Slow Reels is the project comprised of two of our favorite artists: Home Normal boss Ian Hawgood and British composer, musician and sound artist James Murray. Tomorrow, they will release their first collaborative album Farewall Islands which will be out via Morr Music. According to the press release, it combines the love of the first for reel-to-reel tape machines and vintage synthesizers with the latter’s melodicism and richly textured digital sound design.
It is an arresting, fluorescing album that blends full-frequency dronescaping with a slow-burning ambient minimalism. Today we have the pleasure to share the premiere of the track “Shona” which shows their ability to create a fluid and rough flow and an alienating and embracing sound carpet. Listen below and find them on Facebook.
The role of old technology in Slow Reels’ work lends a sense of decay and transience sure to resonate with admirers of William Basinski, Rafael Anton Irisarri and Benoît Pioulard, but the underlying melodies set a clear counterpoint: a longing for the vivid is deeply grounded within this music. The four cinematic, long-form movements of ‘Farewell Islands’ possess a delicate romanticism and emotional urgency that engages and gradually overwhelms the listener.
The islands of the title are both real and notional, as James explains: “places of meaning to both of us in our lives, found now only out of time, belonging outside the present and out of reach”. This nostalgic farewell also marks a fresh beginning, as the duo’s ongoing Brighton-based studio sessions generate further reels of unearthly electronic landscapes that seem to hiss, warble and granulate their own way onto tape.