Boomkat Product Review:
Those of you who have been reading these lists for long enough will know just what an impression John Xela made on us with his debut album “For Frosty Mornings..” on Neo Ouija early last year. An album that displayed a seemingly effortless construction of low low basslines amid layers of incredible warmth and melody, one could no longer describe the music as just “electronic”, the influences and ideas carrying the sound beyond any easy or obvious generic constraints. In a year that has seen electronic music slowly creeping its way back into the mainstream via the folktronic tinkering of Four Tet and the euphoric anthems of Ulrich Schnauss, Xela is set to be the next operator to caress the mood of the people with his delicate blend of homespun acoustic composition and a careful arrangement of electronic beats - something which has been perfected beautifully on this excellent second album, this time for CCO. This time round, John Twells returns to his instrument-based roots for an album that oozes warmth and fragility. These are, first and foremost, love songs in the most modern sense of the word, the futuristic means of execution never compromising the purified strum of the guitar that lies at the heart of each piece, even the voice (that rarest of instruments in this scene) making an appearance to stoke the fire. Away from the TV adverts, short films, and documentary soundtracks that are the unquestioned domain of new music these days, "Tangled Wool" is an album that transcends fad or fashion. An enduring collection of songs for late nights and reflective moments that has been constructed with the kind of feel for mood and composition that has rarely been displayed with such maverick skill. If you fell in love with the larger than life euphoria of Ulrich Schnauss, with “Tangled Wool” you have just discovered its more reflective, doe-eyed sibling. Lovely.