Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Andrew Heath 'Europa' Review

Artist: Andrew Heath

Title: Europa

Label: Disco Gecko

Released: 4th November

Andrew’s productions appealed to me immediately and I’m always keen to listening to further pieces of his work. What I found interesting is the excerpt from his web-site below as I can recall watching this program possibly repeated as a child myself.

I look to create sonic textures and lower case music. A point when music and sound hang in the air, particles and elements in constant agitation around a theme or half-remembered thought.

I remember as a small boy, watching a film about an artist who had made a sculptural piece of work that involved hanging large pieces of metal and wood inside an old barn. When one piece was moved it made contact with another until ever so gradually, the whole building was filled with random motion and sounds. I was fascinated by the serendipitous nature of this creation.

This new release begins with ‘The Railcar Attendant’ which combines bird song field recordings with melodic tones layered over the sound of a distant locomotive. This is occasionally interrupted by a more piercing tone which conjures up the image of the train braking here and there. As the piece continues occasional piano keys join the accompaniment as well as theremin like sounds and indistinct voices providing an overall feeling of blissful calm. This is followed by ‘Requiem’ which sets me in mind of sunbathing in the garden with low background noises capturing your attention, soon after a mellow piano joins a plodding almost clock like ticking once again providing a musical symbol of calm.

The intro to ‘Prussian Blue’ sets me in mind of a bizarre melting pot of fog horn, whale song and flute which works a treat this is interspersed once again with mellow piano keys and at points joined by synth notes, plucked strings and winding clocks. The album continues in this fashion somewhat more eerily with the intro to ‘Lunz’ with chimes, chants and piercing tones rising and falling in volume over a mellow drone.

Crackles lead into sequenced tones sounding like a cross between a bird and a heart-rate monitor alongside mellow piano keys and a selection of other synthesized voices in ‘Sputnik/Little Earth’. While ‘Larks Under Lowland Skies’ once again employs a similar approach to it’s predecessors on this release and I am coming to the conclusion that this is the album where Andrew has found his sound. Admittedly, there are plenty of ambient artists using field recordings, chimes and piano’s but what stands out with Andrew is he appears to have mastered this sound somewhat akin to the sculptor but in a production fashion. 

I absolutely adore this album so far it really does create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere. However, it’s also proving very hard to do a track by track analysis. So, just before the title track I’m going to close with saying although the pieces all have their subtle differences there is no significant changes going forward. In my view this works far better with this type of music than many others, after all you enter to relax and for me Andrew achieves this in a splendid fashion.

Reviewed by Woodzee


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