RICHARD A. INGRAM: Happy Hour (White Box Recordings)


Posted on Jun 30th 2011 01:23 am

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Richard A. Ingram: Happy Hour

Happy Hour
White Box Recordings 2011
04 Tracks. 52mins30secs

Boomkat: CD

A year on from the release of his impressive solo debut, Consolamentum, Manchester-based musician Richard A. Ingram returns with another slab of implacably sombre cinematic electronic music. Released once again on the excellent White Box, Happy Hour is a particularly bleak and oppressive affair, with which Ingram continues to explore intricate textural soundscapes and arrange them into a powerful soundtrack.

Articulated around four lengthy tracks, ranging from ten-and-a-half to fifteen minutes, each with their own intense tone and mood, Happy Hour is at once extremely disturbing and deeply haunting. If some of the sound sources used on Consolamentum occasionally revealed their provenance, the murky atmosphere which spreads over the whole of Happy Hour corrodes those used here until they become totally unidentifiable, appearing in more advanced stages of decay as the album progresses. Formed of dense stormy clusters of sounds, distorted and granular, which almost imperceptibly change from one drone structure to another, Agile Drone is a harrowing atmospheric piece which becomes even more unsettling when it is subjected to hammering blows in its later part. The mood lightens up slightly with Truncheon Tree as a heavy dub sequence appears to hover in between worlds, as if in suspension, its warm aftershock pulsating throughout the whole piece. This happens at such a slow rate however that it seems to develop outside of reality, as if it was punching through thick layers of smoke. It takes almost half of its ten minute course for the motif to come into full focus, and its backdrop continues to grow for some time after that, until it unexpectedly collapses upon itself, leaving the original dub motif to slowly crash and burn.

The album then reaches a very different stage with Chaos Fortifier and Retro Morph. While quite different in their respective narrative, both pieces rely on vast sonic spaces, filled with environmental sounds and noises, miniature textures greatly amplified, every crack and bump magnified to reveal their ugly reality. These particularly austere soundscapes are swept by chilling air currents, their relative peace disturbed by what could be trains in the distance (Chaos Fortifier) or ebbing and flowing urban sprawl (Retro Morph). While the former is almost entirely devoid of any musical aspect, except for a very faint motif, perhaps a voice calling out for help or a looped fragment of incidental music, toward the end, the latter resonates with seemingly disjointed notes which eventually form, for a time at least, some kind of vague melodic structure. In its later part, it is as if the sound of a bowed guitar had been slowed down so much that all subsisted of its primal form was a low hanging hum.

Even more so than with his debut album, Richard A. Ingram has created here a truly absorbing soundtrack, its dark and oppressive soundscapes, while undoubtedly of their time, serving a much more grandiose and timeless purpose. Ingram has very convincingly moved on from the unsettling tones of Consolamentum to experiment with much more ambitious set ups. Highly recommended.


Richard A. Ingram | Richard A. Ingram (Souncloud) | White Box Recordings
Boomkat: CD

WHITEBOX011 – Richard A Ingram ‘Happy Hour’ CD Sampler by whitebox

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
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One Response to “RICHARD A. INGRAM: Happy Hour (White Box Recordings)”

  1. Happy Hour? « Richard A Ingramon 01 Aug 2011 at 6:55 pm

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