In preparing for this review, there have been several times where I listened to this release in my car. This, I am reasonably sure, constitutes driving under the influence. Hushed drones, light industrial touches, and slow-moving beats come together to capture musician Mark Cotton’s memories of Sleeping With the Window Open in his rural town as a boy. That inadvertent blend of sounds coursing through the darkness, from the natural to the mechanical, the close and the distant, manifests itself in these nine tracks in a slowly enveloping mist. Rich with low-end sounds and an excellent depth of small detail, the work here is as effective as a “surface” listen as it is when you take the time to go deep. You will become immersed either way. Cotton’s structures are in constant motion, making barely perceptible shifts and additions that nudge the feeling in fresh directions. The details fold in unobtrusively, whether it’s a quiet clap of thunder of the patter of dripping water. They feel like sensible moments within the larger sensation. Overall there is a definite darkness to this album, but it’s not a dark ambient piece per se. The darkness here makes you feel like you’re part of it, not apart from it. It is the feel of having night all around you and being aware, as Cotton notes he still enjoys doing, of the myriad sounds that belie the stillness. It captures our primal fascination with night, pricks lightly at our mistrust of darkness, but ultimately welcomes us into it and makes us one with it. Give this one a good deep listen at first to take in Cotton’s excellent and careful construction. Then just let it loop and be with it. A strong and affecting release from Another Neglected Hobby.
Available from Bandcamp.