Recording as Another Neglected Hobby, musician Mark Cotton sets out on his newest release to create “a soundtrack to use while watching the movement of the stars and planets across Earth’s night sky.” For your stargazing pleasure he offers the hour-and-a-quarter long Deep End of the Night Sky, an excellent long-form piece that shifts through several compatible identities as it moves along. Even with these shifts, Cotton never ventures into a sound-zone that disturbs the simple pleasure of listening and letting your mind’s eye create planetarium-quality starscapes. (And, yes, when New England weather allows it again, I will listen to this out on the deck while stargazing.) The moves and changes are organic and sensible. By way of illustrating the diversity at work here, I’ll tell you that one recent day I set this to loop in my office, then went about my day. It was interesting to note, each time I came back into the room, what tone this piece had taken on. At one point I entered a space that was cold and a little ominous, filled with low-end tones; on another visit, I was in a much warmer, calm floating space, immediately soothing. Cotton’s style is to launch far-stretching pads and let them slowly fade, the resonant sounds meshing easily with the newer formations as they rise. There’s a sort of easy complexity at work; you understand, in listening, that Cotton is manipulating and moving a lot of sound, but it all flows together without so much as a bump. This is also what allows those shifts to occur so smoothly. Deep End… is a big piece of work, packing a real sense of vastness and celestial beauty. Cotton spins his tale with practiced patience and a real ear for harmony. This is most certainly a disc to loop, as the journey melds end-to-end with ease and it’s likely you won’t want it to end.
Available from the Another Neglected Hobby web site.