Vinyl LP £19.99 K0M1N0-004
Red vinyl LP w/DL and full colour card insert & exclusive download only EP on Komino.
- Includes download code
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- The Eskdalemuir Harmonium by Chris Dooks and Machinefabriek
Sound artists Chris Dooks and Machinefabriek lock horns on this LP, on which they celebrate all things harmonium, in particular a decaying one in Scotland which lends the album its title. It’s a soothing kind of neo-concrete full of creaks and clacks and wheezes and drones, which are sometimes completely clear and crisp and sometimes processed and blurred to the point where they’re barely recognisable. It’s well recorded and contemplative stuff, with the physicality of the instrument and its limitations dictating the pace but also keeping a steady and consistent feel and melodic backbone through the course of the LP.
There’s a lengthy monologue halfway through the first side in which a girl called Ita talks about harmoniums and her father’s collection, which while it is quite interesting does go on a bit and somewhat disturbs the meditative reverie of the rest of the tracks, and I can imagine it’s something you’d end up skipping on repeat listens. That said, the more musical parts of the record are excellent, with the melodic physicality of the source material ensuring that the fine-detailed sound art side never leaves us never leaves us stranded. There’s some sweet Carpenter-esque horror drones at the end just when you thought there were no surprises left too.
9/10 ewan morrison 7th October 2013
Chris Dooks is an amazing artist. He sits somewhere between 60s sound experimentation and very NOW soundscape. He's like a calmer more level headed Aphex Twin. He makes everyday sounds compelling and fascinating and weaves them into something mesmerising. Dont mess around. Buy this.
10/10 Bryan Ruhe 31st January 2013
Harmoniums are lovely. At least I think so. Beautiful instruments that create some of my favorite timbres. The Eskdalemuir Harmonium is a very special instrument, and I am SO glad that Chris Dooks documented it - creaks and groans and all - to preserve the memory of the instrument and as a form of "sonic pallative therapy," as he has termed it, given that Chris struggles with chronic illness and insomnia. As has been said in other reviews, the documentary aspect of this release is really quite interesting and worth hearing. The music is warm and - forgive the wordplay - usually quite harmonious. Do yourself a favor - if you feel broken, crumbling, or ill - or even if you are in good health! - grab a copy of this beautiful LP and bathe in the tones of the Eskdalemuir Harmonium. It just might do you good. Recommended!
10/10 Bruno Lasnier 30th January 2013
I’ve been a fan of Chris’s work ever since I got to hear his first album as Bovine Life some years ago, and love his approach to sound and music. He is something of a documentarist when it comes to collecting interesting sounds, snippets of TV documentaries and field recordings. The Eskdalemuir Harmonium is largely built from recordings of a crumbling old American harmonium Chris Dooks found in a farmhouse somewhere in Scotland, and he uses every sound, crack, noise and breath he could record to create three beautifully textured atmospheric pieces. He brings the old instrument to life in so many ways, exposing its every faults and turning them into exquisite components, making the album a touching document of a decaying instrument. Machinefabriek contributes, somewhat discreetly, to 3 of the 4 tracks under Chris’s direction, and is also responsible for the stunning artwork. The Eskdalemuir Harmonium is by far Chris’s best work to date, and you should grab it while you can!
10/10 Lyken 29th January 2013
I came across the The Eskdalemuir Harmonium at an event called Lights out Listening in Glasgow (where you do exactly what it says on the um....tin) I heard the Betamax and Dictaphones track and was suitably intrigued. I bought the album the next day and discovered that track was only the tip of the iceberg. It's a gorgeous and affecting record using the ailing harmonium and the circumstances of its (final?) location as it's source. The packaging and the record itself are lovely (and if I could find a way to display the red vinyl out with the cover and it still be playable I would.) My girlfriend has already suggested we visited Eskdalemuir to visit the harmonium.
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