbed
010. Guilty Kisses

And for completeness, here is that for their second album, Leaving Sans-Souci:

001. Baalbec
002. Where Are You Now?
003. I Could Tell You, But Then We Would Have To Kill You
004. Silver Kabko
005. The Magician
006. Hostile Reader
007. Wildflower
008. Wasted Distance
009. Therese
010. Lament
011. Annette

I'd like to work out the lyrics for these albums too but it will take some time! I'm always open to offers of help and you will be credited.

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