My new album ‘Surface Reflections’ is out now on Sound In Silence Records. Many thanks to George for releasing this and for the wonderful mastering job.
Surface Reflections consists of five long-form tracks of warm ambient, blending layers of field recordings, recorded in Hong Kong and focused on everyday sounds, with delicate loops of guitars and synths, manipulated and edited with effect pedals and laptop processing.
Surface Reflections is a sublime album of emotive melodies, hypnotic soundscapes and mesmerizing textures, carefully mastered by George Mastrokostas (aka Absent Without Leave) and highly recommended for devotees of ambient pioneers such as Brian Eno, Harold Budd and Steve Roach.
Released by Sound In Silence Records on CD, in a limited edition of 200, 15 July 2019.
Packaged in hand-numbered and hand-stamped burgundy cardboard envelope with the front cover image printed on polaroid style photo paper and an insert with the tracklist and the credits printed on mocha brown cardboard. Also comes bundled with a download code coupon and a Sound In Silence card.
Written and recorded by Wil Bolton, 2016-2018
Environmental sounds recorded in Hong Kong, March 2016
Mastered and designed by George Mastrokostas
Photography by Wil Bolton
“I know, I ‘m getting behind on all the albums coming in to review. I’m afraid due to a whole number of different circumstances, some of those releases will eventually get lost in the pile but there are some beauties I definitely want to check out and recommend. Surely, I don’t want to miss out on those amazing releases from Sound In Silence, which, throughout the years, have become one of my favorite labels. Their output has been one of an exceptionally high quality, not only because of their stable of talented artists but also because of the recognizable artwork and packaging. So, even though this album dates from July, I need to write about it.
Of course, Wil Bolton is no stranger to Merchants Of Air. For over fifteen years, Wil Bolton has been creating sonic works of art, mostly situated in the ambient scenes. ‘Surface Reflections’ is his glorious return to Sound In Silence, after the highly acclaimed album ‘Whorl’ in 2014. Once again, Bolton treats us to enigmatic pieces of music. There are five tracks on this album, good for forty-four minutes of soul warming ambient and blissful meditation. The album opens with the lingering ‘Shrouded’, which can best be described as a lengthy soundscape.
‘In The Air Of The Morning’ is a bit more playful but still remains on a gently, soft level. This one comes with an appropriate title as well. You can almost hear the city wake up. You can almost see men and women dragging themselves to their day jobs. In fact, this tune is where I decided to add “post rock” to the set of genres. Although you cannot compare this to bands like Explosions In The Sky or Mogwai, this music has a similar, narrative atmosphere in which you can easily loose your self into.
Even though it mostly follows its predecessors’ example, ‘Shallows’ nudges more towards the noisier side of the ambient spectrum. It seems to drive on static noise, with vague samples and melodies interfering. Something similar can be said from the other tunes, with closer and title track ‘Surface Reflections’ being the absolute highlight. Soothing yet a tiny bit uneasy, calm yet somewhat impending. That is the music you can find on this excellent album. Ambient fans will know what to do…” – Merchants Of Air
“My lord, how much of this kind of stuff being released at the moment? We’ve had recent releases from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Western Edges, Spheruleus, and the Gentlemen Losers. Thankfully, however, it’s all of a very high standard and it’s a pleasure hearing the various permutations of ambient music coming out at the moment. The latest offering is ‘Surface Reflections’ by Wil Bolton on the consistently brilliant Sound In Silence label.
My favourite piece is the shortest on the album, it’s ‘Crossing’ that comes in at a positively punky five minutes thirty-eight seconds. It’s got some great metallic textures that whirr alongside vast landscapes of drones, bird calls, and what sounds like some field recordings of busy roads. I also love ‘In The Air Of The Morning’, which has some great voice samples and a few brilliant bird shrieks that draw the whole thing together. Bolton has a knack of bringing in interesting new elements just when the piece starts to get a little boring.
