Various Artists – Down To The Silver Sea (Gecophonic)

A phone rings, an echoing voice invites you to tea, someone giggles, a patient jazz beat marks time, church bells ring; this is the utterly beguiling opening to the rather wonderful ‘Down To The Silver Sea’, a compilation of summer evoking oddtronica commissioned from various artists and gathered on a spinning black vinyl disk by Moon Wiring Club.  The artwork itself, more than worth the price of admission.
‘Morgane’ by Kno deploys finger snaps between bouncing sub-bass beats; a wordless vocal sighing; sun-baked malfunctioning dubstep, its beats stretched into smears, its light clockwork intricacies bathed in synth drone.  Time Attendant’s first offering on the album is lushly weird, full of crackle, manipulated shepherd calls, and primitive beep melodies, summoning memories of clamorous arcade machines.  ‘Dune Buggy’ by Our Head Technician, is a warm electro-funk head-nodder; beneath the bass and rubbery rhythm, clicks and odd bursts of noise twitch and scatter.  ‘Hello Sunshine’ by Sarah Angliss is magically odd; a trilling harpsichord, clanging bells, a heated stillness, a close moist oppression; like turning a corner in a busy park and suddenly finding yourself alone in a hedge-walled garden, full of bizarre statues and its own frightening micro-climate.  Howling Moss’ ‘Pleasant Stroll’ is calming and beatific: seagulls chatter over a blur of humming synths.  Moon Wiring Club’s ‘Voyages De Plaisir’ is a rolling stream of boop and fractured drum loops.  These are just a few of the many highlights.
‘Down To The Silver Sea’ is a wonderfully skewed album full of sonic delights.  A window onto the summer activities of an alternate Britain, a couple of dimensions away; beaches packed with biomorphic weirdness, levitating silver orbs dripping with ice cream, a glistening obsidian smooth shore abutting a sea of resonating metallic flatness.  Still, hot ,calm, and perfectly evocative of summertime bliss and that enhanced set of senses you seem to gain in the hottest months, allowing a greater engagement with your surroundings; the surroundings, in this case, cracked and mysterious.
This is also a compilation that, along with the Collision/Detection and Outer Church collections, shows the electronica of these isles to be in rude and perhaps unprecedented health.

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