This is the debut solo album from Manchester, UK-based Richard A Ingram. Consolamentum is a bold body of work and a fearless statement of intent. As guitarist in rock outfit Oceansize, little in Richard's day job suggests either the genesis or the source of this album. This music comes from somewhere else entirely, some undefined center; organic and ever-expanding, fiercely powerful compositions, tonal explorations and melodies, with Richard himself as its source. Using electric and nylon string guitars, piano, a variety of tape recorders and assorted electrical equipment, Consolamentum casts an oppressive shadow over a distant and very dark horizon, a vision of bleak futurism. While Richard admits to taking inspiration for the track titles from the history of the Cathars, he is adamant that "this is not a fucking religious concept album." Consolamentum could be classified as some form of "acoustic doom," perhaps some form of drone-based music, but it is none of these things; it exists entirely in a realm of its own. Despite its title, "Kll Thm ll..." presents a cautiously optimistic entry point, and is something of an overture for what follows: melody emerges from a backdrop of machine hum, where curious tonal phases suggest something unfamiliar yet exultant. Then comes "de Montfort" -- its sustained, opening (treated) piano chord planted with determined finality. Creeping piano segments and washes of static tape hiss create a tension that builds and builds, until it finally resolves back to its opening piano chord, bringing everything full circle. The beauty is in the simplicity of the parts -- Ingram's expressive playing and economical approach to the pieces, at times lo-fi, at times presented like field recordings, is the key to these stunning and peculiar arrangements. Take for example, the lurching emptiness of the title track, its drunken, hazy detuned guitar phrases, low and sustained, submerged under an ever-present silence -- the result is deeply unsettling. "Beziers" exacerbates the tension further, and, as the longest track, acts as a kind of centerpiece. "The Melioramentum" and then "...Gd Wll Rcgnz Hs wn" feel like mournful recapitulations of the four tracks so far, but there is little consolation offered, as the album comes to a close with the sound of all the machines slowly being switched off, until there is just hiss, and then it ends