Monday, April 28, 2014

Loving ... "variations for the celesta" by Twincities

"variations for the celesta" by Twincities is a truly magical experience. From the opening sounds of 'prelude in E major' to the closing reverb of a bell on '(sings)' I was gently held under Fletcher McDermott's spell.

When you consider all the tracks were based around recordings of an old celesta that McDermott personally made and that approximately 80% of the audio on “variations for the celesta” is originally from the celesta, it is easy to consider why one would become so easily entranced.

The soundscapes presented on this, the first release on the fledgling microlabel "eilean rec." from Mathias Van Eecloo of Monolyth & Cobalt, are stunning. They bewitch the listener with their subtlety and effortless grace. It seems ironic how utterly effortless these tracks sound considering the effort McDermott has actually put into them ... but they are. The music seems almost natural as if it is an expression of the natural world, an expression that just needs to be found and heard.

No single track stands out to me on “variations for the celesta”  because all the tracks work together to form a body of work that is simply magnificent. Through the exemplary electronic manipulation of the sounds, the listener is given an immersive body of work to rest within and experience.

And I think this is the key to the magic of this album, it needs to be experienced. While “variations for the celesta” can and does work well as 'background music' it deserves so much more ... it deserves the listener's attention. Like all the best magic tricks, the listener needs to suspend their disbelief and allow themselves to be enveloped. This is headphone music of the very best sort, it deserves attention and rewards this attention with some of the very best ambient soundscapes I have heard in a long, long time.

Highly recommended.




1. prelude in E major 03:03
2. evenings wait; the morning’s break 07:59
3. early ferns 04:08
4. the sun looks quite ghostly when there’s a mist on the river and everything’s quiet 03:46
5. faint whirs of the smallest motor 03:55
6. they carried teapots and tiny gas canisters 01:30
7. a ship’s bell (sings) 05:06
8. the weight of the frost on a branch 05:59
9. and the guitar plays war hymns 06:23
10. (sings) 06:22

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