Andrew Heath "The Silent Cartographer" CD
Although Andrew Heath's debut solo CD "The Silent Cartographer" was released two years ago, during July 2014, I wasn't aware of this, in the UK based sound alchemist until the end of April 2016. What a pity I didn't explore this crafted soundscaper much earlier! Out on UK's Disco Gecko Recordings, a label created in 1998 by Toby Marks of Banco de Gaia, the CD comes in a really beautiful 6-panel eco wallet featuring stunning cover painting by Andrew Heath's wife Zoë, surrounded by immersing photographs taken by the artist himself. What a beauty, kudos to all of you, guys, for such amazing cover art splendor!!! A CD like this is a collector's dream, that's for sure! Credit list includes also above mentioned Toby Marks, who is responsible for superior mastering work.
"The Silent Cartographer", a 13-minute title track, immediately delves deeply into the visual magic of the album with its microscopically detailed, crystalline clear rural field recordings and titillating found sounds of diverse squeaks, rumbles, twinkles..., while soothingly embracing washes clandestinely permeate, drift and meander above along with balmy piano vistas. Audiophile quality sound is another bonus here, a headphone listening is a true revelation!!! Additional intriguingly reverberating subtleties add a truly mindscaping dimension, occasional ear-piercing sample glimpses are absolutely unexpected too. The title couldn't have been chosen any better for this composition. After the visual bliss is time for the aural one!!! Bravo, Andrew!!! "This Twilight World" unfolds with enigmatic, nocturnally flatlined drone, gossamer chimes and ephemeral poetic piano. Stringed poignancy surreptitiously joins as well along with emerging atmospheric zones and percolating piano lyricism, always counterpointed with ear-tickling traceries. Still rather minimal, yet utterly detailed and magnificently enchanting composition. An aural paradise, a nearly 10 minutes long granular amalgamate at its most sophisticated and immersing!!! "Shoreline (Found Object)" shifts into more abstract level at the beginning, but soon transmuting into enveloping haze, where long-forgotten memories awake and continuously bathe the listener's ears with its beautifully contemplative minimalism, where nuancing heart-warming expressions are insistently imbued by soothingly engrossing stillness. Again meticulously balanced and emotionally-driven piece!!! Short "Paper Boat", which doesn't reach 3-minute mark, safely remains on the path of pleasantly evocative piano reveries. "Still Point" is announced by glitchy shimmers, while emanating drifts slowly expand into tranquilly surrounding horizons, precisely displayed by its title, together with delicately diaphanous location recollections and transient piano reflections. Exquisitely transporting listening experience, a true aural placidness!!! "The Poet’s Dream", a 10-minute closing composition, reveals with slightly more abstract feel, where flimsy noises, bleeps and tinkles are constantly commingled with serpentine drones. But then piano slowly awakes and steals the center stage with its emotive tapestries, confronted with crescendoing and diminuendoing meridians. This is a truly gorgeous lyrical conclusion, well-done, Andrew!!!
"The Silent Cartographer" album is filled with euphoniously rewarding delicateness, masterfully polished with filigreeing attention to every single detail. It's a very strong debut work, I won't even hesitate to use the word triumphant, because this, nearly 55 minutes long recording showcases exceptionally creative potential and distinguishably sensitive artistry of its sole protagonist. Once more, bravo, Andrew!!! By the way, the digital version of this album features additional two tracks, "Kleine Blume Irgendwo (A Homage To Joachim)", dedicated to Hans Joachim Roedelius, and "In Search Of Eden", clocking together to almost 32 minutes. It's a pity, at least one of these pieces didn't make it to the CD version, preferably, I would like to see them both on the CD in some slightly squeezed lengths. In any case, the name Andrew Heath is a big revelation for my ears!!! And last but not least, Andrew Heath has released in October 2015 follow-up album entitled "Flux", which is no short in aural and visual excellence of its predecessor.
Richard Gürtler (Aug 22, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)