MONTY ADKINS: Fragile.Flicker.Fragment (Audiobulb Records)


Posted on Apr 10th 2011 11:38 pm

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Monty Adkins: Fragile.Flicker.Fragment

Audiobulb Records 2011
09 Tracks. 53mins49secs

Amazon UK: DLD US: DLD Boomkat: DLD

After reading music at Cambridge University, specializing in French medieval and Italian Renaissance music, Monty Adkins became interested in electronic and electro-acoustic music and went on to become a member of the Birmingham Electro-acoustic Sound Theatre, a formation attached to the music department at the University of Birmingham. This led him to work on very diverse projects, from sound installations and scoring for a contemporary dance piece to curating a project for INA-GRM to celebrate the work of Pierre Schaefer, the man widely regarded as the father of musique concrète.

Adkins’s last record, Five Panels, recorded with bass guitarist Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, was inspired by the paintings of Mark Rothko. Equally, his latest opus finds its source in the work of London-based painter Pip Dickens and that of Brass Art, a collective of artists based in Manchester (Chara Lewis), Huddersfield (Kristin Mojsiewicz) and Glasgow (Anneke Pettican). While Adkins plays a range of instruments here (clarinet, electric guitar, accordion and organ), and also provide vocal inputs, the album features contributions from Lisa Colton (viol) and Tremblay (music box). These acoustic sources are then processed into wonderfully fluid ambient pieces which often feel extremely dreamy.

Memory Box opens this album with delicate music box motifs which appear to progressively be echoed in much subdued form in the backdrop, with additional field recordings dropped in to add glitches and texture. This is also how Adkins choses to close the album, but, if anything, the mood is even more subdued and ethereal on Memory Etching, with the music box notes becoming as light and clear as raindrops. In between, Adkins creates a splendid series of varied soundscapes which develop into sumptuous pieces, ranging from the lush and vaporous Etched In Air or Remnant, which both sound like psychedelic electronic endeavours as heard through a thick hallucinogenic haze, slowed down to a point of near immobility. While the sound sources are virtually unidentifiable in these two pieces, Suspended Edges reveals its core component, an organ, from the start and continues to build on its warm and rounded sounds. Elsewhere, the sound sources are even more obvious. The music box makes another appearance on First Snow, but here, the sounds are treated and looped into tight sequences and pressed into a much more confined space, scintillating brightly, albeit somewhat briefly. An accordion gently swells on the spiralling Ode, and viol on the moody Torn Mosaic, Lisa Colton providing a series of suitably mournful motifs which Adkins fragments or expands, adding occasional earthy found sounds.

All throughout, Monty Adkins create extremely delicate miniature structures which, as the album title indicates, appear to flicker constantly, like tiny beacons of light in the night, their refined forms developing in the most fluid fashion. Adkins processes his sound sources with great care, placing them as to get the best out of every single one of them.


Monty Adkins | Monty Adkins (MySpace) | Audiobulb Records
Amazon UK: DLD US: DLD Boomkat: DLD

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