Irena and Vojtěch Havlovi — „Melodies in the Sand“ (March 5, 2021) CZECH FLAG                                                              Irena and Vojtěch Havlovi — „Melodies in the Sand“ (March 5, 2021)
Δ•  Spojením staré hudby, ambientu a folku tvorba českého páru uchvátila fanoušky po celém okrlšleku zemském podobně, jako když to vezmeme přes kopírák: Sufjan Stevens nebo Bryce Dessner. Teď už mluvíme o celých desetiletích. Tato kolekce je okouzlujícím portálem do jejich nenápadného zvukového světa. S vynalézavým a neortodoxním přístupem k historickým i moderním kompozičním technikám a interpretačním postupům si Havlovi vytrvale vyvinuli jedinečný a hudebně autonomní jazyk, který se rozšiřuje dodnes.
•Δ  „Naše touha hrát je touha po svobodě,“ říká Havel v Little Blue Nothing. Ve své diskografii Havlová a Havel sdílejí naladěnou a téměř záviděníhodnou telepatii bez ohledu na jejich zvolenou instrumentaci, která se může zdát jako náhradní, nebo naopak luxusní. Ale jejich violové duety — hluboké, empatické a také zvlněné ve špičkách — stojí od sebe. Ti dva závodili jako jistý nejmenovaný luxusní sedan v obrysech písní „V zahradě“ a „Vanity of Wings“. Občas by vás mohlo zajímat, jestli jejich hudba vychází ze zažloutlých not nebo snad z nějakého vzdáleného bodu 21. století, než ONA SAMA pokrčí rameny a nechá jí prostě zaplnit místnost. Ten zvědavý pocit pozastaveného času se objevuje v melodiích v písku, kdy tři klidné minuty mohou zastavit celý moderní svět.
Location: CZE
Album release: March 5, 2021
Record Label: Melody As Truth
Duration:     41:03
01. Into Silence   3:00
02. That Which Glitters   3:33
03. Velvet Wings Of Serenity   4:04
04. She Is Dissolving   2:26
05. Růženka   5:12
06. Vanity Of Wings   2:40
07. Light Circles   5:38
08. White Andalusia   3:28
09. In The Garden   4:50
10. Tenderly Blue   6:12
•  Mastered by Stephan Mathieu
•  Art Direction by Michael Willis
•  Compiled by Jonny NashIrena and Vojtěch Havlovi — „Melodies in the Sand“ (2021)Review
by Andy Beta ⌊14th March, 2021⌋ Score: 8.0 
Δ•  From the 16th through the 18th century, the viol, or viola da gamba, was so common that many affluent homes kept multiple specimens in varying sizes in a dedicated chest. The viol was eventually supplanted by other members of the violin family, although in the past half century, early~music specialists like Jordi Savall have contributed to a revival of the instrument. And in the 1980s, Czechoslovakian couple Irena Havlová and Vojtěch Havel also dusted off the viol to reconsider its long history within a modern context.
Δ•  The Havlovis were members of the Capella Antiqua e Moderna collective, itself a curious ensemble seemingly situated outside of time. Under communism, Western sounds were being smuggled into the country, yet the group’s repertoire drew from the Renaissance, along with their own minimal compositions. The couple’s work spans decades, and while they are beloved in their own country, their music has slowly seeped toward the West. La Blogothèque director Vincent Moon tracked down the pair for his 2009 film Little Blue Nothing. Sufjan Stevens is an avowed fan, as is the National’s Bryce Dessner, who composed a piece for the Kronos Quartet based on their music. Now ambient musician Jonny Nash compiles Melodies in the Sand, an immaculate, enchanting portal into the couple’s furtive soundworld. Not as sprawling as their out~of~print 2005 compilation Světelné kruhy, Melodies in the Sand emphasizes shorter works rather than their longform compositions.
Δ•  “It took us years to realize we arrived on earth with a serene mind,” Havlová murmurs in Moon’s film. That might sound hokey if overheard at a yoga retreat. But seeing as the two grew up under totalitarianism in Czechoslovakia, it sounds like a coping mechanism — a way to find inner peace inside music, against a backdrop of repression. You can hear that sense of serenity in 1990’s Háta H., their first release as a duo. “She Is Dissolving” is an étude derived from the Harold Budd school of sustain~pedal piano: gentle, unhurried, yet also melodic and memorable in under three minutes. “That Which Glitters” keeps those shimmering keyboard figures intact, but gently layers Havlová’s whispered exhalations atop it. Even when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, paving the way for Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution, followed by the flood of Western capitalism, the couple remained steadfast in their musical approach, as if outside the flow of time.
Δ•  Braiding strands of ambient, experimental folk, early music, and modern classical, the couple’s compositions are resonant and deeply stirring. The instrumentation is primarily limited to piano and viol, but it all sounds so delicate that you could be forgiven for thinking the Havlovis work instead with 19th century lace, hoarfrost, and sighs. “Velvet Wings of Serenity” pairs an undulating piano with shadowy accompaniment from the viol, its hushed bow strokes revealed only amid the piano’s decay. “Light Circles” dates from their time in Capella Antiqua e Moderna in the late ’80s, striking a careful balance between minimalist restraint and dramatic release. Curlicues of woodwind garland the piece, and the coiled piano lines move in ever~widening circles until it reaches its zenith, buoyed by orchestral brass.
Δ•  “Our desire to play is a desire of freedom,” says Havel in Little Blue Nothing. Across their discography, Havlová and Havel share an attuned and almost enviable telepathy, no matter their chosen instrumentation, which can feel spare and luxurious. But their viol duets — deep, empathetic, and also toe~curling — stand apart. The two race as one luxury sedan through the contours of “In the Garden” and “Vanity of Wings.” At times, you might wonder if their music emanates from yellowed sheet music or perhaps some distant point in the 21st century, before shrugging and letting it just fill the room. That curious feeling of suspended time arises throughout Melodies in the Sand, in which three serene minutes can bring the entire modern world to a standstill. — Pitchfork