Purdy – Illumination (Soft)


Illumination, the latest long player from Kevin Purdy, begins with guitar lead fuzz melancholia abreast glistening electronic drones, reflected from the long-distant sun of kraut/prog rock memories and morphed into contemporary sound-scape art. ‘First Light through Mist’s gives hints of the guitar cutting loose, but the restrained sculptural approach plays well for creating forms rather than identity. ‘Heat of the Morning Earth’ stretches the sound of the Prophet 5 into familiar territory for synth lovers, with long choral washes of sound building immanence and overlaying tones, moving through a sonic palette towards a brighter, more delicate and optimistic stance. There’s slight, foreboding growls and wavering modulation for effect. ‘Mountains Dreaming’ brings in the beats, mashed and clanking as they are with spun out sounds in the background. It moves towards a groove, restrained with wisps of noise spinning off beats caught up in a trudge through some sonic liquid forms.

‘Here Above, in Silence’ is as proclaimed, with bird sounds peppering the intro and delicate threads of electronics in bright, yet hesitant forays into the silence. Gulls appear, a hint of static, long drones and wonky low beam key tinkering fills the air which is dense with insect and bird sounds. ‘Cloud Shadows on Hill’ includes the vocals of poet/performer Amanda Stewart (Machines For Making Sense, Metalog) as whispers, hints of words heard with a shadow echo faint and slightly estranged from the listener as with the other vocal parts manipulated into a psyche swirl of gentle menace. It is the most perturbing track on the album, which starts off with a quiet monotone and a slight glitch and scratch before launching into long sharp drones which tower over the ear and seek to induce a disturbance. Purdy brings in a bag of tricks; background noises of disarray, drops of water and a stringed instrument wail that is distorted beyond recognition. It is as if he is aiming for psyche thriller-meets-horror film backing tape, and while the track is convincing I would not ascribe the inclination to its maker, but it does allow for sonic experimentation that is unavailable under many other forms.



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