Flora & Fauna sees some new species of sound being integrated into the VLMV ecosystem.

Release date: November 25, 2022 | Bigo & Twigetti | Bandcamp | Facebook | Instagram

‘Flora & Fauna was born as we left lockdowns, ventured outside and began to find a new normality. To see nature again.

Well, well, well, would you look who it is. Sing With Abandon isn’t even four months old at this point, and it already has its official follow-up. The above quote reveals the motivation that led Pete Lambrou of VLMV to create what might be reasonably considered a companion piece to the aforementioned full-length record. An instrumental EP (weird, I could’ve sworn I was promised more singing 🤔), Flora & Fauna explores some fringes of the VLMV-verse that haven’t been properly elucidated on previous releases. Six songs, no filler – let’s get into it, shall we?

Of course, it wouldn’t be a VLMV release without the band’s signature blend of ‘ambient-ish post-something’ music, which usually consists of varying amounts of post-rock, shoegaze, and contemporary classical music. Lambrou’s way of composing for strings is instantly recognizable on “I” (shout out to cellist Fraser Bowles for his beautiful rendition), as is the way he layers synths and guitars. Then we get to the piano-led “II”, and yet another familiar facet of the core VLMV sound is being revealed to us. It all sounds as though Lambrou could start singing any second now and complete the picture, but he doesn’t. Which is fine. On “Fauna”, though, he does sing – together with the ‘VLMV choir’, that is. Amidst weighty organ and synths, these ten voices intermingle to form short but beatific harmonies that elevate this song beyond what we’ve heard so far on this EP.

“Flora” is a mainly synth-based composition, complete with drum machine beats and flickering new age electronic melodies. It’s a sound we haven’t heard from Lambrou and VLMV in the past, and I find it to be a very welcome addition should he decide to keep it around. Mixed with the project’s usual neo-classical flourishes, there’s a certain homeliness to this song; very fitting, then, that its title places it firmly in the tradition of cozy plant-focused ambient music. “III” starts on a deep, hefty drone that is then colored in with brighter sounds from the synths and strings over the next six-and-a-half minutes. The subtle beat gives it a much more lively energy, which I appreciate. The VLMV choir returns to close out Flora & Fauna with the 55-second “IV”, a short but wondrous reflection of the sounds we’ve heard across the last 20 minutes.

There you have it; that’s all there is to this EP. I make it sound like it’s a bad thing – all I mean to say is that I would’ve taken hours of material this enrapturing with the greatest pleasure. That’s why the saying goes ‘short but sweet’, I suppose. Flora & Fauna is, in many key ways, a continuation but also an evolution of the classic VLMV formula. What I would like to hear more of going forward is the choir music influence that was reflected in “Fauna” and “IV”, as well as the heightened focus on electronic elements. I’m a sucker for old-school synth sounds, so getting to hear those on future VLMV releases would be fantastic. One thing’s for certain, though: after this EP, we can’t be too sure of how exactly Lambrou’s next record will sound. And that’s very exciting.

‘Flora & Fauna was my hope tinted re-emergence into the outside world.

Dominik Böhmer

Dominik Böhmer

Pretentious? Moi?

Leave a Reply