Paul Elam enjoyed a great start to his solo career with 2009’s ‘They Shook Hands For Hours’; his first release under the Fieldhead identity and a shot in the arm for lovers of glitchy electronica and tape hiss. Then he rather lost his way with the considerably more detached follow-up ‘Riser’ in 2010. Happily, ‘a correction’ can definitely be seen as a return to form as Elam seems to be a man inspired by his move from Yorkshire to Canada.
On initial listening, ‘a correction’ comes across as rather awkward in its approach; like a sequence of throbbing drones punctuated by samples, clicks and beats. Yet lift up the lid to this secret world and inside is music evocative of nature and undiscovered places. ‘812 keefer’ and ‘harris’ are pieces made of constantly shifting sonic patterns where strings, keyboards and goodness knows what other instruments are warped beyond recognition to incongruous but ultimately delightful effect. ‘neon, ugly’ may have a funereal pace but when the beats kick in after a minute, the track evolves into something strident and bolder with the key proviso that the music never uses its elegance and beauty.The album then signals its goodbye via a mournful sequence of strings and light beats.
Despite moving to new surroundings, the core elements of what made Elam’s music so distinctive are still very much in existence. Furthermore, even though the music is often sombre in outlook it is more ambitious in scope and the emotional connection first heard on his debut is restored.
The Declining Winter, Hood, Northerner