By The Lowland Hundred
[Exotic Pylon, 2014]
LOCATION: West Wales
A howl of wind and drone. Thunder rumbles. Birdsong mangled in a slew of dragged chains and steel jaws.
Suddenly, piano. A tremelo voice singing: “On a south facing slope, hill snow, frozen mosses grow…”
Welcome to Mid Wales according to The Lowland Hundred, AKA Paul Newland and Tim Noble.
Their third album is an exploratory sonic journey through a landscape of mountains, silver mines and brooding weather fronts. It’s a topography that bears its soul: “The past isn’t here, but the present wears half-remembered dreams and memories. Lichen grows on the rocks. Broken oak.”
This is no bucolic rural Welsh idyll…
The music creaks and splits, shudders and spits. Violence erupts through gaps in the sound. Delicate pianos fight against swells of analogue electronics.
In Part III, a polluted river runs from a mine of silver, as guitars tumble over the brow and the industrial cloud-seeding begins:
“My silver iodide generator… Generator, cloud city!”
By the fourth part, the rocks, streams and chattering birds are sucked into whirlpools of Hammond and glockenspiel. Newland’s plaintive voice sound close in your ear, then tinnier, further away, until it echoes from within a deep crevasse. This is a world that can swallow you up.
Take a walk with The Lowland Hundred. Hear for yourself.