Ian Hawgood: Slow Films in Low Light
Though credited to Ian Hawgood, the fourteen tracks on Slow Films In Low Light are more accurately Hawgood's work as refracted through the artistic sensibilities of kindred spirits, many of them associated with his Home Normal, Tokyo Droning, and Nomadic Kids Republic labels. Specifically, artists were asked to re-work material from Hawgood's now-deleted Soundtrack To A Film In My Head Which Will Never Get Made (Rope Swing Cities), and the result is a sixty-seven-minute collection that offers an encapsulating overview of the electro-acoustic ambient genre. A mere scan of the participants' names—The Remote Viewer, Geskia!, The Green Kingdom, Library Tapes, Ten and Tracer, and Chihei Hatakeyama among them—will tip the listener off as to what to expect (the release should strongly appeal to fans of flau and mü-nest).
A tranquil garden of delicate melodies, electric piano sprinkles, and summery ambiance, “A Film by The Remote Viewer” (all tracks share the same title format) is especially lovely, but then so too are the bucolic dreamscapes by The Green Kingdom and Ten and Tracer, and Danny Norbury's soothing mix of cello, synthetics, and piano. Pieces by Yuri Miyauchi, Miko, and Hatakeyama sparkle and shimmer as radiantly. Compared to the meditative character of many pieces, Color Cassette's charming folktronic track is jauntier and buoyant, suggestive of someone taking in the countryside on horseback. Geskia! contributes a signature slice of downtempo ambient-hip-hop to the collection, Hannu's spacier, synth-heavy piece has its head more in the upper stratospheres than on terra firma, and, in a surprising twist, He Can Jog dresses up synthetically drenched piano pop with a smooth vocal turn by Nick Sanborn. Bolstering the release's appeal, Hawgood's carries on the spirit of generosity exemplified by the artists in his decision to donate all proceeds generated by the release to charity, specifically The Archway Foundation, a UK-based organization established in 1982 by his father to help those deeply affected by loneliness.