Steve Hadfield – See the World Anew Vol. 2 – See Blue Audio

Apart from love and hate what else is permanent in our throwaway culture. If you were to ask me I would have to say music, but then I am biased in that direction. It will also come as no surprise that I’m reviewing this latest work from Steve Hadfield who I have an ever increasing affection for. His music occupies the intersection of the world surrounding us, probing at the seemingly random sequence of events with a quiet unease, or a readymade certainty – take your pick.

In lots of ways this is a most strange album that ties together dark, smouldering melodies along with yearning memories which you hear echoed in a child’s voice or via the heartstrings pulled as notes tell their own unsettled stories. Perhaps it’s that anxiety which reflects the world so well that becomes so apparent. The final number, The Dead Whale is as good a place as any to highlight the contrasts inherent within this brilliant music, like a rousing church.

Art is political.

Release: July 8


f5point6 – The Shuttle Leaves at Midnight – See Blue Audio

Art for me is sometimes about what happens next. Not so much what you see in a given moment captured but what story unfolds in the next frame. The unseen, the unknown. Whether that is getting lost inside a conceived picture or photograph or being subsumed by pieces of music it remains about the excitement of creative, future thinking. Not slightly sad nostalgic reflection. So welcome back R. Cleveland Aaron with his next chapter of works coupling the suggestive depth of the cover Art together with fragments and impressions left in the wake of further sonic explorations. Remaining true to organic form while of course tantalising you with the unexpected via a whir of electricity pulsing with abundant emotion. If you listen closely enough you can hear the voices talking to you.

The Shuttle Leaves at Midnight escapes the stranglehold of the recent past in a blur. You also get the idea that a more utopian/ dystopian vision is being sought, one that encompasses a sense of sci-fi dreaming amid a breathless wonder of the human spirit. Midnight expressed.

Release: November 26


Simon McCorry – Flow – See Blue Audio

Pressing play at first seems like a perfectly natural thing to do but as you are drawn deeper into the mind-set of Flow 01 things start to feel strange and uneven. Like floating in space or in the depths of an ocean the sounds surround your psyche, feeding back, supporting and reassuring you like a long lost friend, albeit a slightly odd one. The unconventional is course to be celebrated as Simon McCorry’s breathless story telling across Flow, spanning the numbers from 01 to 05, criss-crosses senses and sensualities in an ever increasingly wondrous nature. Blissful, serene and yet broken at the edges to reveal something unseen, blending codes and coda the final realisation is that time slips away from grasp, sometimes gently while at others not so. It is the quick succession of emotions turning upside down, perhaps even inside out that provides the key to it all. In other words it’s kind of like breathing….

Release: September 10


Steve Hadfield – See the World Anew Vol. 1 – See Blue Audio

I’m at a loss for words which isn’t perhaps surprising as music is about feeling. Steve Hadfield’s new long player for See Blue Audio is typically emotional in any case so that doesn’t cause too much concern. As sounds unfold telling their own story so does the human response to it all and by the time the second number, Ascension hits you are most likely in love with it all, albeit in remotely melancholy ways that seem to define human existence just as the joy of happiness does. Leading us neatly onto the title itself, the self-explanatory positivity contained within See the World Anew which just like life the ever evolving story is about contrasts charting the enviable moods and swings of to and fro. Take, Detached for example and its cosmically tuned funkiness in the shape of drifting percussion alongside soulfully charged chords that is as celebratory as it’s slightly disconcerting. Followed by the introspective chime of Orbit, surrounded by the final dark edges of Gravity suggesting there is more than at first there may seem. Which neatly captures the hidden essence of Steve Hadfield’s wonderfully sonic Art.

Release: August 27


f5point6 – KaleidoSound: Time, Shape & Space Vol. 2 – See Blue Audio

The completing piece of R.Cleveland Aaron’s journey into the jigsaw of sound doesn’t feel like a conclusion. More like an old friend departing to find something else to do. I will miss these oddly tempting escapes into unknown territory as you never know who, what or where is going to happen or occur next in the process. Perhaps the dissolving tones of The Promise of Endless Possibilities says it all? Or maybe the caustic intention of It’s Perfect Here clashes more with a sense of acceptability. Or then again maybe it’s the breathless whisper suggested within the hidden drumming of Disconnect – Connect – Disconnect that hints towards answers? Either way the brilliant uplifting, reassurance of Speriamo further contrasts expectation. At this point in proceedings I know as little or as much as you do. Except to say that perhaps all along the whir of electrical impulse fuelling all of this has as much to do with bearing witness to urban decay as it does celebrating the architecture of being. Whatever next?

