Nigel Samways: Silver Rain, Green Trees
Ephre Imprint

Nigel Samways, who has issued previous releases on Experimedia and October man, among others, now inaugurates the London-based Ephre with a twenty-three-minute EP (available in ten-inch or CD-R formats) of pieces heavily centered around field recordings. Silver Rain, Green Trees, which uses recordings made in London during 2007-8 as a springboard, follows upon two previous releases that Samways also oriented around recordings made in different cityscapes, specifically Mestre Full Stop (Venice) and Veilleur de nuit (Paris). Though the Silver Rain, Green Trees contains seven pieces, one follows after another without interruption, though an abrupt shift does occurs between the title track and “Dulwich.” Rather than tipping the balance too far in either direction, Samways gives equal room to the field elements as he does the musical, the intent being to complement London's decaying dimension—its “bruised and battered underbelly,” as he puts it—with music of a similarly decomposing kind. As such, melancholy themes voiced by piano and guitar merge via computer with texture-heavy field materials in a such a way that all parts swim within a common, dense mix. A fog envelops much of it, rendering the parts indistinct and allowing them to blend together more hazily. At opposite ends of the EP, sparse piano droplets sprinkle over a stream of city sounds and voices in “Victoria/Vauxhall,” and crystalline bells intone amidst washes of blurry noise during “Lambeth In Saviour.”

March 2010