Ambient Music as a category can be misleading. Often dismissed as background music; unobtrusive, atmospheric sounds. However, it may just be the perfect description of Richard Skelton’s new album.

The album forms just part of the complete Landings release, which includes a limited edition book, although this already seems to be sold out.

“‘Landings’ is the culmination of four years of recording on the moors and hillsides of Northern England. The resulting album isn’t simply a suite of songs in the mould of ‘Marking Time’, but a form of diary; a dialogue with the landscape itself. It is imbued with a real sense of narrative – and of place – that is both epic in scale and yet intimate in feel.” (Type)

The ‘ambience’ on this album is achieved by is its irrevocable attachment to its location. Landings is the product of the years Skelton spent immersing himself in the history and environment of Anglezarke on the West Penine moors. The genius loci is saturated in the music, both through the texture of the bow-to-string, recalling the bleak expanses of bristling moorland, and the faint field recordings that become fleetingly perceptible. The fragile sound echos the passage of time and fading memories. The sound is too vulnerable to be unobtrusive; threatening to break away and disappear into the distance at any point, it constantly demands your attention.

Type have graciously made the entire release available for streaming at Soundcloud, which just leaves me counting down the days until my pay packet arrives and I can go shopping and get the vinyl copy with a cd of 20 minutes additional music.

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