Slow Reels is a new undertaking from minimalist artists Ian Hawgood (the Home Normal label) and James Murray (Slowcraft Records). Their debut album Farewell Islands is borne from a mutual love of vintage synthesisers and reel-to-reel tape machines, and will remind fans of avant-garde composers such as William Basinski.
Vinyl LP £16.49 morr 171-lp
LP on Morr Music. New project by Ian Hawgood (Home Normal, Black Elk) and James Murray (Slowcraft Records, Silent Vigils).
- Includes download code
- Only 1 copy left
CD £12.99 morr 171-cd
Digipak CD on Morr Music. New project by Ian Hawgood (Home Normal, Black Elk) and James Murray (Slowcraft Records, Silent Vigils).
- Only 1 copy left
Oh yes. I’m already expecting big things from this record. Big, delightful things to caress the ear and, perhaps, soothe you so you forget all your woes for the next 40 minutes or so. For it is this new disc on Morr which Phil has just bestowed upon me; ‘Farewell Islands’ from Slow Reels. The work of two minimalist giants (mini giants?) namely Ian Hawgood and James Murray. You’re interested, aren’t you? Let’s see if we can probe the depths of these sounds.
Hawgood has a love of dusty old reel-to-reels (I actually have no idea if his tape machines are dusty, that’s just how I like to visualize them, friends) -- his aged Akai synth, apparently on the brink of oblivion, now immortalised on record. Murray brings with him his digital sound wizardry. As a result, the duo make music that’s as dreamy as you’d imagine it to be, an album of warm, fuzzy drones and loops which have been mixed to fluffy, peaking perfection in a slow-motion blender. It has my mind’s eye set to ‘blurrrrr’ mode.
Third track in, ‘Shona’ is as lovely as anything previously brought to us by the likes of Basinski, Irisarri or Pioulard… but oh-my-gosh, this is gorgeous. The tape decay adds to the tangible sense of transience and ephemerality presented here so lovingly by the Reels. Lush textures are organically built and gorgeous timbres drop in and out, among slowly shifting tides; as frequencies flow and, inevitably, ebb away again. I could happily have any one of these tracks on repeat for the rest of my day, even though my feet have barely thawed yet.
10/10 David 22nd March 2020
This really is the perfect symphony for our troubled times and I’m so grateful to Norman for recommending it. By turns unsettling and soothing, it washes over you like a tide.
Opener Miya sets the scene for what to expect with waves of sound. Lakka is a bit more jarring. The centrepiece is longest track Shona which resolves the tension with a simple refrain like a distorted pan pipe. Farewell rounds things off with a slightly more calming vibe.
Maybe it’s just the crazy world at the moment but I don’t remember the last time I was this affected by a record. Maybe Mono and World’s End Girlfriend or the first time I heard Godspeed.
In the word of Steve Albini, Ten fucking stars. Incomparable
YOUR RECENTLY VIEWED ITEMS
- Farewell Islands by Slow Reels
What the artist or label has to say for themselves. Read more.