Harold Nono – To the River Lounge – CD – Bearsuit Records

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Now very occasionally, some unusual blip appears on my audio radar, and I feel compelled to check it out. After a cursory exploration of websites and some tentative enquiries, Bearsuit records, based in the UK passed on this re-release of Harold Nono’s “To the River Lounge”, assuring me that it would be a worthy listen, and that they had not injected sufficient energy into the original release of this work to warrant it any kind of success.Opening with the slightly poppy, and not totally convincing “Lullaby”, I approach the rest of the collection with cautious ears, trying not to be prejudiced, simply because this is not normally “my kind of music” – whatever that may mean.

I am rewarded on subsequent listens with the obtuse and angular workings of “A Shining Space”, that puts me cleanly into Murcof territory. Clipped sampling, and erratic rhythm treatments are very much the order of the day, and appear to be Nono’s stock-in- trade. This is an oddly conflicted collection that at first appears ambient, then suddenly throws in something odd and challenging in equal measure.

This could be Susumo Yokota, or Biosphere, Aphex Twin, or some hybrid offspring of all of the above. Nono occasionally breaches his comfort zone with some extremely beautiful and glistening slices of minimalism, indeed, in my opinion, he is at his best when at his most restrained and reduced. The style of Nono’s work is equally reflected in the charming and naïve painting rendered on the cover. For me, the high points would be the wonderful “Tacky Tigers”, or the meandering, off-centre beauty of closing track, “Lightbox”.

Ok..so this is not normally “my kind of music”, but I am very pleased to announce that this album shows a maturity and depth of vision worthy of some of the artists I have likened it to. If you haven’t encountered the work of Harold Nono, then this would be a fine point of entry to the work of an artist who would appear to be perched on the brink of more prominent recognition. BGN

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About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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