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Cat no: COFN008CD
Total time: 41.23
With this his sixth full album, Simon Lomax’s 5 Textures again demonstrates the sound of an ever evolving artist, whilst retaining the best elements of his previous work. Using his favoured tools of samples, reverb, filters and echo, Lomax now takes command with highly processed guitar. Though an instrument he has played for over 25 years he only began his experimentations with the atmospheric potential of guitar on his last album, A Glimmer of Memory. Treated with masterful production the guitar becomes almost unrecognisable as an instrument at times sounding like a distant echo and at others more similar to a reverberant cathedral organ than a stringed instrument.
It would be true to say that Lomax takes broader brush strokes with this album, for example for the piece '3 Hours of Night', creating the soundtrack based purely on the intensity of the burnt red sky he saw while flying into Helsinki late at night. This approach is perhaps in line with his recent Film and TV music successes; pieces that focus less on structure and more on describing perfectly a time, a place, a feeling.
01 If There's Such a Thing as Nothing
02 Waiting for Sunrise
03 Sometimes I Disappear
04 An Echo, Unseen
05 To Find Stillness in the Waiting
06 3 Hours of Night (the 6th texture)
What people are saying
“5 Textures (41’09”) demonstrates that the music making abilities of Simon Lomax are at a veteran’s level. An album designed for playing late at night, 5 Textures explores an interior world of ideas and emotions. Exposing glimpses of his dark side, Lomax presents six works of uncharted solitude. The opening piece feels like a small infinity, traveling towards the unknown – yet there are five more well-executed tracks in wait. On this album harmony is represented as a figure undifferentiated from the sonic landscape. Abstracted and fragmented forms, and not subject, are the principle carriers of meaning. Lonely piano notes proceed above breathing atmospheres, as clean guitar plucks gain color through grains of distortion. Forlorn chords undulate, and hang in the air, while otherworldly voices permeate the soundspace. A sustaining violin note briefly offers something familiar, only to recede amidst the flow of lush electronic current. Beneath Lomax’s vast chill designs is a burning ember. His realizations grow out of the free blending of process and intuition. Lomax has imagined himself quite deeply into the world he presents here. Elegant and haunting, serenely powerful, 5 Textures is ever in motion, ever in flux.
To categorize it as an Ambient album would undercut Lomax’s achievement. The spell created by slow motion tone clouds and iced over synthesizers opens up a zone where beauty exists as part of daily life, and not as an escape from it. His use of sound can be dramatic, but also infinitely subtle in its scale of values – as the music Lomax makes traces a seductive arc from darkness to light, from melancholy to hope. His work belongs to the elegiac and inventive world where but a few respected spirits dwell.”
– Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END
“Dissolving and immersion in the beckoning silence of a foggy world would be an appropriate description in a nutshell for Simon Lomax’s release 5 Textures
The spacious, gentle evolving glide of emotive, cinematic-flavored and at times slightly blurred soundscapes on each of the six tracks merges the ethereal, the surreal and the timeless with a range of sophisticated samples, tools, reverb, filters and echoes while playing a highly processed guitar. The first glimpses of the latter where already present on “A Glimmer of Memory”, where minimalist textural landscapes gave a voice to silent, hidden environs.
The smooth, subtle layered atmospherics and occasional piano notes on the 41-minute “5 Textures” all submerge into a deeper scale of things, especially on the glowing “Sometimes I Disappear” and “An Echo, Unseen” where the treated sounds of the stringed instrument simply swirl and create an elevated sonic aura. The last two pieces tip over the edge, both addressing an introspective, lucid aural realm on the beauty of isolation and remoteness. The composer refers to it as emotional on a visceral level.
This meticulously crafted, intrinsic and in-depth soundscape music of “5 Textures” lines up nicely next to those by Dirk Serries, Jeff Pearce and Steve Roach, though airs its own distinct character, alternate cinematic narrative and inner dimensions.”
