Servant Sun- Cold Harbour

 

Every once in awhile, the quietest things feel heavier than you can imagine. Servant Sun is a meld of dispatches from the disparate worlds of Peter Wright and Brad Rose. Distant  communiqués in desperate times, tense days,  gently re-defining quiet. Haunted tones and assorted strings float in a digital haze. Giant spaces have never felt so warm. Cold Harbour is aural fog followed by exultation.

 

CD-R edition of 123.    OUT OF PRINT

 

2006.   006.

 

 

Kind Words:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Terrascope Online:

Release No. 3 is the debut by Servant Sun, the result of a postal collaboration between Oklahoman Brad Rose (also of The North Sea) and New Zealander Peter Wright, guitarist and dronescaper with albums on L.V.D., Apoplexy, Pseudoarcana etc. The duo’s ‘Cold Harbour’ CDR is a release that certainly belies its rather forbidding title, as its field recordings, ambient washes and exotic string-bending excursions undoubtedly has the compass pointing towards highly stylized humid rain forests and coral atolls that could only really have existed in the mind of, say, Martin Denny or Les Baxter. These impressionistic vignettes, in which mother nature has the last word, find their most alluring voice in ‘The Junpier Tree’ and ‘The Final Hours Before Dawn’. The former’s skittish banjo lines and surrounded birdsong suggest grainy images of Alan Lomax on an ornithological field trip, while the latter’s lush guitar lines pit Durutti Column lyricism against fourth world sounding parameters last witnessed on certain Jon Hassell elpees. The only break in these idyllic surroundings are the ’66 Velvet Underground meets Eno shadings of ‘Cemetary for Decaying Ivy’. On certain occasions, packet post exchanges can end up becoming a little stilted with the original impetus becoming hopelessly lost in transit. ‘Cold Harbour’ however, I’m happy to report, is an utter peach. (Rumbles. June 2007)

 

Broken Face:

The Servant Sun is an underground dream project including Peter Wright and Brad Rose, which sounds like ghostly folk whispers and nature-clad drones hovering like mist over urban meadows. Peter Wright’s music has always struck me as oceanic while the aural pictures of Rose often have had more of a forest feel to them. I guess you could say that Cold Harbour is a combination of both and in that way this is indeed a very successful collaboration. Majestic frozen lakes and abandoned settlements by the sea are placed right next to juniper trees and meadows packed with blossoming flowers. It’s in the midst of these scenic contradictions that you’ll find the true beauty of this somewhat limited gem. This is yet another proof of these guys’ talent and the fact that House of Alchemy is one of the most interesting micro-labels around.

Mille Feuille:

Brad Rose et Peter Wright s'échangeant des enregistrements entre Tulsa et Londres, l'idée en elle-même est plutôt alléchante, tant les projets de l'un (The North Sea principalement pour Rose) manquent parfois d'un quelque-chose que l'autre pourrait peut-être lui apporter. C'est à peu près ce qui se passe, la richesse de l'instrumentation déployée habituellement par Rose se trouvant bien mise en lumière par le son cristallin et les field recordings de Wright. Le disque évolue globalement de morceaux plus basés sur l'instrumentation vers des ambiances drones, et ainsi c'est malheureusement aussi les petits points faibles de chacun qu'on retrouve : une trop grande confiance à ces instruments exotiques chez Rose, une certaine fadeur éthérée chez Wright, difficiles à départager ici mais toujours indéniablement présents. Certainement ce sont là des constantes chez chacun des musiciens qui les amène à produire ensemble une ambient lisse, enrichie de quelque field recordings délicats, bien loin du lo-fi de certains North Sea ou Alligator Crystal Moth (Rose encore). Sorte de Labradford rural, plus contemplatif, moins hypnotique.

Animal Psi:

The Servant Sun is Brad Rose of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Peter Wright of London, working through postal collaboration. You would never know it though, as the pieces of ‘Cold Harbour’ flow with incredible finesse. In fact, the perfect lack of rough, uneven angles is perhaps the album’s strongest point as the warm hum of each track holds a steady tone from start to finish in the manner of early Kranky releases. The loose compositions strung concentrically evoke the bulk of Charalambides up in here; the folksy timbres and darker tones reaching the territories of that band’s many side-projects. “The Juniper Tree” (and later, “Ornaments”) inevitably calls to mind John Fahey and other guitar meanderers for its solo strum; simplistic, yet shouldering heavy humidity with a ceaseless soundscape of insect symphonies. “Bed of Needles” and “Old Mouldy Coat” in different ways call to mind Rose’s other works as The North Sea, in which he utilizes eastern strings to cheat out exoticism, though skillfully positioning these sounds amongst guitars and raga in the Six Organs strata of good vibrations. “The Final Hours Before Dawn” requires yet another Tarentel comparison - though this time specifically ‘From Bone to Satellite’ with its layers of guitars glazed with dark ambiance and dank texture. “Cemetary for Decaying Ivy” [sic] brings to mind Seht and other micro micro-tonal mechanics - though such a glacial composition contradictorily played at a triple speed in order to exaggerate such tonal shifts. Apart from the regional and traditional influences of each composition, the extensive use of ambient/natural recordings on this album entitles each song to a claim of local context, be it the cicadas of Appalachia or oceans of British rain. In the sense, when listening, I wonder about the logistics of this collaboration. The insert lists the instrumental contributions of both players - and indeed there is a wealth of instrumentation to be found on each track - yet I cannot help but think there are disparate worldings at play (urban England v. mid-west USA), with the cohesion of each track requiring an uneven authority deferred to one artist or the other (there is also a suspicious use of English English in half the titles). This of course is in no way a negative (the album is likely much stronger for it, if it indeed occurs); it is instead a revelatory point in the case that it is not the case. Stamped CDr comes in a stamped, hand-numbered vellum envelope with heavy-stock inserts featuring two pieces of gorgeous photography. Limited to 123 copies, and very nice.