Cheju – Waiting For Tomorrow (Distant Noise)

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Over the last five years, Wil Bolton (aka Cheju) has easily emerged as one of the UK post-IDM / leftfield electronic scene’s most prolific operators, with an intimidating backcatalogue of physical and web releases that would put to shame many other artists who’ve been putting out tracks for twice as long. This latest album for Distant Noise ‘Waiting For Tomorrow’ certainly sees this prolific workrate continuing, emerging just a few months after his preceding Broken Waves collection on Bolton’s own Boltfish Recordings label. In comparison to earlier Cheju releases such as his Bubble Wrap EP, which was a purely synthetic affair, the eleven tracks gathered here see Bolton instead centering around the use of treated guitars and piano as source material, a shift that sees his meticulous digital productions taking on a distinctly more warm and human-sounding feel.

Whereas on previous Cheju albums the harsh, buzzing synthetic rhythms that stutter beneath ‘Grid Reference’ might have emphasised the cold digital pristine-ness surrounding them, here they’re beautifully counterbalanced by the delicate, almost wide-eyed guitar strokes that flicker gently around them. It’s a metaphor that applies to much of this album – while ‘Sitka’ builds a relentlessly slow emotional undertow by fusing twinkling bells and bluesy guitar bends with fluttering IDM rhythms and what sounds like a Fender Rhodes, before ‘Rose Window’ places complex, flexing snare patterns stuttering beneath a wash of chiming treated guitar plucks and blurred-out bass synths that’s part neo-folk, part prog-rock wander. In this case, it’s precisely this warm, human-sounding edge that results in Waiting For Tomorrow being one of Bolton’s most immediately accessible and satisfying Cheju albums to date.

Chris Downton

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