Crackling static, digitally manipulated field recordings of birds, lovely chord progressions played on guitar and piano, and pastoral atmospheres await the Lost Property listener.
I reviewed Kingbastard’s Brainfunk EP on Herb Recordings back in September 2011, so it seemed a natural thing to investigate his latest release on Herb, Lost Property. Initially, I was quite surprised by the stylistic difference between Chris Weeks’ previous release—”electro-glitch and Ninja Tune plunderphonics” was how I characterized it at the time—and this one, which is more of an ambient-acoustic excursion; however, once I settled in to try to understand this work on its own merits, rather than by comparison to what came before, I found it to be an accomplished record with a few standout tracks.
This is a concept album, so it’s important to start off by understanding the concept: It “draws its inspiration from happening upon an old abandoned house whilst walking in the foothills of the Preseli Mountains, West Wales… there are sixteen self-contained tracks, each meticulously depicting the different moods evoked upon discovery, exploration of, and departure from the property,” the Herb presser informs us, and I think without that explanation the album would feel quite disjointed, because the tracks are indeed “self-contained” and range from staticy, distant pure-ambient chords like “Old Blue” to the Krautrock crescendo of “Fireplace” (which for me was the most exciting track on the album).
The opener “D.U.S.T.” draws us in with stately chords, gentle clicks, and doubled vocoder/human vocals chanting an alphabetical list of synonyms for Dust — from “ashes, cinders” to “sand and soil”. Many of the tracks, true to their inspiration, have a distant, hazy feel, evoking the feelings Weeks might have experienced walking through a long-empty house, coated in dust and slowly disintegrating back into the earth. “Glim” provides a shuffling hip-hop beat and a video to go along with it, which is a great visual manifestation of the ramshackle mood of the album. I should note, too, that on the digital release each of the tracks has its own distinct cover art to help visually convey the intent or mood of the piece (see below photo scroll). A nice touch, seldom seen. “Take Me Home” provides a brief excursion into folk, with a sung vocal and guitar motif that sounds like it’s being played back from aged, warped vinyl.
Crackling static, digitally manipulated field recordings of birds, lovely chord progressions played on guitar and piano, and pastoral atmospheres await the Lost Property listener. Although there are sixteen diverse tracks on offer here, they are mostly brief mood pieces which ably accomplish the “concept”: capturing Chris Weeks’ experiences of his Welsh encounter and transmitting them across time and space to the audience.