Michael Cottone has been quietly making music under The Green Kingdom moniker since 2006, and with each release he further refines his brand of introspective ambient bliss. His latest album, Prismatic, was released in September by Home Assembly Music and was mastered by Taylor Deupree. Cottone skillfully uses digitally enhanced acoustic guitar, strings, bells, and a myriad of samples and field recordings to create his compositions.
Within his arrangements, melody and space work in tandem in an attempt to manifest what Cottone has called an “optimistic nostalgia” for the listener – an aural experience that can provide a momentary reprieve from the frenetic, fast-paced world that surrounds us. And indeed his music is perfect for contemplative mornings and quiet evenings, where the vibe is to “slow down” and to “reflect”, and while listening this comes about quite naturally, as the familiarity of his work launches you back into memories of warm summer evenings past and gone, while at the same time, makes your heart beat ever faster for the future.
There’s a strong sense of optimism in Cottone’s music that is useless to attempt to describe in words, the expressive rhythms and melodies he creates speak for themselves. With tracks like “Wetlands” and “The Largest Creature That Has Ever Existed”, Cottone works with guitar, piano, and bells and establishes incredible mood and subjective wonder, while with “Radiance Reflected” and “Bonfire (tec)”, he adds a subtle 4/4 beat underneath it all, simulating your heart beating buoyantly for the future you envision for yourself. There is also a strong underlying sense of being connected to nature – to the woods that border our cities and towns, to the birds that fly unseen above our heads, and to the sun-drenched afternoons we take for granted until the bleak days of winter have surrounded us.
Prismatic is one of the finest ambient albums of 2010, and a prime example of electronic and organic sounds working together so effortlessly. Fans of Helios, Nest, The Boats, Kiln, and Susumu Yokota should check out The Green Kingdom immediately. The album also comes with a bonus disc of remixes from the likes of Insecto, Fieldhead, The Declining Winter, The Boats, and bvdub, and is an excellent addendum to the subtle beauty of Prismatic. Check it.
Review prepared by Matt Leslie (Inaudible) for Headphone Commute.
See also Two and a Half Questions with The Green Kingdom