Whorl

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I have a new album out on Sound In Silence Records. It is titled Whorl and features five tracks that combine heavily processed upright piano recordings with environmental sounds recorded in the garden of my childhood home.

Wil Bolton’s eighth full-length album Whorl consists of five long-form tracks of warm melodies and analogue drones, with a total duration of 38 minutes. Acoustic manipulation of piano and subtle electronics, including effects pedals, loopers and laptop processing, blend together with environmental sounds, resulting in a sublime melancholic ambient album.

Many thanks to George both for releasing this for me and for the wonderful mastering job.

Released by Sound In Silence Records on CD, in a limited edition of 200, 1 December 2014.
Packaged in hand-numbered and hand-stamped green recycled cardboard envelope with the front cover image printed on polaroid style photo paper.

Written and produced by Wil Bolton
Piano and environmental sounds recorded in Brentwood, May 2013
Processed and mixed in London, August – September 2013
Mastered and designed by George Mastrokostas
Photography by Wil Bolton

sis020
Sound In Silence Records
Digital edition via Bandcamp

Reviews

“Sound artist Wil Bolton follows up his outstanding album Bokeh with another beautiful collection of songs called Whorl just released on Sound In Silence. Whereas the former was set in mostly urban landscapes, the latter is a more pastoral, nature-oriented affair.  What both have in common the peerless soundcraft and sense of stillness & beauty that characterize Bolton’s work. The album is offered in a limited edition of 200 hand-made, hand-numbered collectible copies.” – Stationary Travels

“Greece may have its problems, but music aint one of them. Sound in Silence is one of the best indie labels the nation has, and their constant search for atmospheric classical and post-rock acts throughout Europe is commendable. The steady stream of releases can be daunting to new listeners looking to jump into the label’s extensive back catalog, making Britain’s Wil Bolton a perfect jumping on point.

I don’t have a classical background, so I feel I like the language required to describe this music effectively. It is minimal and brooding, with enough layers to allow multiple peelings. Nothing about this is over-the-top; it sits back, takes its time, and lets the listener paint its purpose and meaning.

It is available on 200 limited edition CDs. I am sure it costs a bit to get it out of Greece, but a lovely addition to your collection it would make.” – Spacerockmountain

“The word ‘Whorl’ must be so current. This is the second album to feature a word which would have otherwise barely entered into the collective lexicon, and also happens to be the second great Whorl to grace our ears. Do they both sound like the definition? Is it a coincidence that they’re both excellent records? Yes. Have the planets aligned heralding the apocalypse? Possibly. Can Wil Bolton soothe you towards the end? Absolutely.

The UK based “artist working with sound” is certainly committed to the drone, with previous album Bokeh coming out earlier this year. As if that wasn’t enough of a gentle caress, he’s popped out another only months later. An album full of ambient pianos and subtle glitches, Whorl does indeed spiral intricately, a whole world of peaceful birdsong and timid chimes unraveling before you. As one of his major motifs, the use of field recordings is persistent and complements the acoustic resonance of the piano to a tee. The hiss of the lo-fi recording equipment used for these layers also never leaves, keeping you firmly in your happy place for the full 38 minutes. So ethereal are the sounds painted here that my daydreams of open palms colliding with Ian’s massive cheeks are plunged into slow motion and doused with luscious technicolour. I preferred them brutal actually.

Each new track presents a new cycling succession of piano tones, giving them their own identity badges despite wearing almost identical uniform. This analogy only really works if the figurative wageslaves are working in a pillow factory or something else soft, situated in a spring woodland. There’s a worker-drone / musical-drone parallel here somewhere too.

Final track ‘Reverie’ is a rare glimpse into minor key territory, ushering in nighttime over Perfect Valley. Best head back home, drones. You must be tired from all that pillow sewing. It reminds me of Tim Hecker’s barebones Dropped Pianos from a couple of years back, with the rest of the album sounding like Ryuichi Sakamoto shoved through the Eno machine. Certainly more interesting than the Thomas Koner ambient piano escapade Tiento de las Nieves from last week. Good night. 8/10.” – Norman Records

“Wil Bolton’s “Whorl” is a delicate balance between the natural and the digital. Nicely mixed together the pieces show off Wil Bolton’s considerable restraint. Like his previous pieces these display his keen knack for melody. At times the songs appear to pause to give further space to the field recording portions of the pieces. Unlike his previous works these have a touch of the surreal to them. Elements of the sound recall that of the darker impulses of Angelo Badalamenti’s work. It takes time for the heavier moments to fully take hold yet once they are fully established the songs gain greater depth.

“Leaves That Curl” start things off on a pastoral note. By “Dragonflies” Wil Bolton begins to incorporate heavier aspects into the sound. The sound of the birds singing to each other is underpinned by the brooding atmosphere he creates with the drone work. Easily the best piece on the album the split personality it displays makes it absolutely sublime. With each additional repetition the song sinks lower into the shadows. Filtered through distortion and glitches are the brilliant hues of “Shadows on the Wall” who reflect quietly on the serene environment. Slight variations are created through purely digital means as the piece hiccups, stutters, and finds new territories to explore. Keeping nearly silent are the whispered tones of “Out of Place”. Ending things off on a contemplative note is the calm of “Reverie”.

“Whorl” is a brilliant surreal collection of sounds real and imagined. 8.3.” – Beach Sloth

“An incredibly atmospheric melding of piano, field recordings and loops, creates here a deeply evocative experience which rewards numerous replays.” – Collective Zine

“A conclusione di un’annata che l’ha visto sviluppare progetti ormai consolidati (Ashlar) e intraprenderne di nuovi (Le Moors), Wil Bolton ritrova per la seconda volta in pochi mesi la propria dimensione solista che, prima del recente “Bokeh”, gli era mancata per ben due anni. “Whorl” è l’ottavo album del chitarrista e compositore inglese, che nelle sue cinque corpose tracce non smarrisce un approccio alla materia ambientale volto a indurre suggestioni cinematiche attraverso la creazione di avvolgenti soundscape emozionali.

Rispetto ai micro-suoni e ai riverberi dell’immediato predecessore, in “Whorl” Bolton riduce ulteriormente le strutture dei suoi brani, adesso di fatto spogliati da schegge rumorose e persistenze droniche, in favore della manipolazione acustica di rade armonie pianistiche e delicati effetti elettronici. L’incedere narcolettico delle note del pianoforte si dipana in un’atmosfera sospesa, appena ricamata da field recordings naturalistici e vaporosi effetti applicati a loop e filtraggi elettronici la cui stessa natura si diluisce in rarefazioni notturne, fino a non essere quasi più riconoscibile.

La pratica di trasfigurazione delle fonti originarie del suono, abitualmente applicata da Wil Bolton, si manifesta così in “Whorl” nella sua forma più fragile e introspettiva, in un condensato di affascinante malinconia, incentrata su armonie pianistiche distanti dall’accademismo neoclassico ma rese funzionali a un avvolgente calore ambientale.” – Music Won’t Save You

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