Sunday, September 06, 2009

Ian Hawgood - Snow Roads - Dragon's Eye Recordings CDr

Okay, let’s talk about Snow Roads. You’ll forgive me if I seem a little over-familiar with the artist but he’s a good friend and I know exactly how much has gone into this release – both in time and work. The accumulation of 18 months of production, Snow Roads is a clear labour of love and it only takes a very small glance at the credits to see why 1) you should paying very close attention to this release, and 2) why it’s so damned good.

Collaboratively speaking there are a number of artists that have been involved along the way including Celer, The Remote Viewer, Le Mepris, El Fog, Katherine Morrice, Ben Jones and Wataru Osaka as well as Taylor Deupree on mastering duties. These elements are brought together by Hawgood’s guiding hand into an album of such depth and beauty that you’ll find it simply doesn’t quite hit you the first time you listen to it. I’ve heard it too many times to keep track of and each and every time it gives me something entirely new.

Maybe the first time you’ll feel the space and minimalism that begins the work with bowed instruments layering together to create an almost classical sound. Then you’ll start to really pick out the tangible journey that the music takes you on as the addition of field recordings and bell sounds give it an earthy, naturalistic quality that’s really quite divine. It’s probable that you’ll be so entranced by this time that you’ll begin to notice the delicate background noises and samples that form a dusty layer which allows the delightfully melancholy instrumentation to shine through in all of its glory. By the end you’ll have been taken in by violin pieces, guitars, processed found sounds, deep, ambient soundscapes and textures as well as a real sense of movement and variety that hangs together exactly as it all should.

Pardon the gushing commentary, but this is simply a delicious work of musical art that should be considered a real opus for Ian Hawgood. In some ways it’s completely different to ‘Wolfskin’ and ‘We Are Better…’ but you can hear his sound in there at all times and that’s what gives it such personality. Putting something like this together and being able to call on such talent to provide additional elements is really a wonderful position to be in and he’s done it so, so well.

Another utterly essential release for the artist and another string to the bow of the marvellous Dragon’s Eye imprint. Quite simply brilliant and another highlight of the year for me.

Check it out here...

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