Ian Hawgood & Friends – Wolven (A Modern Interpretation) (Hibernate / Komu)


These days based between Tokyo and London, ambient producer Ian Hawgood provided the Hibernate label’s first release with his 2009 album ‘Wolfskin’, and in the ensuing time he’s continued to release a steady output of work on labels including Dragon’s Eye and Experimedia, whilst collaborating with the likes of Ofthesky and Maps And Diagrams. Four years on, ‘Wolven (A Modern Interpretation)’ sees Hawgood reworking ‘Wolfskin’ enlisting the aid of cellist Aaron Martin to add new layers of depth, texture and colour to the original album’s tracks. It’s no real surprise to find out that dreams are the main inspiration for the completely beatless and often expansive tracks collected here, and an overarching atmosphere of calm and occasionally melancholy serenity dominates as Hawgood processes cello, guitar, keys and organ through reel to reel tape machines, resulting in a trailing, hypnotic feel.

Opening track ‘The Dance’ sees the lush palette of sounds fading in with a rich wash of harmonic drones that evokes a warm, beatific atmosphere reminiscent of the sun rising as gentle cello tones provide a subtle undertow, before Dag Rosenqvist’s reworking of ‘Blue Type III’ sends delicate, bell-like tones floating out over a brooding backdrop of bass synths, only for the entire track to slowly burst into a droning fire of treated cello and guitar fuzz that maintains an inexorable feeling of calm despite the wall of sound, almost shoegazer textures bleeding from the speakers. Elsewhere, ‘The New World’ gets darker and colder as eerie ringing harmonics give way to a forlorn swell of multi-tracked and phased cellos in what’s easily one of the more classically-tinged offerings here, while Spheruleus’ take on ‘Wolven II’ casts things in a more grainy post-rock light, as trailing, pitched down keys and field recorded sounds crackle beneath gently plucked guitars and wordless, faded vocals. With a second disc included containing further reworkings from bvdub (all of which stretch past the 20 minute mark), there’s a lot to take in here, but all of it is consistently rich and inspired.


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