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Simon Wickham-Smith

Love & Lamentation

Label: Pogus Productions

Format: CD

Genre: Electronic

In stock

It must have been quite some years since I last heard music by Simon Wickham-Smith, but there was a time when I played it a lot, especially the various albums he recorded with Richard Youngs. But I guess that's how things go. Interest shifts I assume. To be honest, again, I have no idea when I left off, or why. But its good, as well as strange perhaps to see him back on Pogus Productions. On the cover I read that 'not satisfied with making music, he has also been a Buddhist monk in the Tibetan tradition, and is also a translator and scholar of Mongolian and Tibetan literature. Maybe that's why there hasn't been much of his music in recent years. Its not easy to describe the music of Wickham-Smith, both from how it was made and how it sounds. Perhaps he uses a computer to alter his sounds, but I tend to believe that's only in the final stage of the process. I envisage his music as generated with lo-fi means: worn out cassettes, cheap samplers, reel-to-reel tape loops. There are three pieces on this album, all of which seem to be dealing with voices, altered and otherwise. Wickham-Smith takes these, makes loops out of them and crafts a minimalist changing pattern with them. Through the various techniques, which I hope to be lo-fi as outlined before, the sounds are a bit hissy, static, crumbled, warped, folded and of a lower resolution. Chanting like in Sandokai or the three parts of the title piece, or more poetry spoken word in The Kin-Kindness Of Beforehand, this is all excellent stuff, bringing back the good memories of his older work (which, if Vital Weekly wouldn't consume so much of my ear-time, I would grab out and play again). Wickham-Smith's music is like an anthropologic quest for voices connected of rituals, all over the world, from Tibet to Egypt, but he manages to give things a twist of his own, while maintaining a zen-like character to them. Great one. (FdW), Vital Weekly
Cat. number: 21048-2 CD
Year: 2008

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