Release: May 21


Simon McCorry – Nature in Nature – See Blue Audio

Is it possible to overanalyse sound? Does that detach yourself from a more pure response to what you are hearing? Casting aside the thought for a moment Simon McCorry’s series of productions for this release each redefine the art of listening as layers of subsequent suggestion build upon, while sometimes tearing apart, what has gone before creating an unknown, uncertain quality. Background Thermal Radiation does precisely that by initially greeting you with warm envelopes of sound which are then pushed aside replaced by a grainier, more caustic resolution. Nature in Nature is perhaps more self-explanatory and again sequences notions of what is beautiful together with a contrasting edge like everything feels unsettled, which after all it is. Prometheus then opens out its reach into cosmic reality unbending, while Entanglement completes with over eight minutes of intense manufacture. Looping shimmering keys, offsetting its own pulse and then correcting it a cascade of otherworldly, spectacular imaginations leave you at the point of no return as you ponder exactly how to think about it all.

Release: January 29



f5point6 – KaleidoSound Time, Shape & Space Vol. 1 – See Blue Audio

Listening to KaleidoSound is like watching time and space unravel into the ether of expectation. A strangely beguiling yet wonderful explanation of the fusion of particles floating, charging throughout the airwaves as elements reach into the darkness, grasping at the light, acting very much like the damaged reflection of this year. That holy/ unholy alliance is all the more evident on this latest selection of pieces evoked from the mind of R. Cleveland Aaron, who again hints that he may be in possession of some knowledge which the rest of us don’t. I’ll avoid the word cinematic as this isn’t. It is much more picturesque that that, much more blissfully explosive. Much more in a place of its own definition, breathing outside of most else classified loosely as Ambience, or that music which revolves around the sound of itself. Listen to the exquisite Tetrahedron of Forever (co-created with producer Elliott Ferguson) and its temptation of undulating rhythms generated greedily by emotionally intense electronics, leaving you to dangle somewhere in-between joy and pain, while its final breath of synthesized sound is further realised as a brutally exciting experience. Equally this is about divergence too and there is a homely, serene feel like warm water to Gradualism. Next, the pulse of drumming (Detroit traversing Düsseldorf) ads yet another piece of the jigsaw on this occasion to Hexapod. And by the time you end up at the completing Where to Next you are left with you are left with a complexity of questions answered.

Release: December 11

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Steve Hadfield – Displacement Activity Vol. 3 – See Blue Audio

The third instalment in the series of timely disruptions from Steve Hadfield reflects the time we live in as all good Art could and should. Saying something without the use of words may seem daunting but in the hands of creative minds that doesn’t seem to be a barrier to good intention, much as is the case on Vol.3. Where this album continues the theme from previous editions is in its evolution of musical attainment, encompassing grainy ambient resolution alongside a flair of warmer, more expectant instrumentation playing out as a prospect of hope, listen to the captivating Blossom Is a Vector. You may well prefer the melancholy, introspective swathes on offer such as the opening Refection or the more brutal landscapes found at Liminal Night Feeds but listening as a whole you can’t escape the feeling of expanding ideas plus forward motion. Which of course leads onto the exciting prospect of a number 4.

Release: November 6


f5point6 – KaleidoSound: Time, Space & Frequencies Vol. 2 – See Blue Audio

I was listening to a discussion on the nature of Art and it was said that artists reflect the times around them. I think creators of note do, while others repeat the past under the guise of authenticity. I want to listen to music that informs emotionally, sonically and politically – the personal is political, or is that the other way round. R. Cleveland Aaron’s latest collection of sounds and ideas do all three by enhancing the blue in the sky outside, just as much as they compress space to be viewed through the lens of an inner soul. The concept began by Volume one is now furthered on the location of this second release, guided by a series of intermissions before each setting is explored via the breadth of detail. Perhaps most intriguing of all is Stella Marina which remodels the flair of drums into another world of music. Followed by the free flow of improvisational [Outro – The Beginning and the End] which is likewise uniquely precise and supremely captivating.

Release: September 25



f5point6 – KaleidoSound: Time, Space & Frequencies Vol. 1 – See Blue Audio

Following hot on the heels of R. Cleveland Aaron’s astute debut is this expansion of terrain moving through time and motion in brisk, provocative fashion. As with the former collection of music these soundscapes charge your mind with a series of images creating imaginary solutions to electric situations. And again this can be equally unsettling, equally serene. Likewise you still feel that what you are experiencing has an innately unique quality like these sounds exist only here. The compositions are deliciously intense such as on the drone infused, yet warm embrace of [Intermission 2] while the final collective tones of Theory of Change Pt 1 propose a probing fiction of science. Otherworldly qualities remain yet fractures and the spaces in-between suggest an infinity of musical wealth which Cleveland has opened up, and will continue to do so for some time to come.

Release: July 3