11 Aug 2013

"Down To The Silver Sea" Review


Those lucky enough to currently be in a Summery part of the world, rather than under the cloud of a dark Antipodean Winter like myself are well placed to enjoy the first release on Moon Wiring Club's off-shoot label GASP (Gecophonic Audio System Productions).
"Down To The Silver Sea" according to Moon Wiring Club's Ian Hodgson "almost certainly has the potential to accompany all of your extensive Summertime activities. Whether flower-pressing in the garden, hallucinating in the summerhouse, fainting inside stifling sites of historical interest, pirouetting along the promenade, or even sea-cruise thalassophobia complications, barely a moment will pass that isn't made all the sweeter by obsessively listening to Down to the Silver Sea."
As you can imagine, reviewing Ian's albums is a somewhat daunting proposition as I'm all too aware that he could do a better job without batting an eyelid.
Back to the task at hand - joining Hodgson on this particular excursion are Jon Brooks in various guises, Howling Moss (AKA Pye Corner Audio), Time Attendant and Sarah Angliss, a veritable who's who of confusing English electronic musicians.
Having sent his co-conspirators an album of "curious Summer photographs" to get the creative juices flowing, Hodgson then left them tinkering in their respective labs to see what they'd come up with to represent the English Summer.
Given this recklessly unstructured approach, it's amazing how well "Down To The Silver Sea" fits together, and a testament to the unity of the artist's shared vision. Or a fortunate and happy accident. Either way, it makes for top listening that fans of previous Gecophonic releases will lap up.
Previous releases by Moon Wiring Club have balanced playfulness with an undercurrent of slightly sinister English mystery in a fashion which I suspected this theme may struggle to evoke, but I needn't have worried.
While a warm Summer breeze is certainly evident often here, there's also a level of aural confusion and mounting anxiety evident on tracks like "The Summer Door" that suggests that the protagonist's expectations of Summer revolve as much around dashing for cover from freak Summer storms as they do reclining in deck chairs.
And while Jon Brooks may be responsible for the most immediately engaging tune here (vintage analog gem "Pineapple Castle"), it's Hodgson who steals the show with his own compositions and more critically with his sequencing skills, which tie the many disparate moods of these pieces together in as logical a fashion as one could expect from a genre built largely on confusion.
Balmy, balmy days.

Visit the Blank Workshop Online GiftShop here to procure a copy of this limited vinyl only release.

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