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GREY SKIES ON ASPHALT CD

GREY SKIES ON ASPHALT CD

£9.00
LABEL DESCRIPTION : Edition of 400 numbered copies. Colin Potter is sitting in a room, different than the one you are in now, and he is piloting that room to the crushing depths of inner space with fellow sound artist Phil Mouldycliff. The wizard will see you now. There methods seems so innocent at the outset with the simple layering of a street scene over the sounds of intermission spill-off (or whatever), but the quiet, ambient din of crowd soon becomes a decaying continuo beneath a soft filigree of high-lonesome guitar (?). Then bells and all sorts of micro manipulations follow, building to gelatinous crescendo and subsequent diminuendo. There is a sort of oceanic, Sinking of the Titanic texture coughing up from the underneath, and a deliciously Nursey dynamic in the way tiny rings of feedback propagate out form sonic pebbles thrown in the drink. And, of course, fantastic little discoveries are made with each new pass. This may be what it sounds like when noise goes through the digestive tract. Who knew it would be so damn beautiful. REVIEW FROM TOUCHING EXTREMES : The title, first. Is that “Ashpalt” or “Asphalt”? I wasn’t persuaded, and googling around didn’t help that much. The spelling, on both the cover and the disc of this limited edition (100 copies) – and, especially, on the label’s website - corresponds to the former. That will remain. (*STOP PRESS May 11, 2010: Colin Potter just informed me that it's a case of dragged-along typo - it was supposed to be "Asphalt"...*) Let's stick to what's ascertainable – that is, the sonic content. This is a delightfully soothing release, constructed with recordings that principally derive from echoes of urban and rural zones which were entirely gathered by Phil Mouldycliff, who calls them “audio debris field”. The choice of sources might be well known, but something digs deeper in this collection of talking people, bell towers, blackbirds, cars and related – and never toxic – emissions. I can't put my finger on the rationale behind the following affirmation, however a number of artists active in this area seem to gift the most obvious human manifestation captured on tape with a spiritual essence, a familiar character, a sensitiveness that elsewhere is totally unknown. Mouldycliff is definitely a member of this restricted group, all his materials heard in this place having always met total approval. No bombast, no protrusions, just regular sounds carefully chosen and deployed. Quite often, that's enough. This notwithstanding, after Potter's processing and mixing measures kick in, daily reality turns into a striking form of semi-abstract acoustic art. A slight deformation of the overtones here, a few gentle touches of echoing shimmer there, more mildly warped gurgling treatments over there, and even the unfriendly materializations (not many, indeed...) become reasons for merriness. We couldn't really compare the totality of these elements to analogous memories: a little bit of everything - at least partially connected to the genres touched by these men through the years - is visible, synthesized in a completely personal statement. One that gives pleasure in abundant doses without making us feeling guilty of appreciating an easier-to-swallow record for a change. REVIEW FROM AQUARIUS : Colin Potter - the sound conjurer par excellance for Nurse With Wound, Monos, Ora, etc. - teams up once again with the academically inclined multi-disciplinarian Phil Mouldycliff. They had worked together on the APM project with Chris Atkins and produced a couple of a collaborative projects on Potter's ICR imprint. Mouldycliff has long been partial to field recordings, and he brings plenty to Potter's studio to get worked over. The album begins with an urban soundscape of banal conversations in an outdoor marketplace broken up with the chime of church bells, whose chorus gets trapped in a series of loops that Potter and Mouldycliff slowly pull apart into sinewy, vibrating digital fields of time stretched artifacts and serpentine drones. As this digital ambience collapses into a softened grey mass, tactile abrasions that sound almost like pieces of styrofoam being scraped against each other pop to the foreground, gradually overrun by the unsettling noise of dental drills squealing the distance. Even some 40 years after the fact, Marathon Man is still the dominant reference for such sounds. The subterranean dank which Potter and Mouldycliff surround these high-powered motors also serves that reference well. The drones and shadows continue throughout the album, only to find Mouldycliff and Potter returning to the same set of field recordings from the marketplace which opened the album.

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