Boomkat Product Review:
Dusky guitar 'n field recording compositions steeped in never-more-urgent contemporary environmental concern from master of the genre Mike Cooper. Touching and emotional, but never cloying - huge recommendation.
Mike Cooper's latest finds the veteran guitarist touching on familiar themes, exploring again his concern for people across the world threatened by rising sea levels due to global warming. To highlight these fears, he juxtaposes field recordings made in Pulau Ubin, Ko Phayan, Ko Lanta, Sri Lanka, Bangkok, St. Lucia and Martinique with charged playing that drips with emotion. Cooper's gleefully diverse catalogue hovers haphazardly between experimental ambient synthwork, humid blues and fuzzy tropicalia, but "Playing With Water" is a gentler, somber affair.
We're hesitant even to call the album "ambient" exactly - it's low key, but the pensive moods require dialed-in active listening. Influenced by a 1987 novel written by James Hamilton-Paterson, Cooper explores his global presence with worry, but not nihilism. His music is animal; it's living and interconnected, and completely unafraid of that fact. When he talks politically about floods, storms and drought, you get the sense that he feels this viscerally.
"We could quite possibly all be looking forward to an island existence in that future where all of our cities, or Wetropolis, will be floating worlds of Aquatecture and Aquaculture will provide all our food, powered by wind, solar or mechanical energy from the tides and the waves," Cooper explains in an accompanying press release. His eerie, weightless compositions are an apt soundtrack to this harrowing near-future reality. Huge recommendation.