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Urthona – Super-Heavy Hamoazian Reverie


The latest album from Neil Mortimer is pretty ambitious. It’s a single track ‘concerned with cyclic patterns in nature while charting the movement of a weather system across southwest England’. Make of that what you will, but through the combination of guitars, synths, drums and field recordings he’s managed to get pretty close to his subject matter.

Drums represent thunder and cymbals lightning. Guitars running through octave fuzz and envelope phaser pedals lay on everything from howling wind to a light breeze. And why stop at approximating the sound of nature with instruments when you can include the real thing? Field recordings of wind and rain both pop up from time to time. There’s a lot of range in this music; from the most minimal single note refrain, through to Am-Rep style noise rock. The transitions are as natural and unpredictable as those they seek to emulate. When the drums creep in (including one section played by Julian Cope) they genuinely take you by surprise.

It doesn’t feel right listening to this in a city when it has so clearly been written in, and about, the countryside. The theme of isolation runs through the whole album. Although it’s most likely supposed to represent the sun coming through the clouds after a massive thunderstorm; the section around 14 minutes in is the perfect soundtrack to discovering you’re the only person left on your side in a war – when all you can pick up in your rain-swept bunker is dead radio static from the other outposts. It’s chilling and beautiful at the same time.

At 48 minutes in length this single track does demand a level of commitment, and some might find it out-stays its welcome a little towards the end, but as far as musical journeys go, this one’s pretty complete.

-James Barry-


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