15 September 2017


early music 2017, edition of 225

"Acoustic slide guitar improvisations accompanied by external arbitrary sounds, natural and otherwise; recorded in and outside, with and without electricity, in Stockport and Stockholm, 2016–17. 'What sounds tend to get silenced in the production of a record? Sounds are a perpetual and dynamic property of all landscapes but the walls and circuits of music studios largely exclude biophonic, geophonic and anthrophonic ambient sounds. If the unintended silencing of organisms by a myriad of human activities provides yet another indication of our impact on the planet's ecosystems should we be concerned about the role of music in normalising this silence? Collin's conscious broadening of presented sound, most prominently the inclusion of ambient birdsong, sirens, and aviation noise, is not novel and it is not necessarily a response to this question. However, his guitar playing acousmatically smashes the taxonomy of sound used above. It shares palettes and forms with vocalizing and stridulating animals, wind, rain, thunder and electromechanical devices without aping them or labouring under the conceit that it might meaningfully communicate with them. It is, however, attuned to the fact that a soundscape is necessarily made up of interfering and integrated signals. This approach choruses, without clarion calling, the quandary and challenge of collectively accepting responsibility for our species' impact on the stability of ecological systems whilst understanding that we are not external to them.' – Jon Marshall, 2017 -- Edition of 225 copies – comes with paste-on two-colour risograph-printed sleeve and single-colour risograph-printed insert." - EARLY MUSIC

"deeply affected sparse flickering improvisation merges monastic meditation and appalachian lonerism like nothin i've ever heard, to be sure this is fringe music, a profound gem found well off the beaten path of 'solo acoustic guitar music'" - that's how i described COLLIN's music two years and a day ago concerning EARLY MUSIC [REC #67] --the album, not COLLIN's sub label of the same name responsible for this, his latest long player-- and i now say the same of THE NATURE, but with more conviction, both as an ever increasingly fanatic fan and because i regard THE NATURE as COLLIN's best solo work yet, better than anything and everything in or around COLLIN's catalog except for his rapturous foray with IRMA VEP and TOM SETTLE [REC #110] - but, i think of that being of an entirely different universe, so this might as well stand as thee album in the style of what i've come to describe as "fringe folk" that any unfamiliar or otherwise curious listener should hear, as it does an excellent job of expressing and encapsulating the style and also strikes a balance between accessibility and abstraction - there's something particularly special in the ways and means presented here i think, that makes THE NATURE most likely to succeed for fans and newcomers alike

THE NATURE comes with a purpose-driven overtone elaborately spelled out in the write up, kinda like ANDREW WEATHERS ENSEMBLE's BUILD A MOUNTAIN [REC #196] - but in THE NATURE's case it doesn't translate quite as completely in the music - the extent of "biophonic ambient sounds" included and their significance, both to the music itself and as a statement or tenet of a certain ecological social psychology (?), though duly noted and empathized, are a bit overstated by my measure, but honestly i'm kinda glad the "birdsong, sirens and aviation noise" came in under the line, as somethin like that can go overboard in a hurry

THE NATURE's perfection is what i've come to expect from COLLIN, fringe folk meditations, inspired improvisation, avant american primitive, perhaps? well, by way of stockholm, by way of manchester --i think that's right-- with some sort of eastern thread somehow woven in this gordian knot, or some vague approximation thereof, often landing in a way out twilight zone somewhere between BASHO and JANDEK - experimental, spiritual (?), visceral, whatever you care to label it, THE NATURE is absolutely brilliant - there's just somethin about COLLIN's music, his style, his approach, his vibe - he's the best there is, no question about it