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.