Relmic Statute: Morning Tapes

Talk about full disclosure: Leeds-based artist David Horner (aka Relmic Statute) declares outright that the twelve soundscapes collected on Morning Tapes were produced “individually and sporadically between 2000 and 2009, with no intention of assembling them into an album.” It's refreshing to see a producer resist contriving some grandiose narrative about a release's production evolution and to simply let the material speak for itself. Having said that, perhaps there's some small degree of calculation afoot in disarming the listener so that he/she will bring to the project a more modest set of expectations as a result. Regardless, Horner's soothing, texture-heavy settings impress perfectly well on their own terms, and no supporting rationale is needed for them to do so.

The release, prepared in a limited 200-copy run and rooted in a production methodology that finds Horner splicing together field recordings collected from cassettes and 1/4-inch tape, is aptly titled, not simply for the fact that the source materials—instruments (guitars and keyboards predominantly) and recordings (audio and field) alike—were captured, edited, and processed during the morning hours, but because the material exudes a becalmed, awakening feel. Sounds of the natural and urban environments—water, voices, traffic noise, wind, birds—intermingle in ambient-drone-based settings where organ-like tones softly swirl, guitar streams shimmer, and the pluck of thump pianos resounds. The fifth piece, “Illustration,” exemplifies the album's overall lulling character in presenting a restrained flow of acoustic guitar figures, while “Just A Thought” does much the same when an entrancing guitar motif emerges from streams of radio static to eventually become a folktronic exercise in acoustic picking. Smothered in granular hiss and ambient washes, treated guitar accents flutter like fireflies during “Looking for the Right Spot” and “Rehoiyo,” and “Template for Sand and Forest” perpetuates a spectral, middle-of-the-night rather than early morning feel when insects loudly chatter under the protective cover of darkness. Horner's recording makes for a natural complement to Hibernate's field recordings-oriented discography.

April 2010