Wednesday, 3 April 2013

DOA review Lamorna

Matthew Shaw - Lamorna
Matthew Shaw – Lamorna
Spring has come late to Britain this year. As the last of the unseasonal snow thaws and flower buds reluctantly open Matthew Shaw’s Lamorna seems a fitting soundtrack. Minimalist sounds stir behind tentative birdsong as spring makes its slow arrival. In fact, the album was recorded last summer at the pretty fishing village and cove in Cornwall the album takes its name from.
The peripatetic instrumentalist’s wanderings have taken him to Seatown, Sandbanks, the woods of Zeist, and the inner city of Vancouver. Lamorna was recorded on location during a week-long trip last summer. The four pieces are enchanting compositions of carefully arranged and mixed field recordings, synths and processed samples. It’s an esoteric subject for an album but whilst the sounds evoke the bobbing ocean, quaint lanes and grey brick houses of Lamorna they can just as easily provide a soundtrack for any surroundings the listener happens to be in – Cambridge during a cold grey March in this case.
It’s a protracted album with the title track lasting over 19 minutes but the essential elements could be distilled down to something half that length. The slow, processed strings of opener “Rosemerrynwood” set the mood perfectly but this piece too outstays its welcome. “Dans Maen” is a more appropriate length. At just under nine minutes it is long enough to immerse yourself in its ethereal soundscape but it does not meander too much. The vocal loops combining into a heavenly chorus at the end are one of the record’s most distinctive moments.
Lamorna is an album to be listened to from start to finish. Field recordings of birds and running water, and abstract melodies recur and complement each other across the four pieces, weaving them together into one beautiful composition. A little more focus and less repetition would make it easier to digest but this album offers an escape to an enchanting world and much needed inner calm.

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