Boomkat Product Review:
20th anniversary of Steven Stapleton & Colin Potter’s ‘Salt Marie Celeste’, a lowkey drone masterpiece comparable with the scope of Gavin Bryars’ ‘The Sinking of the Titanic’ or indeed NWW’s own seminal enigma ’Soliloquy For Lilith’, and a massive RIYL Deathprod or Timo Van Luijk & Frederik Croene’s ‘Fortune De Mer’
Recorded and mixed in summer 2002 at Colin Potter’s legendary Watertower studio in Preston, the 60+ minutes of ‘Salt Marie Celeste plunges listeners to the imaginary depths of the ocean in a steeply sensurreal swill of two chords and fathomless spectral magick enacted by the NWW guys. The original release is now roughly equidistant to NWW’s earlier masterwork ‘Soliloquy For Lilith’ (1988) and now, and with the benefit of hindsight it can clearly be hailed a landmark in the dark ambient drone canon, reserving a remarkable ability to transport the listener by minimal, durational means with unforgettable effect.
Originally conceived as the atmospheric soundtrack to an art exhibition at The Horse Hospital, London, this released version features the FX of creaking timbers and briny, insectoid scuttles subtly but crucially foregrounded in the mix against its call and response swell of orchestral chords, gradually accreting layered traces of loops that come resemble the sound of ship’s horns or even siren-like voices rippling through the murk. The most notable change comes around the 50 min mark when those FX slip out of view, leaving us only with the amniotic whorl of its chords for strange, briny comfort.