Posts Tagged ‘A Guide to Saints’

A Guide to Saints – SNT020

James Wells

The coronet the title refers to is not a nobleman’s headwear but a Cornet Phase 2 amplifier, favoured by Brisbane-based musician Leighton Craig on account of its fuzzy tones. The four pieces here, each approximately fifteen minutes on duration, are built around cyclical keyboard motifs which drift, ebb and flow gracefully in a soft-focus sonic aura. They take flight and depart their original structures to float upwards amidst a cadence of chimes, whistles, chirps, chattering birdsong and marshmallow-soft synth squelches.

While the album, released on Lawrence English’s ROOM40 offshoot label dedicated to cassette (and digital) releases is pitched as ‘an unlikely subtropical Harold Budd homage – with a lo-fi suburban edge and noise outro’, the elongated organ drone of ‘Drowned World’ evokes the dystopian bleakness of a Ballard novel, the trilling clarinets adding depths and dimensions of dissonance and alienation. The attention to gradual evolution of textures and shifting tonalities is subtle, but the currents nevertheless run deep beneath the soft, iridescent surfaces.

The stammering fades toward the end of ‘Arc the Solar causeways’ are unexpected, breaking the gentle flow, but as promised, Craig retains the biggest contrast for the final track, as a multitude of howling notes swell together in a void. It’s a graceful, dreamy and ultimately mellow work, imaginatively brought to an uncomfortable and incongruous climax.

 

Leighton Craig - Green Coronet

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