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1-2 Weeks
Black Swallow & Other Songs


In the last decade or so, Richard Skelton has cemented his place as one of experimental music's most favored sons. Through a multitude of projects (under his own name and otherwise) and his own Sustain Release label, there has been an absolute treasure trove of music to sink your teeth into. The first project of Skelton's that the Digitalis label-head heard back in 2005 was Carousell (and the lovely A Dead Bridges Into Dust album) so it felt poetic to reissue the Carousell album, Black Swallow & Other Songs. Originally issued on Sustain Release in the criminally low run of 100 CDs, Black Swallow & Other Songs is a soft and sparse exercise in understated melodies. This is music rich in texture and heavy on the emotional impact it makes. The nine minute "Artery" opens the album and slowly coalesces from a fractured whisper to leave its marks on your skin. Blurry violin notes stretch to the breaking point while Skelton loosely strums and plucks his guitar into a warm, aural embrace. The title track continues with this theme, but adds a heavy dose of nostalgic melancholy to proceedings. It's like you have to look back, accept things and head down the winding path to a new future. On the closing suite, "Owl Lanterns" and "The Clearing," we get a full dose of hopefulness. A child's laughter flickers by while the bowed strings add an unfaltering lightness. Skelton's guitar plucks are floating on clouds, passing by with a buoyant spirit. As Autumn Grieve's wordless vocals bring everything to a close there is nowhere else to go but up. Her voice is the exclamation mark, powerful and restrained as it leads the minimal bowed & plucked strings to rest. Black Swallow & Other Songs is a potent mix of darkness and light, expertly crafted by one of the UK's premier composers. Vinyl cut at Dubplates & Mastering in Berlin. Limited to 700 copies only for the world.