Listening Mirror

Resting in Aspic

Whenever I am blessed with a new release from the likes of a marvelous collaborative Listening Mirror, I always give the music ample time to settle around me like a comfortable cloak. On this release, Jeff Stonehouse and Kate Tustain have chosen selections from long out of print releases on multiple labels such as Rural Colours and Audio Gourmet. It also includes the full and unreleased version of “The Organist”. These soundscapes were remastered by Wil Bolton and are available in a limited run of 200 CDs.

Songs vary from somber, piano-driven drones to more upbeat, cloud-drifting music. Imagine yourself inside a wonderful dream, with dark and light passages leading in all directions. Take the shadow road, and you might find yourself immersed in “The Leechpool.” Or follow the light into the warmth of “Without Saying Goodbye.”

In these past few weeks while enjoying spectacular winter weather, I’ve carried “Resting in Aspic” on my walks. From the hum of a transformer to the whine of a plane overhead, I am never sure whether it is the natural world or Stonehouse’s sonic manipulations that are creating this soundtrack. As an avid birder, I love the avian field recordings that Jeff Stonehouse has woven so seamlessly into the mix. I am especially keen on the stunning “Wet Roads” that closes the album, with Kate Tustain’s vocals floating ethereally through like an elven chorus from Lord of the Rings. Birdsong is mashed up with synths and the delighted shrieks of children playing, making the perfect sonic tapestry and denouement for this album. Recommended for fans of Budd/EnoChihei Hatakeyama, and Clem Leek.

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Review by Elizabeth Klisiewicz exclusively for Headphone Commute.