The Green Kingdom: The Green Kingdom

Pastoral electroacoustic soundscaping of the most evocative and enveloping kind, The Green Kingdom's (Detroit-based graphic designer and sound artist Mike Cottone) self-titled album inaugurates the SEM label in fine style. Sampled textures and field recordings, melting organ chords, tinkling melodies, and cascades of acoustic and electric guitars establish becalmed ambiance throughout the album's nine settings. Electronic ‘noise' is present but not abrasively so; instead, it functions as atmospheric texture, like the rippling static that courses through “Broken Moonbeam” like the crackle of a dying campfire, and the lapping pitter-patter that suggests raindrops in “Cherry Sunrise.” Soft insect noises in “Amniopod” suggest a forest setting while the song's sparkling melodies glisten like sunlight reflecting off a pond's surface. The longest piece, the penultimate “Nocturne2,” pushes beyond the ten-minute mark but Cottone deftly sculpts a beautifully modulated flow throughout. The spirited “Cherry Sunrise” sometimes rises to a near-gallop but the album otherwise opts for meditative ambiance. That The Green Kingdom remains captivating throughout its near hour-long duration despite rarely straying from its bucolic style testifies to the material's superior quality.

September 2007