This is one of the very best cassettes I’ve acquired over the last few years. The artist, Nigel Samways, has been active in the UK since at least 2008 doing sound sculpting such as that of this exquisite example of musique concrete, electro-acoustic, ambient and industrial flavored composite soundscapes, hypothetically regarding and depicting a forest full of robots all staring at you.
First you notice that all of the robots are staring at you, and then you start to notice that the sounds going on all around you are bewitchingly strange and comforting. Being frank, without being stuck on the visualizing of a forest crawling with robots that were all staring at me, I did find this tape to be borne of a really sophisticated sense for emotional directness, patient timing of composition, thorough listening, humble sense of humor, and vivid imaginational-internal-visual projection gifts. Cinematic jazz-ambient. 1.jazz-2.ambient – NOT 1.ambient 2.jazz. I’d say that a good portion of this music has the looseness, directness, rawness and poetry of jazz, done in a sort of ambient idiom. I diddled with a pretend genre term and I am a little sorry, but it does sort of help explain an aspect of what Nigel Samways does on this fantastic recording. The selections of sound samples (from records, movies?, field recordings, etc.) are thoughtful and beguiling; picked for numerous reasons rather than the same reason over and over. There’s a certain kind of drama that re-occurs in a lot of ambient music – a drama that feels like sentimentality, romantic nostalgia, loneliness; this isn’t all that we are limited to in the Forest of Robots. Samples are quirky, dreamy, fantastical, nostalgic, sci-fi-feeling, visual, haunting, subtly funny or fun, dreamy, nightmarey. There’s a wide breadth of notions brought about by the various clips and loops he composites, stretching across ideologies, cultures, genres, philosophies, textures, fidelities, biological constructions, operating systems, languages, chemical structures, smells, and color schemes. These are all 5-dimensionally spider-webbed in the listening field. Isaac Asimovian it is, and not a lot of music could really live up to such a challenge. It’s complex and operates on a lot of levels. I guess, like I already said, this of course isn’t just ambient music. It is JAZZ-AMBIENT, and I am Mr. Dildo, Pretend Genre Diddler.
It’s damn great.
I admit that there was never any explicit mention on Nigel Samways’ or any other persons’ site of what the robots were doing or if they were staring at you. I made that all up.