Since announcing my new Goth book I have been amazed by the number of e-mails I am receiving from people who seem relieved I am sticking by what I love and helping to promote it! I am somewhat perplexed, as I get more from music now than ever, as many people mention in interviews when I ask them ~ there being such an abundant wealth of material out there to enjoy it’s impossible to be bored, or complacent, and you get hooked on following up new trails. Goth remains at the heart of it all for me, its warmth having revitalized certain areas, like Post-Punk; most of the early 2000’s return to that form having come out of Goth activity rather than feeling jaded by guitar-indie. Ethereal and Heavenly Voices never emerged from generally Indie activity, but came out of 90’s Goth, as has the stylistically linked Steampunk, and the more diminutive Faery scene, popularized by Goth girls late 90’s. Goth having Art as its heart inspires easily, but always with depth, which then leads to impact and here we have an exquisite album of ambient composition that relies entirely on old sounds, and without the Goth ethos seeping into all areas of music it would doubtless have been a rustier, more angular affair, instead of which it’s a delight. So hurrah for Goth and on with the review of Daniel Tuttle’s latest work, with me avoiding any sudden shocks by advising you all to buy it.
A little card came with the CD which explains concisely – ‘All of the sounds used in the recording came from antique sources, including music boxes, ticking grandfather clocks, steam trains, wax cylinder recordings, early mechanical factories and old voices. An old detuned piano played by hesitant ghosts haunts the recordings. A warm static stays in place throughout, a constant reminder of the technical hurdles of early recordings.’ That static actually works as a keepnet on the project, barely noticeable but essential. Mind you, those hesitant ghosts are a bugger in the studio. “Let’s take that one again. Oh, they’ve gone!” (Or have they?)
‘Sleepy/Solitude’ tinkles through a music box, with the static clear, dainty and thoughtful. A threshing rhythm then stokes ‘Threnody To The Quiet Mind’ but the piano moves gently into the foreground, joined by ticking and distant chunky rattling. The piano perks up brightly during ‘The Theft Of Memory’, competing with a deft clutter of mechanisms and moving objects, splintering towards the end and on into the slow drone of a ‘A Trip To My Beating Heart’, which reminded me of an eerie version of the Salvation Army passing in a parallel street, then it mutates into a busy concourse of a station by the sound of it, in the busiest track which doesn’t upset the mood, it’s a weird peak.
‘Your Eyes Have Their Silence’ has more vocals lightly swirling in the dust and there’s a ghostly sheen which slowly grows bolder, and on into the comparatively joyful ‘Of Course, Words Collide’, the music box timid but glowing amid the scattering of worldly activity, which suddenly all stops and we crawl into the darker, contemplative space of ‘Threnody To Our Time Apart’ which has a sorrowful air for all its shuttling rhythm and warm piano.
‘An Incoherent Lullaby’ crackles and chimes sweetly, ‘We Sing As The World Dissolves’ has the sounds of the church filtering in through the haze, for this is often a light experience, and in ‘Sunrise’ we return to the heavier static, the ticking and the end of an old record, with pleasant piano wrinkles, where there’s the feeling of a day gone by, much as on recent Tor Lundvall albums, with a journey completed, a snapshot brought to life.
A short album, which rather works in its favour, but one which avoids the background music tag as it takes you somewhere else; a little strange and jarring initially, but gradually you appreciate being there. A little treasure, all things considered.