Under the curious moniker hides Phil Begg from Newcastle (a positive sign for starters – does the name :zoviet*france: ring any bell?). Especially known as a creative improviser in the Belgian avant-garde circles, this artist works with an array of processors, microphones and instruments, concocting fascinating sequences of natural-sounding events and seaming the resulting imagery with a compositional maturity that betrays his young age.

We could say that Hatchling features three different stages. In the first part, all one hears is a series of intertwining elements, feeble discharges and toneless secretions superimposed in moderate dynamic alteration. Nothing extraordinarily striking per se, but it’s how these factors are combined that lights a bulb. In fact, these malnourished constituents are deployed very considerately, propagating effortlessly around the listener’s head, totally avoiding that feeling of stereotyped field recording that kills many good intentions in this musical area.

The real mesmeric effects start materializing circa fifteen minutes in. And it happens – you won’t believe it – with water, Hapsburg Braganza having managed to generate something gorgeous with the most worn out kind of environmental accent. It begins with an unadulterated wash, presumably captured at the Crummock Water shore, as Begg indicates in the sleeve notes. Subsequently, the flux grows in intensity until it becomes an actual waterfall, the consequence an extremely effective relaxing therapy, principally when listened via headphones.

From that point on, straight sailing to logical emptiness: a marvelous static drone, perhaps obtained by layering an Indian Harmonium with bowed piano and guitar strings (checking the instrumentation right now) rises from the streams to take full possession of our entire system. The body reaches a state of complete respite, the mind is – as always – ready to be transported in places exclusively accessible to those able to decode a peculiar jargon, where words are a waste of time and vibration is the only desire. The conclusive moments are characterized by the remote, yet still reassuring presence of blackbirds, pigeons and ducks, definitely useful for a gentle awakening from this beneficial analytical inertia.

Forty minutes have passed without us realizing, with just a modicum of ecological and instrumental voices. Delivered from unconstructive thoughts, we set ourselves for another day amidst human vulgarity. When that sort of heart-drying routine tries to molest your internal quietude, give a spin to this beautiful CD.


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