Friday, 4 February 2011

***Virginia Astley - Hope in a Darkened Heart (UK 1986) - GORGEOUS RARE CHILDLIKE DREAMPOP!***

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Virginia Astley (born 26 September 1959) is an English singer-songwriter most active during the 1980s and 1990s. From the start of her song-writing career in 1980, Astley took her inspiration from many sources. Her classical training influenced her as did a desire to be experimental with her music. Although more popular in the Far East, most notably Japan, she remains a cult artist in her native England.

When its realised that Virginia's debut album was instrumental and "Promise Nothing" was made for export,this is actually her first vocal album.And as far as this country in concerned it was her last. "Some Small Hope",a duet with David Sylvian,was issued as a single the year after and couple with a rerun of "A Summer Long Since Past",one of the 2 items reworked here. At the time Virginia was expecting and had been abandoned by the father so understandably she wanted to call off the sessions. But Warner Brothers,who'd signed her because of their connection with the aborted Why Fi,persuaded long time fan and producer Riuchi Sakamoto to talk her out of it. So this was the result,again a 9 tracker,but the song missed off went to Japan,this being "A day a night",included on their vinyl and CD. "A winter's tale" became a single. Virginia actually adapted 3 previous songs as a barb against the man who walked out on her and these were "Charm" (also a Japanese single) "A father" and "So like Dorian".Not that anyone would notice as she is too poetic to be vitriolic,and her sweet fragile voice could never convey anger. In "I'm sorry" its never been clear who she was apologising to but after giving an interview to the NME Virginia had nothing to say to anyone and retired from the music business to raise the daughter born in Westminster Hospital.Her only signs of activity since then were to contribute a song to the soundtrack of "Lily Was Here" ("Second chance")and the Japanese artiste Hideaki Matsuoka called "Winter White Rain",the Japanese name for snow. "Tree Top Club",which opens up side 2 on the vinyl,is a song inspired by childhood memories in Stanmore,even mentioning the "ruined church",which is still there as there are 2 churches in the same churchyard! Another earlier single "Darkness has reached its end" was also included: the idea behind the lyrics came via a Russian poet and has beautiful words full of pastoral images.


1 Some Small Hope (with David Sylvian)
2 A Father
3 So Like Dorian
4 I'm Sorry
5 Tree Top Club
6 Charm
7 Love's a Lonely Place To Be
8 A Summer Long Since Passed
9 Darkness Has Reached Its End



Anonymous said...

Thank you so very, very much for highlighting/sharing this wonderful (and difficult to find) album!