Richard Skelton – Landings

I like everything about what Sustain-Release do.  Have a look for yourself.  Some of the things that have been issued are quite stunningly beautiful.  Started by Richard Skelton as a tribute to his late wife, Sustain-Release acts as a platform for Skelton to release his own music, incorporating his wife’s art to create some stunning pieces of artistic work.

‘Landings’, his latest recording released under his own name, is a record of exquisite beauty and is accompanied by a 96 page book.  It’s one of these records that just cannot fail to get under your skin, into your bones and being, and warm your heart on a winter’s day like today.  It’s not that this record is overly warm in tone but like Danny Norbury, Richard Skelton layers strings, and other instruments, with such skill and finesse that there is an underlying warmth given off.  Maybe it’s just that I’m sitting inside watching the snow fall, and am glad of this fact.  Or maybe it’s that this music is the perfect tonic for such a cold winter’s day that it really should be appreciated by the fireside with a glass of whisky in hand.

Opening track ‘Noon Hill Wood’ sets the tone for the record with swirling string sound scapes, complimented beautifully by subtle melodies that drift in and out.  It’s something that Skelton is a master of; adding these little melodic string elements, which add tone and warmth and give direction to the sonic landscapes which he has built around them, or for them to compliment.  In a way, it’s like looking at a tree in winter.  Shed of their leaves, stark and bare, trees are beautiful yet eerie things at this time of year.  Add some snow to this picture though and things change dramatically, from the eerie to the stunningly beautiful and picture postcard perfect.  Skelton’s music is often reminiscent of this.  It’s his skill at adding the warmth to the eerie that sets him apart and turns his music from dark to light.

The strings are, without doubt, the prominent instruments on this record but there are moments, such as on ‘Scar Tissue’, where guitar is to the fore.  Yet, it is when the strings are involved that Skelton is at his very best.

Make no mistake, this is an excellent record by an artist at the top of his game.  It’s beautifully arranged, beautifully composed, beautifully packaged and is deserving of the wide scale praise that it has received.  Skelton’s vision with Sustain-Release is wonderful, fortunately the music that he creates for his label equals the beauty of his vision.  You have to check this record out and you can do so here.  Please check out Sustain-Release here. Enjoy.