Exploring the landscape soundtracks of Lo Five…
Described by its creator, Neil Grant as “deep landscape electronics” and “an album of wild spaces and intimate rooms”, the sentiments behind this debut album will not fail to resonate with the listener.
The slower tracks lend themselves to a meditation routine. An abundance of wind chimes soothes away the strains of the day and transport you to a place that moves to the beat of a slower drum. This album could quite easily form a natural soundtrack down at Ibiza’s Cafe del Mar, reminiscent of the Jose Padilla years.
‘Infantile progenitor’ kick-starts this debut album into life with its toy piano and chimes or could they be ice cream van chimes? You decide, but it is a given it will stir up childhood memories of summers past.
Natural sounds are woven into layers of electronic sound bites throughout the album. Seagulls on the Dee Estuary and a mandolin open up the ‘Cadaver trap’ conveying an immediate sense of loss. Halfway through, a burst of birdsong again fuses with a musical box that is being wound up before being fed into a constant steady electronic rhythm.
‘Interdependents’ unites a harp with a xylophone, clinking and glinting away like sunlight through glass. ‘Mental formation’ from the first bar has a repetitive, simple beat conjuring a racing mind from the outset and is sure to keep the electro purists happy.
‘Sabre Confusion’ is the stand out track. Fuzzy and distorted at first, with the sound of clinking glass underpinned with a heavy bass line. I was fortunate to witness this track played live at a fashionable hang out in Neil’s home city of Liverpool earlier this year. The music blended perfectly in the minimalist venue and certainly captured the audience’s attention.
‘Pivotal moment’, opens with wind turbines out in the Irish Sea, before the mood changes, taking on a sinister tone. There is distortion, much crackling, like a vinyl record about to spring into life. This could very easily be transformed into a piece of incidental music in a film where we are about to bear witness to some terrifying scene.
‘I’d like to be’, sets off with a slow drum beat and tiny, clinking bells like temple music in some far flung destination complete with distorted dialogue and laughter. It’s a day dream about yearning for Goa as we sit in our workplaces huddled over our computers chasing deadlines.
‘Death to innovation’ has a metronomic quality to it, beating and clanking away methodically, something to regulate a racing heart after exercise or perfect come down music after a night out. ‘Machinations of the world’ starts with rain cascading down and merges seamlessly with the percussion section and piano into a gently flowing harmonious river of sound.
‘Leave you alone’ is interwoven with ghostly voices trying to communicate via a telephone leading into penultimate track, aptly entitled ‘Almost’, which combines dramatic bursts of piano interspersed with computerised voices.
‘Emergence of something familiar’, evokes feelings of a happy ending. We have emerged the other side, stronger and wiser, feeling euphoric.
This album is all about taking us on a journey. Different stop off points evoke different memories and emotions. It is a multi utility piece of music. It is music for discussion, late night around a coffee table with friends or to relax to alone through headphones. One thing is certain, it is something the likes of which you will not have heard anywhere before.
When It’s Time To Let Go is available now from Patterned Air.
Neil Grant is the curator of ‘Emotion Wave’, a platform for performing electronic artists which meets bimonthly at 81 Renshaw Street, Liverpool. For further details of forthcoming events please follow Lo Five on Facebook and Twitter.