Our next release sees the collaboration between Wil Bolton and Phil Edwards (owner of Assembly Field Recordings) continue, under their Ashlar alias. This follows previous material which had appeared on Time Released Sound (2012) and Hibernate Recordings (2014). Distant Scenes shows a progression in their sound: whilst the previous material was recorded via jam sessions in Liverpool, their latest work was recorded in distant locations after Wil had moved to London. The sound is a beautiful collection of piano and guitar drones, with field recordings also taking centre stage. This might be one for those who enjoy work by Ian Hawgood, David Newlyn or Caught In The Wake Forever.
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Ashlar are British duo Wil Bolton from London and Phil Edwards from The Wirral, Liverpool. They began collaborating around 2011 ahead of their debut release ‘Saturday Drones’ on Time Released Sound and followed this up with ‘St. James’ Gardens’ on Hibernate Recordings in 2014.
These albums were the result of lazy Saturday afternoons spent in various public houses in Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter which were followed by evenings spent jamming in Wil’s studio. In the early days, both artists were residents of the city, meaning impromptu recording sessions could be arranged with relative ease. However, after the first two albums Wil relocated back to London, which meant that when they began to work together again, a very different approach was necessary. Instead of jamming and producing together, they worked remotely, usually initiated by the sharing of recordings, which were then added to, processed and bounced back and forth until the final tracks emerged.
With ‘Distant Scenes’ most of the sounds began as piano loops (played by Wil) and acoustic guitar parts (played by Phil), which were heavily processed and re-processed several times using both software effects and guitar pedals. Where the first two albums featured environmental sounds from the local area, the field recordings here were made by both artists separately, in wildly varied locations including Japan, Korea and the UK.
Unlike their initial work, this new method of working has taken a great deal longer to fully realise, given that the process was less immediate and more meticulous.
Distant Scenes is an album built around distance, time and space as their different recording locations inspired new but separate ideas. A warm but blurry canvas has been woven over a four year period, as time has rusted the memories of the good old days spent jamming on their earlier albums and newer ideas have been corroded into a melancholic fuzz.
Written and produced by Wil Bolton and Phil Edwards
Mastered by Wil Bolton
Artwork by Wil Bolton