Williamette: Always In Postscript
Own Records

Recent days have seen a marked increase in the number of cello-based recordings arriving at textura's doorstep. Last year, for example, splendid releases by The OO-Ray (Astoria) and Jody Redhage (Of Minutiae and Memory) were issued, and even more recently the exquisite string playing of Danny Norbury (The Boats' Ballads of The Research Department), Marvin Ayres (Harmogram), and Aaron Martin (From the Mouth of the Sun's Woven Tide) has distinguished the releases on which they appear. The trend continues with Willamette's Always In Postscript, whose sound world isn't necessarily cello-based but nevertheless is enhanced by the inclusion of strings.

The recording follows closely on the heels of Echo Park, the group's recent Infraction release, and once again features the brothers David and Kevin Chong (aka Northern) working with Willamette third member Joseph Yonker. Always In Postscript is a distinctive affair on a number of other counts, too. It's issued as a ten-inch vinyl release, first of all (in a limited edition of 300), is a svelte half-hour in duration, and was composed (between 2009-2011) for Charles Lim Yi Yong's film All the Lines Flow Out, which was screened at the Venice Film Festival in 2011 and whose images offer a visual travelogue of Singapore. The music itself is pretty much what a listener familiar with Echo Park might expect: decaying dreamscapes built up from tapes, strings, and dense ambient textures and infused with nostalgia—romantic music for the ambient soundscape era.

The cello's plaitive voice surfaces amidst forceful ambient flow during “A Year Of Failure, A Year Of Fortune” and likewise emerges during “Open Wounds (For J.N.),” albeit more subtly given the more dominant presence of the accompanying sound materials. “Always in Postscript” adds a Satie-like tone to the album in its focus on wistful piano playing, even if the instrument quickly ends up being submerged within a dense mass of ambient strings and vapours. On occasion a field recording will find the real world intruding and consequently pulling the listener out of a deep state of reverie. At other times, the album's ambient meditations are as immersive as a four-minute setting could possibly be (e.g., “Images d'une longueur de cheveux”). Admittedly, it's only natural to be reminded of Stars Of The Lid and William Basinski while listening to Always In Postscript (and Echo Park), though there's certainly nothing objectionable about that.

February 2012