Richard Skelton – Landings
[tags: ambient, folk, neo-classic, 2009]
Listen while reading:
Noon Hill Wood (from Landings)
It took Richard Skelton 4 years of recording, to finish his newest ambient folk output Landings. 70 minutes full of musical awesomness and mastership. I never heard a record that could transform nature into music in such an amazingly breathtaking way. You can feel the wind blowing, the river running, you can feel the distance between hilltop and the foot of the hill, you feel fog and clouds – you simply feel the landscape and all it’s beauty and mystery that lies within.
Richard went out to travel all over North England to find the right places to record his music and this journey brought him to an old farm house, moores, rivers and woods – every place that seemed just right was used to record his outstanding tracks, which reflect both the atmosphere and the uniqueness of the places they were recorded. To do so Richard not only integrated natural sound, such as the running water in Greens Within Brook or the birdsong in Pariah, but also accomplished to arrange different layers of instruments to a complex sounding whole, that gives you a feeling of having a fore-, middle and background. This illusion is created by using different volume levels and different tone pitches paired with the specific sound of the instruments used, leading to many moments where I thought: Oh my god, is this possible to create such a depth in sound, that the surroundings of the recordings lay straight before your eyes? And the answer is yes, because Richard Skelton did just that.
The pallet reaches from violin and upright bass or cello via acoustic guitar through to harp. I don’t know what instruments were played exactly, but, as a matter of fact, they seem just to be the perfect choice to create an overwhemling record. I never heard such music and several sources say that Richard created his own niche within neo-classical music that goes without comparison. And having heard Landings, I’m willing to believe this in its entirety. Maybe you remember, that I wrote in the Redhooker review, that it would be my wish that folk music and neo-classical music would come closer together – and what should I say, Landings proves, that this combination works out perfectly. Sure, I can imagine more and other ways of combining these two genres, but this ambient folk, as I want to call it, is just one way of melting both music styles together.
Even though I’m taken aback by the music itself, I have to warn you, because this record takes some time. It’s not your first choice if you want to listen to some soft music while doing other things. Landings needs your attention and it will give back to you wonderful images of sound, but to see and hear them, you have to take your time and listen carefully. For my part, I just have to say that Richard Skelton is now officially one of CFM’s new favorites. Thanks for the music!
To buy records of the artist you have to be quick, because they are sold out in rather short time. But I found a place that still carries the CD version of Landings (but without the book), click here to check it out. And if you want to buy the limited vinyl edition of the previous release, Marking Time, you should contact Richard directly via his MySpace site and ask for a copy.