Bert Strolenberg – Sonic Immersion
Simon Lomax, in UK based guitar soundcarver is active since the end of the 90's, when he debuted under the pseudonym Maitreya with album "From The Mothership" (1999). On his own Council Of Nine label another two Maitreya releases followed, "Telluric Waves" (2003) and ".74" (2004). Then after longer break, lasting over 8 years, when mostly working as one of the main creators on co-developing the Music Skills System, a music teaching methodology, Simon Lomax again returned to composing and releasing his dronescaping muses through Council Of Nine. This time under his name, the year 2013 saw a CD album "Zone Of Cold", followed by "A Glimmer Of Memory" in 2014 on UK's ...txt label. The most recent album on glass mastered format is "5 Textures" on Council Of Nine, which is out, if I am right, since February 2015. Minimalistic elusive artwork, which is one of the earmarks of each album by Simon Lomax, masterfully displays the atmosphere. I must add that Simon Lomax is also involved in composing music for various TV shows and independent films. So when taking into account all above facts, I have no idea why it took me long time before I have explored this enormously gifted virtuoso. My radars simply didn't work properly in this case, shame on me!!! As far I remember, it was eTripper's review several months ago somewhere on Amazon (thanks, man!!!), which turned me into this composer and since then I am deeply fascinated by truly unique atmospheres Simon Lomax is able to forge with his processed guitar manipulations. "5 Textures" is undoubtedly the best example exhibiting all of his ingenious insignias!!!
"If There's Such A Thing As Nothing" unwraps in a truly jaw-dropping way when revealing with slowly emerging monochromatic, yet multi-dimensional desolations, thrillingly mindscaping, which are soon joined by exquisitely evocative meridians, harmoniously enrapturing and intriguingly ear-piercing. Heavy drone hums join this sonic splendor as well and guarantee a superb workout for your speakers. A pure 8 and a half minutes long aural bliss awaits here, certainly an Ambient Hall of Fame composition, bravo Simon!!! "Waiting For Sunrise" remains on utterly immersing path and incorporates some really captivating crepuscular patterns persistently illuminated by gently spiralling traceries and clandestinely glimpsing piano reflections. Flickering lyrical subtleties meticulously amalgamate with spellbinding hazy solitariness. What a beauty!!! "Sometimes I Disappear", with 9:35 the longest piece on "5 Textures", is announced by enigmatic high-pitched siren, which is soon invaded and counterpointed with euphoniously expansive horizons. Hissy tides inconspicuously sneak in and relentlessly commingle with engrossingly nuanced poignancy. This is another emotional powerhouse rewarding the listener's ear! "An Echo, Unseen" shifts into ambiguously ethereal domains, where ghost-like choirs perpetually coalesce with intensely mind-bending reverberations and intricately fragmented reminiscences. Obviously another phenomenal track in this set! "To Find Stillness In The Waiting" unfolds with interplay of nebulously piquant crescendos and diminuendos, embracing piano blankets and lachrymose bowed strings. A sonic equilibrium masterfully dusting off long forgotten memories. Well-done, Simon!!! Although entitled as "5 Textures", the journey continues with additional closing composition "3 Hours Of Night (The 6th Texture)", which delves into slightly rawer stringed terrains, although again virtuosically reinforced by intensified serenities.
Simon Lomax is for me one of the biggest revelations during the last few years and I am still asking myself how could I miss such creative genius for many years? Well, the more I am delighted now when exploring all these exceptional aural realms. "5 Textures" album is an absolute must-have for each connoisseur of sophisticatedly inventive guitar dronesculpting. The album clocks only over 41-minute mark and that's the only weak point here, because Simon Lomax stands safely shoulder to shoulder with the giants of the genre. That's how gifted is this guy, so don't make the same mistake I did!!! Except above mentioned 6 albums, don't hesitate to explore also digital only release "An Ember Glows", which documents live-to-air performance of Simon Lomax on legendary Star’s End Radio in November 22nd 2015 on WXPN in Philadelphia. And last but not least, a new recording is now in the works, so this time I will definitely keep an ear to ground!!!
Richard Gürtler (Nov 13, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)
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