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simon scott - Below Sea Level
Seasoned musician, sound artist and ex-Slowdiver Simon Scott presents his first album for 12k: a sumptuous melding of digital and analogue sound sources inspired by and using the East Anglian Fens where he holidayed as a child. Simon's music has always had that nostalgic glint in its eye so it's no surprise to find him returning to such a seminal place in his personal history. For anyone unfamiliar with the Fens, it's an area of former marshland drained in the 17th century for agriculture and comprising a vast tract of eastern England which lies below mean sea level. In this environment, rich with wildlife, Simon made numerous field recordings with hydrophone and self-built recording devices which he dissected and reassembled along with his guitar scapes thanks to a self-built Max/MSP patch, dreamily blurring the distinctions between the two. To really seal-in the atmospheric quality of this area, he played the abstracted recordings through portable speakers and re-recorded them, replete with the sounds of passing trains, cars and crows, to vividly capture the natural sense of place and it's aleatoric ambience. Aside from some delicately picked guitar, the results largely feel detached from human interference, drifting unimpeded through lushly harmonised layers of synthetic/natural timbres and textures which unfold and enmesh with a panoramic and near synaesthetic quality. Beautiful stuff.