Phil Mouldycliff - Written on Water CD
Although his career as a multi-disciplinary artist spans over thirty years, Phil Mouldycliff is probably best known for his collaborative work with Colin Potter and Keith Rowe from 2003 to present. This is his first solo album of sound works and represents aspects of current working practice. “Nocturne”, “Kettleblack” and “Spirit of Place” are all single-take recordings based on an ongoing concern with “Conjectured Landscapes”. “The Stillness of Chinese Jars” and “The Groaner” are two examples of his fascination with the interface between traditional instrumentation and environmental sounds. “A Speculative Atlas” is a truncated version of a piece created in response to the sextet, which is featured in David Mitchell’s novel Cloud Atlas. These selected pieces are culled from a much larger body of works designed for use in found sound/object installations.REVIEW FROM AQUARIUS RECORDS : Phil Mouldycliff is a British artist who we discovered through his curatorial work on the Debris Field exhibition at the Bolton Art Museum, whereby Mouldycliff presented a series of environmental / field recordings from the likes of Loren Chasse, Colin Potter, Max Eastley, Keith Rowe, and others. In presenting Written On Water for Colin Potter's ICR label, Mouldycliff drew from his many sound installations and found-sound compositions which have never been presented on cd before. He is a very restrained artist, prefering the slow and methodical unveiling of sound and structure found in the likes of Morton Feldman or Andrew Chalk. On one track, distant squelched voices with the cadence of a news broadcast set well behind a quiet trickle of subaquatic plinks and a stately selection of piano clusters. Elsewhere, Mouldycliff turns to more of a painterly New Music sensibility with clusters of horns, flutes, and piano (which might all be synthesized) into occasionally playful bursts of energy. But, Written On Water is clearly at its best when the drone is the fundamental structure; and Mouldycliff's final offering, "The Spirit Of Place," is well worth the price of admission simply on the strength of the manipulated field recordings into a breathtaking gasp of guilded string vibration which recalls the best work that Ora had generated many years ago. Niblock and Eliane Radigue would also garner nods as well to that impressive conclusion.