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I've got a couple of relaxing CDs from the ever-reliable Preservation this week, the first of which is this one by Matthew Barlow. 'Sun Showers' is a four-track suite of droney ambience and field recordings, mixing musical elements such as plaintive guitar and piano tinkles and blurry celestial synths with environmental sounds like birdsong and rainfall. Opener 'Warm Air' mixes said birdsong with ...

CD £9.99 CIRCA214

CD on Preservation. Edition of 300 copies.

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Sun Showers by Matthew Barlow
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8/10 Mike Staff review, 18 March 2014

I've got a couple of relaxing CDs from the ever-reliable Preservation this week, the first of which is this one by Matthew Barlow.

'Sun Showers' is a four-track suite of droney ambience and field recordings, mixing musical elements such as plaintive guitar and piano tinkles and blurry celestial synths with environmental sounds like birdsong and rainfall. Opener 'Warm Air' mixes said birdsong with warm, distant synth drones and weird backwards melodies and sleepy guitar twinklings, and 'Sun Showers' follows it with some ringing bells suspended in a glassy synth drone stasis.  It's third track 'Halflight' that's standing out for me on my first listen, the autumnal sound of rain slapping against concrete and, yes, some more synth drones, are joined by a slow, sad piano line that reminds me a little of the 'Six Feet Under' theme music but as reinterpreted by Harold Budd.

The music and the rain blend together for a truly solemn and lonely feeling piece of music. The mood lightens after this for closer 'Breathing Space', with some echoed bird cheeps over a landscape of delicately plucked guitars spread all over the soundstage like you're in a forest and the plants are talking to each other. It's quite a lighthearted conclusion after the sadness of the preceding track, but still as gentle and understated as the rest of the collection. Lovely stuff.


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