Boomkat Product Review:
Having recorded a significant body of work under various guises including A Broken Consort and Clouwbeck, Richard Skelton's Complete Landings clocks in at two and a half hours and is perhaps his defining, most important work. It weaves in his signature bowed strings into the wild rural landscape of his surroundings, captured with uncanny sensitivity. The Complete Landings comprises the three albums in the Series: Carousell ~ Landings (28th June, 2006), Richard Skelton ~ Landings (28th June, 2009) and Richard Skelton ~ Rapture (28th June, 2011) - essential listening if you're into Arvo Pärt or Brian Eno's Ambient series.
From the first jagged strokes of 'Noon Hill Wood' you're transported to an expressive, mournful vista where string arrangements writhe and overlap, squealing with harmonic overtones as if the strings were being sawn into. It feels like a more ambitious and substantial set than previous Skelton outings thanks to an expanded instrumental palette and a duration that permits the exploration of a more complete and varied narrative. 'Scar Tissue', for instance, features tumbling minor-key guitar fragments, creaking along in some unspecified woodland exterior - you can often hear recordings of the natural world captured in the background, and in truth the music is as much about these unusual, atmospheric sounds as the instrumentation itself.
On 'Green Withins Brook’ gentle droning waves crash into the babble of a stream, while 'Voice Of The Book' is imbued with reflective ambience thanks to the dimensions of the ruined, ancient farmhouse in which it was recorded. This odd and characterful locale is coloured by incidental knocking sounds that seem to emanate from the corners of the mix. Even during the less obvious location recordings there's an almost supernatural presence hanging in between notes. 'Of The Last Generation' and 'Threads Across The River’ carry a kind of intense and palpable aura - if not an outright sense of place.
Throughout Skelton's catalogue you'll hear pieces masked in naturalistic reverb, as if he's trying to distance his music from the listener - blurring the edges. That effect is put to especially good use during the closing moments of Landings: the detached and austere guitar of 'Remaindered' is like the ghost of a Nick Drake song while 'The Shape Leaves' serves as quietly devastating exit music.