Monday, 25 May 2009

A Broken Consort - Box Of Birch

A Broken Consort is the moniker for one of Lancashire artist Richard Skelton's musical projects, it's meaning is originally, to stand for an ensemble whose instruments are not all from the same family (read more here)

Richard Skelton is an artist from Lancashire, UK, who has created and collaborated in spine tingling music under a number of guises including Heidika, Riftmusic, Carousell, Harlassen and Clouwbeck. He has released two albums of A Broken Consort material on his own private press, the Sustain-Release project. This creative press was born as a commemorative tribute to his late wife Louise, with the intention of publishing her artwork alongside his own musical offerings. The second A Broken Consort album Box of Birch, originally released in 2007, has recently been picked up and given a second airing via New York label Tompkins Square

It's difficult to encapsulate the type of music this is, classically orientated, yet adventurous and experimental, with a twist of an ambient brooding film soundtrack thrown in; a hybrid of musical families if you like! The promotional material suggests "Skelton creates powerful, instrumental music out of densely-layered acoustic guitar, bowed strings, piano, mandolin and accordion, often laced with delicate, shimmering percussion. The result is something utterly unique" It's hard to argue with that description and fans of Peter Broderick would do well to investigate further.

I have to confess had this one nearly slipped through the net, as I was alerted to it earlier in the year, yet put it on the back burner, despite taking to the music and being particularly impressed by the sumptuous packaging "It was originally published in a boxed edition that contained, among other things, birch twigs collected from the West Pennine Moors" Skelton showed beautiful attention to detail that pushed this release from being being just 'a product' into an artifact, longing to be treasured. It took a nudge from that venerable music magazine Mojo - designed for ageing rock collector bores, a demographic circle in which Scratchy hits right in the bulls eye, who have given Box Of Birch a favourable write up in their 'The Vinyl Countdown' column in the July 2009 issue.

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