Andy Vaz Interview and Set
Mark O'Leary's Grønland

Ólafur Arnalds
Kush Arora
Steve Brand
Nick Chacona
Robert Curgenven
Daniell and McCombs
Delicate Noise
Danton Eeprom
Seren Ffordd
Paul Fiocco
El Fog
Koutaro Fukui
Corey Fuller
The Go Find
Ernest Gonzales
Francisco López
Ingram Marshall
Craig McElhinney
My Majestic Star
Nommo Ogo
Olive Oil
O'Leary - Passborg - Riis
RPM Orchestra
Richard Skelton
Slow Six
Sone Institute
Sousa & Correia
Stanislav Vdovin
Viridian Sun
Christian Zanési

Compilations / Mixes
Erased Tapes Collection II
Hammann & Janson
Leaves of Life
Music Grows On Trees
Quit Having Fun
Thesis Vol. 1

Be Maledetto Now!
Mr Cloudy
Damon McU
Morning Factory
M. Ostermeier
R&J emp
Stanislav Vdovin

Richard Skelton: Landings

Much of Richard Skelton's work has appeared on his own Sustain-Release label, which began life as a dedication to his late wife, Louise. So if there's a palpably emotive dimension to his work, no one should be taken aback. A powerfully mournful quality definitely permeates Landings, his second album under his own name and his follow-up to 2008's Marking Time (originally released on Preservation and reissued on vinyl by Type). The material on the seventy-minute release draws upon instrumental folk and neo-classical traditions, the former evident in the music's acoustic and rustic qualities and the latter present in its instrumentation (bowed-strings, violin, piano) and classical counterpoint. Naked and open-hearted, the compositions are often rooted in melodic counterpoint, with strings weaving into formations that turn hypnotic through insistence. An oceanic design asserts itself in arrangements where lulling cross-patterns of string elements rock to and fro, and where at times a lead voice will rise above the whole to intone its emotive refrain before returning back into the mass—qualities directly acknowledged in the choice of “Undertow” for a track title.

Representative of the album's tone, “Noon Hill Wood” and “River Song” are meditations coloured by a mournful ebb and flow of keening string melodies, and a rustic quality in the sawing of the strings. In the immersive “Threads Across The River,” strings draw the listener into its enraptured universe, while a haunted quality pervades “Voice of the Book,” something perhaps attributable to the fact that Skelton recorded it in a centuries-old farmhouse. The album's centerpiece nudges the work in the direction of ambient soundscaping, as clouds of reverberant bowed sounds swell into a swirling mass of strings and ominous knocking noises. Landings is anything but cloistered music originating out of a sterilized studio environment but is rather music borne from nature; subtle traces of the rural landscape appear (the calls of birds and crows, for instance), a hazy mist of reverb coats the material, and nowhere is the music's connection to the rustic realm rendered more explicit than in “Green Withins Brook” when Skelton plays a concertina by the side of a stream on a winter morning. A subtle hint of psychedelia seeps into the material (during the guitar-heavy “Remaindered,” for example) at times but the oft-stirring Landings is hardly psychedelic-folk. (The release also is available in a double-vinyl edition that includes a bonus CD containing the twenty-minute long “Riftmusic.”)

February 2010