Compulsion | PO Box 19577 | Kilbarchan |Johnstone | PA10 2WX | Scotland | UK

The Fields of Hay - Songs For Nine Ladies

Songs For Nine Ladies is the debut release from Stuart Carter a former member of UK guitar-noise outfit Splintered currently treading the boards as part of the experimental electronic outfit Theme. Songs For Nine Ladies is a particularly loose recording merging organic sounds sources with electronic instrumentation in a hazy reverie. The opener 'Morning In The Early' is a real pastoral effort, setting chirping bird song to guitar noodling and short bursts of keyboard drone. It segues into 'Welcome To Mantra' where skittering rhythms coexist with an electronic pulse derived from archaic keyboards, amidst shuddering dropped and cascading tones. Like the opening track the vintage synths here are played by Pete Kember (aka Sonic Boom) who adds a primitive warmth to the music. 'Welcome To Mantra' is akin to listening to TG in the open English countryside. It's by far the best track here. Bass guitar notes meander in an improvised manner on 'Miracles and Saints' wrapped in a shimmering drone drenched with spacey effects. Despite its psychedelic glow it's thoroughly disappointing, especially when compared to 'Solaar Afternoons' where florid acoustic guitar playing, which picks at the heels of the current folk vogue, is surrounded by washes of floating electronic patterns creating some of the most calm and relaxing sounds here. The final track, the beautifully titled 'Gabriels Golden Wing (Naked in the Clouds)' is a nice piece of twilight space-ambient music that swells from some nice stringed intro but the entire track is letdown due to the distracting bass soloing.

Sure it picks up some electronic sounds, some found sounds, environmental sounds, a bit of folk, drone and ambient and comes across as a bit psychedelic, a bit pastoral and a bit medatitive but it's all quite innocuous. Actually it's the sort of release you'd expect from the Ochre label, and while I don't hate it it doesn't leave that much of an impression that I would return to it in a hurry. For more information go to