Sub Loam: The Ley Hunter's Companion
Dissolving Records

Issued on his own Dissolving label, The Ley Hunter's Companion revisits the approach Thomas Shrubsole (aka Sub Loam) brought to his previous outing, 2010's 2, which arrived in a paper bag containing the CD and four tinted photographs in a hand-numbered, 110-copy run. A half-hour mini-album, the new release likewise appears in a hand-numbered, limited edition of 230 copies, with this time the CD accompanied by a full-colour, fourteen-inch poster that shows on one side a customized map detail and an enigmatic landscape rendering on the other. The two releases' musical contents differ dramatically, however, with 2 's two primeval soundscapes worlds removed from the long-form synthesizer excursions presented on The Ley Hunter's Companion.

Animated by a two-toned series of syncopated synthesizer chords, “Lines in the Landscape” guides the listener on a scenic, fourteen-minute cruise through the open countryside. The mood is jubilant, gleeful even, with the bright squiggle of the synthesizers filling the air with sparkle and an electric guitar-like instrument eventually fleshing out the sound with its soloing presence. Even more so than in the opener, we're very much within a kosmische universe of sequencers and oscillators during “Odyssey,” which tinkles and swirls radiantly for a bubbly seventeen minutes. Both pieces convey a strong sense of perpetual motion, and their more pronounced focus on melody and rhythm help make the new release, on musical grounds, a more satisfying and accessible outing than its predecessor.

October 2011