Test Card – Music For The Towers (Sound In Silence, 2020)


Oh it’s been Winter for a long time, or at least it feels like it has. The seemingly endless wind and rain and grey skies: the suppression of mood has really become palpable in recent weeks. One of my friends said recently she couldn’t wait for Summer and being able to sit out in the garden on the evenings, drinking something cold and alcoholic. I’m starting to feel the same way.

Signs of Spring are on the horizon though, with a few bits of blossom here and there, and the daffodils are out here too. And inside? Well, Music For The Towers is a Summer’s vestige if ever I’ve heard one, and a dream of the changes to come despite its mid-Winter release date.

Comprised of nothing more than humble guitar chords, synths, distal field recordings, and elegiac drone lines, Music For The Towers sounds like an echo, a fragment of bucolic times trapped in the radiosphere. “We Oscillated Like Sheep Grazing on Grassy Waveforms” paints whole pastoral scenes, birdsong nestled in amidst longform movements of glowing electronica. The motion of a Summer’s evening, painted and prolonged, is projected into space, calming vibes extruded from aural resonance.

Gentle waves lap at the edges of “Let Single Sideband Loneliness Receivers Be Happy”, synths following close behind all aglow with a humming energy that effuses with radiance. Punctuated guitar transmissions crack through in periodic melodic bursts giving the piece a strange weight, a leaden feeling that holds this tidal season to account: please don’t go/please come back. A less explicit version arrives early in sophomore “Data Taken Over Under Rating”, whose rhythmic lines come and go in soft waves, undulating drones making way for lush guitar pickings and ethereal synth drifts.

Carefree and cute and quaint, it moves with precision but also lackadaisical handwaving grace. It’s easygoing, uninterruptible, relaxed. Not until its last quarter does the arpeggiated synth arrive to give it a certain structure, gentle electronic rigour just sketching the outline of the sinking Summer night sky beginning to twinkle overhead.

The best is to be found in the lush “Horizontal Sweep Correction Lullaby”, cradling these near majestic synth pulsations that swell like sunlight bending from below the horizon. The world swims in to view, carried in on the suggestions of radio warble that thrum in the background, suspending the glittering electronica that unfurls in radiant ribbons.

It would be nice to see the Sun again soon, but for now I suppose I’ll just stick to my Vitamin D supplements and Test Card.