Limited Liability Sounds present a slab of gorgeous ambience reportedly inspired by the nature writings of Henry David Thoreau. Just as his Walden rejects the modern world’s stresses and strains for the wilderness, so does Surrounding Countryside hide away in cushioning walls of drone ambience. Edition of 50 CDs on Shimmering Moods.
8/10 Laurie Staff review, 06 January 2016
Inspired by the cabin retreat of a certain 19th century US romantic, Surrounding Countryside attempts to channel all that is natural, beautiful, harsh and introspective. Too many of these natural records solely take into account the beauty of the country; very few capture the more threatening side, both physical and mental, of being out in the wilderness, to the mercy of the beasts and yourself.
This one starts with the familiar synth or guitar swells (unclear what they are, as always), and you expect it to play Sigur Ros-ian ‘wonder’ chords til the end, but there’s a strange layer that enters the first half of the suite that subtly jars with the notes of the swells. It’s just quiet enough to be definitely present, but as if heard in the distance, like a looming forest edge at dusk. The notes at times align harmoniously with each other, giving a false sense of security before they waver and thrust you back into the uncertainty. The second half seems to offer more pure solace than the first; imagine a clear morning after said spooky evening. A solitary piano chimes out some peaceful chords while someone tramples their way across a leafy floor, so on this release, we have first the beast, then the beauty.
Scratch that, After around six minutes an ominous hovering drone enters and we’re back to being spooked by the wild. That’s the kind of thing you want, a bit of haunting, and a bit of relief. Something for everybody.
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- Surrounding Countryside by Limited Liability Sounds
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