Drombeg is a new solo project from Thom Brookes, and Earthworks is his debut full-length album, following 2015’s EP. This is the sound of a landscape being explored (an Irish landscape, to be precise), field recordings and electronics coalescing around string and piano figures. At times, reminiscent of Richard Skelton. On Future Sequence.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 22 January 2016
Futuresequence, who are actually in charge of the clouds and commission most of the sky’s movements, are rocking January 2016 with two very special records. This one, the one that isn’t Madeleine Cocolas’ excellent ‘Cascadia’, comes from Thom Brookes’ Drombeg project, a serene ambient artist who moves his longform pieces with sentimental strings (used as both wallpaper and melodic throughline) along with field recordings, and the odd billowing drumbeat. Think a less still version of Siavash Amini’s excellent ‘What The Wind Whispered to the Trees’, plus some of Eluvium tricks of the trade, and you’ve got ‘Earthworks’,
This is truly gorgeous stuff, of course: “Handfuls of Clay” drops out of its foggy drone schematic to include a marching beat and then a warm piano figure reminiscent of Nils Frahm, while “Each Morning, A Miracle of Colour” sees Brookes trample on leaves and talk to the birds like a modern day Virginia Astley -- right before he brings in the usual belter of strings and field recorded beats. Maybe it’s too serene? Are the arrangements too sweet? Personally, I’ll take these tracks any day: their melodicism and pastorality create a wonderful, full-bodied sound, like reaching the forest clearing after a hard search. “The Way Love Emerges’, with its groaning ambient rises and sampled voices, is about as sentimental as neo-clasical music gets. But I think that feeling is pretty cool, and I’m sure that good scenery makes for good days. So I’m into it.
Take me out to the Lake District and leave me there.
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- Earthworks by Drombeg
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