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My latest album ‘Sumida Colours’ is out now on Krysalisound. A huge thanks to Francis M. Gri for mastering and releasing this.

‘Sumida Colours’ is centred around environmental recordings, a toy glockenspiel, bells and furin (wind chimes), all collected during a stay in Sumida-ku, Tokyo, the birthplace of Hokusai.

The title track began by assigning six colours from the palette of Hokusai’s woodblock print ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ to six notes of a musical scale. I then walked the streets of Sumida, taking a photograph each time I saw one of these colours in the details and textures of everyday scenery, and created a musical score from the order in which these colours appeared.

Released by Krysalisound on limited CD and download, 28 May 2021.

Credits

Released by Krysalisound
Composed and recorded in 2020
Mixing & Production by Wil Bolton
Mastering by Francis M. Gri
Artwork by Wil Bolton
Design by KSND

Reviews

“​A fine Sunday suitable ambient LP from Wil Bolton who took inspiration from a trip to Tokyo, Japanese art & randomly found colours before transposing the disparate influences with a minimal, but more than adequate, sound palette into this warm & welcoming listen for Krysalisound.” – The Slow Music Movement

“London based artist & musician Wil Bolton truly is a global citizen, often weaving environmental sounds from places all around the world into his electroacoustic soundscapes. Previous albums have referenced locations ranging from close to home in Britain to continental cities like Vienna, and Budapest all the way to the Arabian Sea and points east. Earlier this year his Cumulus Sketches offered a contemplative sky-faring journey set against the backdrop of rural & urban sounds collected in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong & Sri Lanka and now he returns just months later with another beautifully conceived travelogue rooted in a visit to Sumida, a special ward in the metropolis of Tokyo that is the birthplace of Hokusai. Using environmental recordings and instruments collected during his stay, Bolton came up with an especially creative concept for referencing the colors used in the renowned artist’s most famous woodblock print and tying them to his own experience of the local surroundings.

Bolton weaves these color-keyed notes together with the sounds of Sumida’s streets, his trademark delicate guitar textures, and the tintinnabulations of a toy glockenspiel, bells, and furin (wind chimes) to create seven serenely meandering meditations that, in aggregate, form a portrait of the city in sound from a unique perspective. Bolton has produced so much fine work over the years, it is hard to pick favorites, but for me this album is among his most inspired and is surely on the short list.” – Stationary Travels

“Centered around textured, environmental recordings is the peaceful and relaxing melodies from Wil Bolton’s track, ‘Tatekawa Bridge’ from his recent album, Sumida Colours. Within seconds of listening to the atmospheric track, you’ll be overcome with a sense of calmness and every worry of the day will quietly slip away. I’m thankful the track is nearly eight minutes long as every second is breathtakingly beautiful and serves as the perfect backdrop to my busy Monday afternoon.” – Amparo

“And finally, a track that is at least atmospherically speaking the exact opposite of the above two: Now we are back on earth, a waterfall in the background, mild wind sweeping across our chin and playing with our wind chime dangling there on our porch. And we feel at ease, watching the traffic passing by in the distance. All is good.” – Beatradar

“The latest release from sound sculptor Wil Bolton takes the listener on a journey in seven distinct parts through a diffuse landscape populated by everyday sounds that are framed in such a way that everything around us appears languid and slightly unfamiliar; that intoxication that comes from an unknown country, the first visit holding smells and tastes and sounds that are unfamiliar.

The movement is slow and peaceful, kind of like if you were on the back of a donkey, I would imagine, giving you time to savour all of your surroundings. The sounds evoke an effortless climb through wooded hillside, dotted with temples and plantations, even though the sounds were captured on a trip through Sumida-Ka in Tokyo.

Wil’s idea was to capture sounds that he could use to replicate the colour palette of a particular woodblock print, all subtle pastel shades and washed-out hues, so he has managed to take these city discoveries and transplant them to a more pastoral environment. The random chimes that occur through out the pieces really do evoke an idyllic rural situation, but the field recordings ensure that each section is totally unique, in the same way that a walk through a landscape is always changing due to to what is happening around you. These recordings ground you in the journey and you feel yourself following a path, each turn causing you to assimilate new experiences and sensations.

Some of the pieces on Sumida Colours are less vibrant than others, taking on more of a reflective tones, if that particular leg of the journey were lonelier somehow with less to see and hear; but the warm drift, the intermittent birdsong and the ever-present chimes follow you gently. The more you block out the external world, the more this album has to offer you, with changes of the ambient textures altering your perspective.

There are instruments scattered across the album, but used in such a way that they are almost disembodied, unfamiliar echoes of their former selves — at least until the final track, “Tatekawa Bridge”, in which pretty, soft and slightly jazzy synthtones echo through the rush of water. Its reminiscence of some of Martin Duffy‘s solo work is a pure coincidence, but it does draw the listener back into the real world before the album closes.

It is a real sensory adventure that for me accomplishes more than even Wil perhaps expected. Sumida Colours furthers their desire to release only standout work which takes the listener somewhere fresh and unexpected. Long may that continue.” – Freq