Hidden Shoal Recordings have introduced a succession of great ambient works since their inception in 2006. Next up on their roster is Sleeping Me AKA Clayton McAvoy from California. ‘Cradlesongs’, his debut, sets out an ambitious manifesto including delivering “the poignancy of an ever-elusive yet omnipresent love” through his music. Needless to say, much melancholy will ensue.
‘Empty Cradles’ begins the story and will be familar to those who favour the delayed guitar techniques of Yellow6 or Labradford. Immediately, that sense of loss which was promised is delivered in spades. The Robin Guthrie-esque ‘Tired Hearts’ builds on the dark, dreamy textures whilst ‘Egdon Heath’ and ‘Here In The North’ are blessed with a classical, stately elegance. Towards the album’s denouement, the spare acoustic simplicity of the title track tingles with glorious melody and the story ends with the vibrant ‘The Rattle In Or Hearts’ in a surprisngly compact forty-one minutes.
‘Cradlesongs’ is a record which only suffers by its similarity to so many other artists. Given the quality of those comparisons though, that’s certainly no crime. Other than that, the music is a gorgeous happy/sad ride that – due to its relative brevity – never outstays its welcome.
Yellow6, Labradford, Robin Guthrie