THE INWARD CIRCLES – BEFORE WE LIE DOWN IN DARKNESSE
The Inward Circles is one of the aliases of Richard Skelton. On his sixth album as The Inward Circles he ‘continues his preoccupation with decay and transformation’. One look at the album title is enough that this will not be an album of hedonistic happiness. The track titles confirm this: for example the last two pieces are called The Glory Of The World Is Surely Over and To End Their Days In Fire. These titles, by the way, are all taken from Thomas Browne’s Urn Burial (1658)
This album came to life when Skelton found an fifty-year-old vinyl album with Baroque recorder music in a charity shop. There’s no sound of any recorder on it, however: he only used the last six seconds of the runout groove to create these compositions. The result is less minimalistic than this may sound: the sounds of the runout groove are heavily manipulated into layered chords that form these compositions.
Overall, the atmosphere is sad, as expected, but not hopeless: ‘the music of ‘Before We Lie Down in Darknesse‘ glimmers all the more brightly because it is recuperated from a source that is on the point of disappearing. Even as Skelton acknowledges—via the words of Thomas Browne—our seemingly inevitable descent into impending darkness, he cannot help but offer a small gesture of hope; a belief in the possibility of change and renewal’.
BRAD E. ROSE – I’M SCARED OF DYING
An album title as a direct personal statement full of existential dread… What can we expect it to sound like? I guess that depends on what mood the listener is in at the time of listening. I didn’t feel it sounded very dark, or scared, even though the hazy soundscapes do sound like they’re built from insecurities at times.
And also like the sound of insomnia: according to Brad E. Rose, the music began as a series of vignettes he made late at night while he could not sleep. They grew into a six-part 35-minute piece that plays uninterrupted.
‘If I wake up in the middle of the night and don’t get back to sleep immediately, my mind flips on and just starts going. Those small pieces were a way I tried to quiet the barrage, with soft, resonant explorations; the
sounds of water and shaded drones. It mostly didn’t work.’
Often, when he did so, his daughter came out in the middle of the night to see what he was doing. Which made him think about what it would be for her if he wasn’t around anymore. ‘I’m terrified of not being with them’ – a feeling I guess most parents will recognize. And that’s where the fear of dying came from.
Again: the music is not as dark and death-obsessed as this may sound. It’s the opposite, actually. It helped Rose to put the pieces together, ‘channeling the dark and amorphous horizon into a focused beam of light’. It worked for him: ‘lately, I am feeling better about being afraid’.
I’m Scared Of Dying is released on Room40 and is only available as a digital download.