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Greenshank - Changeable Depths

Greenshank - Changeable Depths coverGreenshank is a collaborative venture involving Gayle Brogan (Pefkin) and Jonathan Sharp (The Heartwood Institute). We've written loads about Pefkin and their love of landscape and nature but this one is more about water. Changeable Depths is inspired by the Solway Firth, a body of water between Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway.

It's an intriguing collaboration as Sharp who besides recording as The Heartwood Institute, one of the key groups involved in hauntology has recorded library music for commercial purposes. Incorporating field recordings made by Sharp around the Solway Firth, Changeable Depths retains the essence of Brogan's Pefkin but here the folk drone and gentle wafting voice and harmonies of Brogan is combined with audio processing, subtle synths and sound textures resulting in an album of eerie electronic ambience.

On the opener 'Tidal' Brogan's voice hovers like sea mist over the lapping waves here accompanied by flurries of fluttering electronics. The violin drone and soft vocal ululations of 'Moth Wings' drift over flurries of chiming sequences, while amidst the subtle bleeping tones of 'Reflections' Brogan's hushed voice is distant and echoing, crossing over into an extended section of hazy experimental atmospherics.

It's clear Sharp brings the synths and textures to Greenshank but even when they do less, as they do in the remainder of the tracks, it's just as effective. Basking in a voice so pure and brittle, the slow sung tones of 'False Light' imagines a folk song as ghostly lament delivered over liminal atmospherics. On 'Following Lines Into The Blue' the spectral voice is surrounded by gentle watery laps and accompanied by minimal eerie sound textures to great effect. Elsewhere, 'Submerging' sinks to deep aquatic tones and dank atmospherics held afloat by Brogan's soft utterances, while 'Stars To Awaken' offers a minimal soundscape of darting hollow taps, evocative sound drifts and vocal murmurs capturing Greenshank at their most experimental.

"I dream of the waves may they bring you to me" sings Brogan on one of the opening lines of 'Siren Dreaming' as it stretches out into violin drone. It is perhaps the closest to the folk drone of Pefkin here, but that's before the shimmering shifting ambience which underpins this extends out and ebbs into silence.

Like the best collaborations Greenshank creates something neither artist would do on their own. Combining haunting electronics, aquatic field recordings with beautiful spectral vocals, Changeable Depths is a great album. Changeable Depths is released on the wonderful Woodford Halse label and is available digitally and as a limited tape from Woodford Halse bandcamp