new music reviews authored by paul khimasia morgan

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Quiet World

The South Wales-based electronicist Ian Holloway has sent me five of the latest discs from his Quiet World imprint including one of his own solo items, and another of his previous machinations under the now defunct nomenclature Psychic Space Invasion on the Persepolis label which dates back to 2008.  A nice touch is that all the Quiet World discs come with a professionally printed business card with the musicians’ initials/signature/doodle/whatever and numbered on the reverse.  This gives each item more of a fine-art feel.  In fact, featuring as they often do, Ian Holloway’s own photography, they are very nice-looking objects when viewed as a group; a great start to my collection of Quiet World releases!

Kostoglotov Love Song For Broken Buildings
Fantastic genre-hopping journey into the recesses of memory and psyche.  This reminded me of many, many nocturnal wanderings in the early 90s sat in the back of tiny hatchbacks searching endlessly for illegal raves in the dank countryside of middle England.  Sometimes you’d follow some fellow nomads identifiable by the ubiquitous red Kiss FM sticker stuck to their back window, or if they were trying to be a bit more discreet, a pair of trainers on the parcel shelf.  Here and there it resembles a stripped-back version of an analogue work by Brian Eno.  Digging this.  Artwork on the sleeve by label head Ian Holloway.

The Dead Mauriacs Sans Chapeau, Visite d’Hallucinations
More ambient electronica here from Kostoglotov’s Daryl Worthington.  Slow moving but in a pleasant dream-state kind of way.  Very easy to get sucked into this after a couple of glasses of red on a Tuesday evening after the kids have gone to sleep, such is the pull of the sonic vortex Worthington develops.  Strong ambience here, if that’s your bag.  It’s not mine so much, so if you will forgive me, I’ll move on.

Ian Holloway The World After Autumn
This cracking album begins with folk-tinged drone gut string guitar on the first track, She Walks In Beauty; the drone is almost bassoon-like.  Pleasing metallic reverb on the acoustic guitar.  The drones work their way through a series of chordal shifts without too much hurry while the melody on played guitar activates and leaches further and further into the mix.  Like an ink and water blotting paper experiment in double Chemistry at school.  Or standing water on open heathland in early summer.  Where do water boatmen go when it rains?  I can almost smell damp earth and woodsmoke after a summer rain shower.  Drone morphs into reed organ but then disappears.  No New Age, I’d call it.
The next piece, A Time Of Glass, transports us from a secluded copse to a deserted space station.  Support systems hum, machines activate and de-activate.  But there is no-one aboard; no mission.  Water condenses and is pumped into holding tanks that no-one will tap.  The third track, The Daughter Of The Sea And Me rolls the dice.  Thunderstorms.  Small pebbles are manipulated.  Waves crash on a distant beach.  Filtered.  Shells are dealt with in similar ways.  Wind.  Larger pebbles.  Are these pebbles in a bag?  Electronic clockworks.
I Will Settle Like A Tiny Cloud rounds off this excellent collection of contemporary electronica.

Brian Lavelle My Hands Are Ten Knives
A quiet drone piece in fact Lavelle includes the instruction to listen at “medium to low volume” which a refreshing change from seeing the unwanted and over enthusiastic message “PLAY LOUD!” emblazoned over demo cassettes and cd-rs with deadening routine over the last 25 years.  This seems to be predominantly comprised of sine tone with the occasional well placed interjection from piano or electric guitar.  Some field recordings make an appearance at around 12 minutes but it’s not intrusive enough to put off the flow of the slow, evolving drone.

Psychic Space Invasion Transitions
Slow burning drone core from the centre of the sun viewed by a passing deep space probe.

Fazio All At Once The Remote Go Forth My Soul And My Seeking, The Unknowable Becomes Known
Great title.  The first track, Extending Wings, could easily be those of either a demon or a tern.  Track three, The Pearl Of The Sea, channels the spirit of 80s guitar pop like Cocteau Twins by employing what sounds like a Roland Jazz Chorus 120 guitar amp paired with an RE201 tape echo.  I’m a fan of this sort of thing.  It wanders fairly aimlessly but I think that is rather the point.  Around seven minutes, it seems to me that the guitar sounds reveal themselves to be digital emulations as a rather effective tremolo/snipper logarithm transforms the guitar into an alien broadcast.  The last track, A Place For Giving, would sound perfect in a hotel room in Barcelona at 4am on a Sunday morning.

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