Sound In Silence do it again by bringing us another album of lovely, electro-acoustic ambient music bolstered and bettered by field recordings that add new dimensions of space and sound. ” – Norman Records
“One year after Viridian Loops and 2019’s April Spiral, British sound artist and musician Wil Bolton released a new solo album. Surface Reflections is out now via Greek label sound in silence. According to the press release, it consists of five long-form tracks of warm ambient, with a total duration of about 44 minutes. Blending layers of field recordings, recorded in Hong Kong and focused on everyday sounds, with delicate loops of guitars and synths, manipulated and edited with effect pedals and laptop processing, Bolton creates one of his best albums to date.
Surface Reflections is a sublime album of emotive melodies, hypnotic soundscapes and mesmerizing textures, carefully mastered by George Mastrokostas (aka Absent Without Leave) and highly recommended for devotees of ambient pioneers such as Brian Eno, Harold Budd and Steve Roach.” – Son Of Marketing
“Put on the circuit via the Greek Ambient staple Sound In Silence on July 15th, 2k19 is Wil Bolton’s new album “Surface Reflections”, the artists second longplay outing on the label after his 2014-released “Whorl”. Making a return with five new tracks and a limited print run of 200 hand-numbered copies we see the long time-established artist bringing forth quite an unusual musical approach compared to the releases within the Sound In Silence-catalogue over the past year or so as he pairs up a darker, droning and more experimental sonic backdrop with Field Recordings captured in Hong Kong and soft Post-PostRock textures in the album opener “Shrouded” whereas “In The Air Of The Morning” evokes memories of the late 90s and early 2000s with its beautiful polylayered and all embracing, yet slightly glitched out Ambient / Indietronica sound. The follow up named “Shallows” brings forth full on floating Ambient romanticism at its best, “Crossing” offers more tender guitar-textures alongside a distinct peaceful and intimate balearic sunset vibe bordering the popular PopAmbient genre in parts whereas the concluding title track “Surface Reflections” amalgamates slowly meandering pads and a minimalist, carefully performed ever repeating guitar motif to create a most calm and comforting sonic pillow able to turn everyone into a die-hard Ambient / ChillOut head within a few minutes only. Great stuff. Get.” – NiteStylez
“The most recent works that Wil Bolton has been involved in have featured fields recordings from far off lands. Releases like this one, “Viridian Loops” and “Lygan” (as part of Anzio Green) have focused on everyday sound as an important part of his compositions. Bolton weaves in delicate, whispy elements of sound into these field recordings resulting in a hazy listening experience. It’s almost the musical equivalent of summer heat rising from the pavement casting of mirage like visions. With the opener “Shrouded” being quite a piece that has all the elements jostling in sound, the second piece “In the Air Of The Morning” strips it back to leave a minimal mix of background field recordings and treated guitars that strum or flicker, glitch like. The music is opened up as neither sound element dominates the space making for clarity and a nice contemplative listen. “Shallows” sees the field recordings come into play more often with Bolton using his flickering guitar lines to add melodic texture to the almost industrial nature of the field recordings.
“Crossing” has Bolton’s guitar playing interacting or possibly reacting to the field recordings. The guitar is a mixture of fragile tones and gentle strumming that paints a warped vision while the field recordings remain constant (although there is a indicator like switch sound which adds a rhythm. While some of his field recordings in the aforementioned recent releases were more rural, these pieces are interactions with city life. The closer and title track continues the ground work laid by the first four pieces mixing in water sounds, while the guitars are so fractured they sound as if they are transmissions being interrupted and scattered across the field recordings.” – Drifting, Almost Falling
“The title of this record is so apt, as it glistens with warm tones and subtle field recordings, pedals and processing. The way he melds field recordings of background voices (people and birds), open air mics and gentle melody is inspired. An ambient record that at times sits-in-wait, patiently, not for anything specific, but for certain sounds to bloom organically. Parts are repetitive, but in so being, are mesmerizingly so. Water seems at the core here, breaking surfaces, and making sense of how this snapshot of our most valuable natural resource can be more emergent than drowing. Bolton offers a benign reminder of our sensitivity (and reliance) on the more subliminal nature of H2O.” – Tone Shift