|The Lowland Hundred|
|The Lowland Hundred|
The Lowland Hundred — The Lowland Hundred (16th June 2014)
Formed: November 2008. Aberystwyth, West Wales, UK.
Location: Aberystwyth, Wales
Album release: 16th June 2014
Record Label: Exotic Pylon Records
1 The Lowland Hundred (Part 1) 11:58
2 The Lowland Hundred (Part 2) 7:56
3 The Lowland Hundred (Part 3) 9:06
4 The Lowland Hundred (Part 4) 10:16
Ξ "The Lowland Hundred is the third album from the Aberystwyth–based duo of Paul Newland and Tim Noble. It completes a loose trilogy of albums that conceptually explore a spectral and fading assortment of memories, landscapes and communities — a warm melancholia rooted around a psychogeographical exploration of the sublime and picturesque landscape of Mid Wales. With their extended, subtle and complex approach to song structures and Newland’s astonishing voice previous albums Under Cambrian Sky and Adit have drawn comparison to Talk Talk, Robert Wyatt and Kevin Ayers amongst others. The haunted middle–aged doubt of The Blue Nile seems just as relevant and the duo’s hugely affecting, impressionistic landscape–saturated sound links back to an older tradition of composers such as Debussy and Ravel. Sometimes great art falls through the cracks though, and nobody hears. So Newland and Noble have retreated into the studio, deeper than ever before and have now re–emerged with The Lowland Hundred. And it is an unqualified exceptional monumental masterpiece. The Lowland Hundred is what happens when artists give up on worrying if their particular obsessions have a place left in the world and chase a vision down to its core regardless of the outcome. The result then is these four fearless songscapes, in retrospect the logical outcome for the duo but initially shocking as to how far out The Lowland Hundred have drifted. Vast waves of analogue and digital noise and silence, field recordings and Foley work, piano and guitar all spun into a remarkable sonic novel — Proustian recall from fog, hills and ice sung out by Newland’s extraordinary siren tones. I can’t compare it to anything so I’m not even going to bother but atmospheric reference points might be the Tim Buckley’s Lorca and middle point between Scott Walker’s Climate of Hunter and Tilt matched to the radical inventiveness of Disco Inferno’s D.I. Go Pop. Yes it really is THAT good. It’s impossible to say where this album belongs. It doesn’t belong to a scene or a movement or even a recognisable time and place (time and place disorientate wildly here). But it belongs to anybody who believes that the Song still has power, can still throw out new illuminations, colours and shadows. This is dense meditation that will live inside the listener for years to come. The Lowland Hundred is the sound of joy, of heartbreak and of undaunted vision." Ξ http://boomkat.com/
Press: Rich Hanscomb. Type PR, Brighton. email:
Twitter Tim: https://twitter.com/tim_lh
Ben Graham, July 26th, 2010 14:06
Ξ The Lowland Hundred is the English translation of Cantre'r Gwaelod, the mythical lost kingdom said to lie beneath Cardigan Bay on the west coast of Wales. Though beneath sea level, the lands were protected in ancient times by a great dyke with sluice gates that were opened at low tide to drain the water from the highly fertile land, and closed again as the tide turned. The earliest legend has it that the responsibility for the gates belonged to the maiden Mererid, who allowed the lands to be flooded one night when she was distracted from her duty by the amorous advances of a visiting king. A later version places the watchman at a party in Aberystwyth when the storm blew up, too pissed to close the gates before the sea rushed in, drowning sixteen villages. Those who escaped — the king and some of his court — fled to the Welsh mainland, there to eke out a living as poor farmers for the rest of their days. It's said that if you listen closely on quiet Sunday mornings, you can still hear the village bells ringing out from under the waves.
Ξ The Lowland Hundred is also the musical venture of Paul Newland and Tim Noble, who have taken the legend as a metaphor for loss, sense of place and the way that, if we make the effort, we can tune in to a hidden world suggested by, but subtly different to, the real, physical landscape around us — the world of memory and imagination, of a past that is gone and a dream that never was. The album is less a collection of songs than a single musical piece split into seven movements: melodic and lyrical phrases recur as spare, melancholy piano and vocals rise from, then are submerged beneath, a shifting tide of field recordings and treated found sounds that range from the pastoral and evocative to the sinister, disorienting and frankly terrifying. Under Cambrian Sky is described as a concept album about the pair's adopted hometown of Aberystwyth, and so it is; but it's also about different ways of seeing and perceiving, about how the most mundane moments can become magical and mysterious, sometimes whether you like it or not.
Ξ 'Cambrian Sky,' the opening piece, uses the image of the electric cliff railway that climbs the town's Constitution Hill as a symbol of isolation and transience, the trains constantly passing but never touching, and imagines a lifetime haunted by an image glimpsed, for a moment, through a moving window. Having ridden to the hill's top, we find the Victorian 'Camera Obscura' where, over droning feedback and low, minor chords on the piano, we watch as "children paddle in the Irish Sea" and "Curtains move in Alexandra Hall, Starlings roosting underneath the eaves." Eruptions of distorted but recognisable sounds make the commonplace strange, and 'The Bruised Hill' is made up almost entirely of found sounds — water trickling, gates crashing, birdsong, passing traffic — treated with echo and held together by feedback wails and deep, ominous piano chords. Hauntology has become something of a debased term in music criticism, applied to an increasingly wide spectrum of records and seemingly meaning very different things to different people, but to me this is an example of the form at its purest; conjuring sound–ghosts from the ether and creating a sense of time and place that can only exist in the listener's imagination.
Ξ In mapping out their aural psychogeography, The Lowland Hundred are not afraid of silence. It's the blank canvas on which they paint, and much of this record is very quiet indeed, gently lulling you with simple, sorrowful songs that bear comparison with Robert Wyatt or Kevin Ayers, before sudden eruptions of noise tear you from your reverie like an unexploded bomb suddenly going off on a sleepy Welsh hillside. There's something, too, of British Seapower in their sound — or at least, of BSP's more experimental, post–rock side, mournful, expansive and delicate, and also in lyrics about Silurian rock strata, cormorants and kestrels flying overhead. Few other contemporary musical artists have conveyed such a grasp of Britain as a geographical space, as distinct from observations of class differences and social tradition.
|The Lowland Hundred|
|The Lowland Hundred|