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V/A WATER MOUNTAIN CD

V/A WATER MOUNTAIN CD

£11.50
REVIEW FROM AQUARIUS : It has been far too long since we've heard anything from Jonathan Coleclough. So long in fact that we probably need to refresh some of our readership on this stalwart British drone artist, whose name alone became a shorthand for mesmerism that deftly balanced dissonance with sympathetic tones and a subtle use of melody drifting ever so slightly within a narrow band of frequencies. Yup, that's what Coleclough delivers; and for many years now, we've cited his work as the gold-standard of dronemuzik, with perhaps Tim Hecker as the only other experimental musician to get cross-referenced in more instances. Those lovely tones and eerie metallic shimmers that enamored us to Coleclough are firmly entrenched on this album, which also features some other pretty heavy hitters. Colin Potter is another British experimental chap whom everyone should know, not only because he's responsible for working on some of the best Nurse With Wound albums (e.g. Salt Marie Celeste, Thunder Perfect Mind, etc.) but also because he's crafted some intoxicating electronic albums over the years of kosmiche brainbending and full-thrum minimalism that would give Manuel Gottsching and Coil a run for their money. Hitoshi Kojo is the Japanese drone-minstrel who has alternately worked under the solo moniker Spiracle and in the duo Juppala Kappio, slipping between the glassy acoustic mantras of Organum and the freak-folk ragas of most any album on Fonal. Paul Bradley may be the least well known contributor, here; but this British drone musician has done exceptional work over the years with both Potter and Coleclough in various guises. This album was recorded back in 2006 in Colin Potter's former studio, which literally was a water tower with all four parties conjuring their various shadow-clad drones, shivering phase patterns, spectral frequencies, and lonely textures. Water Mountain feels very much like a thoughtful Conny Plank production in which an organic dreaminess flows through all of these sounds, which seem to be transmitted by each individual through whatever means, and effortlessly molded into a eerily blissed out drone album. Watery gurgles, bowed metal trills, and crumbled soil stain the sparkling hums and stretched occlusions throughout both discs, gliding in and out of hallowed, church organ minimalism, tectonic rumblings, and one blustery crescendo of atomically cracked distortion that fires up near the end of disc one. Altogether, this is a magnificent set of recordings and one that will pull Coleclough back into the public spotlight by hook or by crook. Super limited pressing of just 250 copies. Preface On a personal note, I remember vividly when Hitoshi Kojo told me with excitement about a transhumance through UK with the specific purpose in mind of doing sessions with some of the great drone masters over there, namely : Colin Potter, Jonathan Coleclough and Paul Bradley... Retrospectively, I think I was as stirred as him. The resulting collected material has been shelved for years (7 actually !), and I began to fear this estimable musical heritage could get lost...this was not taking into account Hitoshi Kojo's sense of perseverance. It is now available in a splendid handcrafted ltd edition sleeve with cut-out made by patient graphic virtuoso designer Hitoshi Kojo himself – even before any listening, already a beautiful physical object to behold. Most probably there have been a considerable volume of editing ahead, and an intense compositional shaping process searching for paths within the vertiginous sonic matter before reaching this radiating amalgam. Rather than splitting the work in as many distinct collabs, the choice has been to mould it in a six long parts confluential movement distributed on 2 CDs What we have are overlapping drone layers littered with elemental textures & debris, harmonic sets in imbricated rotation, where instruments, manipulated objects, field recordings are beyond simple coexistence...they mime nature itself... a perfectly balanced out aerial spiralling mass of sound...sweeping & virulent as well, when it comes to evoke hidden forces... resonant, ecstatic surges, at times like sheets of ringing metal colliding with lingering enshrouded chants... The sound itself is dense, tight, with no gaps at all, though not opaque as such... In a way, it pretty much resist litteral description. “Water Mountain” are two overused words in our western culture, but here they have a haiku strength, and implications far beyond the mundane... they channel the practise... Although being an explicit reference to the Chinese term “Shanshui” [山水/ mountain-water] used to define amongst other a certain type of pictural landscape, usually more turbulent than the Japanese uncluttered paintings, and soaked with cosmology, and notions of struggling primordial energies, it makes no doubt that Hitoshi Kojo has relied on his own cultural founding values (perhaps even unconsciously) to name this creation. Water rituals in Japan are numerous, and some essential part of Shinto polytheist, animistic cults... most shrines have “Chōzubachi ”near their entrances, small basins with water where visitors can cleanse themselves...and mountains have always been worshipped, as embodiment of the very spirit of nature, and gateways to the other world. This gives all another self-explanatory dimension to the title, and delivers an acute metaphor of the music impulse. Undoubtedly ceremonial in its form“Water Mountain” creates the basis for an imaginary geography of our own...the reflection of an inner “island”... Extended exposure to the sound seems to induce dissolution of all conscious thoughts, and a process of inner transformation. All in all a very potent psycho-active brew able to infiltrate the smallest recesses of our beings, if only for a moment... a symbolic space of endless depth... a singular taking over liturgy, intoxicating and perplexing... Daniel Crokaert - October 2013

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