Monday, 2 January 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #5 - The Lowland Hundred, "Adit"

An opposite to the experience of listening to MC Mabon earlier, this is long and languid and jazzy stuff with field recordings of what sound like countryside rambles sewn into the fabric of the watery noise. Tracks in no hurry to keep themselves constrained to ten minutes or so.

These guys are from Aberystwyth. The name "The Lowland Hundred" is a translation of "Cantre'r Gwaelod", the legendary country probably engulfed by the waters of Cardigan Bay when the Ice Age pulled back and the seas poured in. Me and the missus had a honeymoon in Aberystwyth - we thought we were digging for unlikely treasures. It was a shit place; worst seaside University town with a national library ever. And when this album opened, I felt the same dull twinge of damp disappointment and slight bewilderment, so I dropped it for a while.

I can't quite jam my head into the box marked "Jazz". A couple of brushes with John Coltrane. I latched myself weakly to Northamptonshire's Black Carrot for a while, because I picked up tiny tremulations of Alan Moore. (Comics are another theme today, eh?) But no saplings have really taken hold. "Jazz" has remained a word I use to describe something I don't really understand.

But then I dipped my ears in again. And while I'm still pretty sure it's not really my paned o de, it was definitely interesting. With the sonorous, poignant piano, it sounds a little like the soundtrack for a more moving ITV1 crime drama - a less emotionally-constipated Morse set at the seaside, perhaps.

It has a touch of a less mercurial Robert Wyatt, which is an OK thing. And the field recordings are lovely. But my stumps remain unstirred. As per usual, I've failed to pick up on the lyrics, even though there's a song called "Dog's Mercury". The words just slid off my ears, but they seem to be pointing out things that our lads have spotted while walking in the "deep, shaded woods". And it bothers me a little that I have no idea what "Adit" means.

Rating: Straight out of Ceredigion

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