I got a little drunk the other night… the first time I’ve done so in a while. I’d bought some expensive vodka as a moving-in present to myself, forgot about it, and re-discovered it whilst listening to Visions, the new track by Mothica.
The musical project of New York based electronica artist McKenzie Ellis; it’s fair to say her reputation (and fanbase) have been growing rapidly ever since I first introduced her way back in January. To be honest, I would have happily written about any of the tracks she’s posted up since… but I didn’t want to come across as an obsessive. Stripped back with a minimalist production, her words seem more personal than ever before. Like most people I tend to get a bit emotional after a few drinks and Visions has really buried itself deep in my heart. It’s still there, calling to me softly before I fall asleep.
With critical acclaim being heavily lauded on debut album ‘The Shadow Of Heaven’, Charlie Cocksedge certainly had a busy 2013 as part of M O N E Y, whose growing success led to them touring internationally and announcing themselves to a mass audience at the Manchester International Festival (In a truly random moment I found myself dancing next to Hayley Cropper during their performance of Hold Me Forever)
Charlie has also been making music under the name Inkling a project that is slowly and shyly revealing itself. Recent discovery Melopoeia is a delicate piano driven track with an electronic soundscape that feels filmic, and it’s undeniably beautiful. Comparisons could be made to the minimal ambience of Olafur Arnalds, with his emotive compositions built around sparseness.
Say what you like about Manchester, it still has the power to surprise and extinguish all preconceptions.
Arriving four years on from his last release, Simon James Cookson’s (aka Cilocub) latest EP via Retronym is something to behold. In closer The Nuh, which clocks in at a not-overlong 10 minutes, he wrestles with a variety of drum sounds, both of the real and the crunchily electronic variety. As the decoration upon this slightly premature festive tree, there is much to soothe and invigorate; a dense and involving synthetic hum which, while offering a knowing wink to ambient landscapists Boards and Stars Of The Lid, cleverly curtails sitting in the pockets of either.
As a generous companion to this release, Cookson has also landed upon us a feast of golden unreleased nuggets via his Bandcamp page – the fidelity may be erratic but the quality most certainly is not.
On latest release “Refugium”, Harnes Kretzer dalliances with a graceful array of approaches which make him slightly difficult to pin down. Sometimes, like on opener Hymn, there are shades of Eno, or Stars Of The Lid. It isn’t a dense sound, but certainly absorbing and emotionally affecting, ambient in the truest sense. Sometimes lo-fidelity piano takes the lead, like Nils Frahm at his most tender and reflective. Other tracks – a highlight being the tricklingly delightful “Digital Rain” – are more synthetic creations, but no less preoccupied with describing a tender emotional space.
The power of music to grab your mind and your heart, to take you on an emotional journey less about the destination than the distance travelled is unrivalled. The neo-classical sounds of Germany’s Harnes Kretzer are an excellent example of how powerful quiet ones can sometimes be.