This record by The Classical – a shadowy duo comprised of singer-songwriter Juliet E. Gordon and free jazz drummer Britt Ciampa – has actually been available since last year, when they put it out on Bandcamp. Now, they’re giving it a physical release, which is odd considering that pretty much nothing about them suggests they usually do things conventionally.

Gordon claims to be a “disavowed stage actor”, and you can tell; she has the sort of theatrical voice you come to expect from musicals – expressive and nuanced. The nine tracks on ‘Diptych’ play like one, long, freeform mood piece; the backing’s minimal, Ciampa’s unintrusive work complemented by consistently strange synths and the odd flash of strings. The overall result is something that sounds like it could comfortably have soundtracked Twin Peaks, especially when Gordon segues into smoky jazz mode, as she does on standouts ‘Byzantine Tango’ and ‘Deft Language’. Elsewhere, though, the erratic likes of ‘Shovel & Bevel’ and ‘Sicily: Catacombs’ feel contrived, as if they’re striving too hard for weirdness and atmosphere. That aside, there’s still plenty of promise on a deeply unusual debut LP.


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