(Sustain-Release)

Richard Skelton owns a unique style resulting from the conjunction of see-through elements and the extreme care with which he assembles them. That’s enough to warrant sonic poetry of the highest order, and Box Of Birch is the inevitable confirmation of the validity of this process and the depth of the man himself. Already at its second edition – this time limited to 100 copies with the customary individually dedicated manual artwork – this CD features the best music that I’ve heard from Skelton to date, pregnant with the total awareness of an inescapable regret which – creatively speaking – is exactly the key to those questions that people usually refuse to raise. The constituents of these four ravishing mantric improvisations revolve around strings, an accordion (…harmonium? Both?), dangling objects, piano, found sounds and percussion, various kinds of loops. There’s a splendid description on the cover, that – in between other words – talks about “barbed wire blues”, “dense thickets of slack strings” and “accordion mists gathering in the early morning light”. I can picture Skelton opening the windows, breathing deep, inhaling the humid air and sitting down to reflect for long silent moments. Then embracing his “slacked-string” violin and starting a chant coming from the very inside, inconspicuous proximities suddenly called out to accompany the newest exploration of a past that’s still grieving, but might lead him to a radiant future. This is one of those human beings who will be allowed to see what’s going to happen when our physical package has crumbled, and if you’re smart follow my advice: items like this come only every once in a while, in extremely small doses. We have to realize that they are there, earlier than the undeserving ones. We need to reassure ourselves that such a purity of intents still exists. This man’s foresight is enhanced by someone who is invisible to us, yet by listening to what he’s able to generate it becomes obvious that his art is just another shape for a soul to manifest itself.

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