If you check the back catalogue of Monty Adkins (which I definitely think you should), youâ€™ll find that he often chooses a single instrument to work with and then starts exploring its possibilities and manipulating its sounds. And while the starting point and sounds are very different to begin with, he manages to create a â€˜sound-fieldâ€™ that is immediately recognisable. Check, for examples, the cello sounds of â€œBorderlandsâ€œ, or the clarinet playing on â€œFour Shibusaâ€œ.
â€œUnfurling Streamsâ€œ, his recent release on CrÃ³nica, is based on recordings of percussion instruments made by Jonny Axelsson (a much praised percussionist with impressive experience in playing contemporary music by composers like Stockhausen, Ligeti and Kevin Volans) and Monty Adkins himself.
The inspiration for â€œUnfurling Streamsâ€ comes from the last two lines of â€œmaggie and milly and molly and mayâ€ by E.E. Cummings – who (according to the notes on poets.org) â€œabandoned traditional techniques and structures to create a new, highly idioyncratic means of poetic expressionâ€:
maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldnâ€™t remember her troubles, and
milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
itâ€™s always ourselves we find in the sea
â€œIn Unfurling Streams, the â€˜streamâ€™ reflects lifeâ€”something continually flowing, evolving, and changing.
Eddies, currents, pools and spray also are suggestive of ways in which the stream makes its way through the landscape and are clearly reflected in the images and sounds created for this project.â€
Itâ€™s fascinating to hear how the variety of sounds from the percussion instruments â€“ from sub-low rumble to high-pitched metallic â€“ resemble a stream of water finding its way.
With the way he post-processes this material, Monty Adkins creates his characteristic â€œslow shifting organic texturesâ€. However different the original sound sources are, it is this delicate texture that links the album to its predecessors â€œBorderlandsâ€ and â€œFour Shibusaâ€ â€“ like a sonic trilogy.
via Ambient Blog