Monday, May 30, 2011

[Cotton Goods 002 lp] Sub Loam - Earthern Circle (Album) CDr 2010

Sub Loam - Earthern Circle
Label: Cotton Goods
Catalog#: 002 lp
Format: CDr, Album, Limited Edition
Country: UK
Released: 02 Sep 2010
Genre: Electronic
Style: Experimental, Ambient

Notes: Fourth release in Cotton Goods 'Lending Library' series.

Packaged in hand-made and stamped green card envelope with inner wallet. The outer envelope is sealed with gumstrip. On purchase sealed outer envelopes were stickered with recipient's address and mailed out like that.

Outer envelope contains inner printed wallet with title, catalogue info and picture. Inner wallet contains folded green card with 'lending library' library card, cd and two folded paper inserts with maps and track titles.

1 Lady's Bedstraw - Thistles Rising On Close-Cropped Ground - Rank Undergrowth - In A Summer Landscape
2 The Heat Of The Day Escaping Out Towards The Late Evening Sky, A High Blue Haze Over The Drifting Hills, The Soil Of A Path Underfoot, Cracked A Little, Brushed By Dry Grasses, Walking Back Across Moors In The Ancient Light

It's always worth mentioning the packaging of these editions, and Earthern Circle is no exception. Housed within the by-now customary arrangement of multi-layered envelopes, this album also arrives with a little more textual information than tends to be the case for Cotton Goods releases. In addition to some fairly abstract liner notes you'll find two maps printed up on luxurious paper stock - one for each track. This goes someway towards setting up a relationship between the music and notions of a rural landscape, and its history. The aged, implicitly otherworldly feel of the project and its presentation conspires to transmit a bit of a Children Of The Stones vibe, which is most certainly a welcome thing. The first of the disc's two lengthy pieces corresponds to the 'Northern Sheet', taking the form of a curious, very vintage sounding multi-instrumental excavation that features wiry, discordant guitar musings, untamed analogue oscillations and a scratchy old production style that perfectly distills the evocative mustiness at the heart of Sub Loam's sound. Clocking in at just under half-an-hour, 'Northern Sheet' begins with some detuned, Derek Bailey inspired six-string digressions, with occasional bouts of padded synthesizer chords joining in. As the piece develops the electronics come closer to the forefront of the mix, with slowly modulating oscillator arcs sounding almost as if they were a natural phenomenon - perhaps mimicking bird calls or whistling winds. Moving on to the 'Southern Sheet', there seems to be more of a dissolved feel presiding over the composition, as if the guitar and synthesizer passages have been corroded away by interference and tangled radio waves. Perhaps a little more ambient and textural in character, this second piece (itself a healthy quarter-hour in length) further emphasises Earthern Circle's undercurrent of rural mysticism, leaving you with an album at least partly characterised by a strange, haunted sensation.

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