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- Through The Hill by Andy Partridge & Harold Budd
9/10 Clinton Staff review, 08 November 2013
I’ve always wanted to hear this album (to which you may respond “well why the hell haven’t you since it’s been out since 1994?”). The answer is I don’t know.
The album is a collaboration between ambient master Harold Budd and XTC wizard Andy Partridge. The results are mesmerising. The opening piece is rather discordant, consisting of plucked acoustic guitar and wordless voice, the title track that follows is glorious. Consisting of lovely Talk Talk-like organ and haunting piano motifs, this is tremendously blissful pastoral music. An absolutely lovely piece and up there with the best bits of Mr Ambient himself Brian Eno.
’Western Island of Apples’ has treated guitar playing simple ascending and descending melodies backgrounded by synth wash and warm bass. Its strange that in music that is so far removed from his normal work you can still hear the distinctive melodic ear of one of England's finest songwriters. ‘Anima Mundi’ uses e-bow guitar and is not unlike something from ‘Another Green World’. ‘Hand 2’ is harsher with Glass-style off kilter rhythms but from then on the album is hauntingly lovely.
’Well for the Sweat of the Moon’ is slowly pulsing organ interupted by bursts of voice or guitar, ‘Tenochtitlan’s Numberless Bridges' is random spanish guitar picking out notes and chords, descending to near silence. It's an extremely varied album, not necessarily holding a mood but veering across all elements of ambient music, unafraid to revel in harshness but mostly enormously affecting. Vinyl re-issue contains two bonus tracks not on the original release.
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