James Batty - Sanctuary (Overtones And Deviations) [Frozen Lights 041 Promo]
Put out on the circuit in early May via the Russian imprint Frozen Light is "Sanctuary (Overtones And Deviations)", the debut album by London-based pianist and composer James Batty who, kinda bored out by the limitations of the western 12 tone scales, decided to enhance his natural instrument to explore and develop new scales and tonal structures which are - as the title suggests - influenced by overtones found in natural harmonies. Released as a limited edition of 300 copies worldwide the young composer covers a musical range from repetetive (Neo)Classical figures like the ones found in the opening tune "Fantasia" to short Ambient / Drone resembling passages in "Frontier" and even score'esque melancholia for rainy winter days served by the pretty much inward looking, minimalistic post-romanticism of "Reflexion" which has a kinda theatrical quality to it musically. In "Giants" we experience solemn late night vibes which meet experiments in modular synthesis soundwise, creating an atmosphere well suitable for late 60s black and white science-fiction or futurism-themed movies due to its tense, slightly brooding vibrato, "Microcosm" could well accompany educational slow motion recordings of cell division or viral replication, emphasizing on the fascination of as well as inherent danger lying within the process whilst "Below The Edge" comes across as fragile miniature dealing with nothing but the crystalline beauty of piano sound. The off-kilter tones of "Tree Rings" and their modulation in speed raise one's attention in a kind of alarming way, triggering instincts and announcing possible dangers, "Hexes" serves a more tentative exploration in sound which is, as most of the tracks featured on "Sanctuary (Overtones And Deviations)", not too far off from the natural piano although the slight alterations become more obvious in the tunes dramatic sequences, and "Monarchy" amalgamates buzzing Drone intensity and playful, elfish flute and violin harmonies fluttering through a deep and thick forest before "Deviations" sees a comeback of more theatrical composition and narrative techniques to conclude the album after roughly 40 minutes. As a bonus track owners of the CD version will find the additional "Balustrade" which starts off on a slightly percussive, alien ritual vibe before trailing off into knob twisting experimentalisms, theremin-resemblances and uneasy Deep Listening Music with a, again, score'esque and maybe even Radiophonic Workshop-influenced twist. Interesting stuff!
Album artwork on Instagram!