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Jon Brooks - How To Get To Spring

  by Adrian P

published: 5 / 5 / 2020

Jon Brooks - How To Get To Spring
Label: Clay Pipe Music
Format: LP


The Advisory Circle’s Jon Brooks returns yet again under his solo guise to Clay Pipe Music with a record that finds light in the darkness for our anxious time

For some of us, the darkness of winter seems to drag on even longer each year. When the new album from Jon Brooks dropped into the digital-promo in-tray a good few weeks ago it felt like a suitably subtle soundtrack to see out the last murky vestiges of winter in favour of springtime lightness. Now at time of review-writing, with many people across a health-crisis-stricken planet facing months isolated indoors and from each other just as the seasons shift for our feathered friends to remind us of their real-world tweeting, ‘How To Get To Spring’ seems to hold an even deeper resonance. Neither hermetically hauntological nor purely psychogeographical, ‘How To Get To Spring’ takes in elements from the best of past Brooks works, the overlapping philosophies of his labelmates and a raft other influences. Openly informed by the usual transition between British seasons and part-infused by some specific outdoor roaming in the Isle of Skye, Brooks has expertly-constructed a conceptual statement that is meticulously meshed-together with organic and synthetic instrumental textures. The gorgeous ‘Fonn’ is a wonderful way to start the record, with its plaintive piano lines, acoustic guitar figures, shimmering percussion and flute sounds unfurling like cosy rodents emerging from a subterranean winter home to the soothing sounds of birdsong. The ensuing ‘A Lesson On Attachment’ takes us into a more abstract plain, built around unplugged yet treated guitars, rippling ethereal electronics and lightly-stomping drums before the long-player veers between sombre as well as elevating moodscapes. Hence, ‘Dreaming And Further Still’ is largely painted as a scenic piano-driven miniature with occasional strings-replicating flourishes and watery colourings; ‘Dandelion Clock’ tiers-up bucolic guitars and kosmische synths like Bert Jansch tangled-up with Tangerine Dream; and the sublime ‘Siorraidh’ takes a shadier turn to imagine a vocal-free Cocteau Twins circa ‘Victorialand’ or ‘Blue Bell Knoll’ with some added grandeur. Towards the LP’s coda, ‘Neist Point’ and ‘Well Then’ both venture into something akin to the more ambient passages of Air’s ‘Moon Safari’, ahead of the title-track waving us out with ornithological field recordings, glistening percussion, elegiac synths and skeletal piano lines as if it were a compilation of calls and responses between technology, humanity and the natural world. Although ‘How To Get To Spring’ may not be the most instantly accessible affair from Jon Brooks, considered listening yields redemptive dividends. Moreover, its gradualist hibernation-ending journey should give some comfort to those facing a protracted period waiting for a path to less troubled future times.

Track Listing:-
1 Fonn
2 A lesson on attachment
3 Dreaming and further still
4 Dandelion clock
5 Siorraidh
6 Neist Point
7 Well then
8 How to get to spring

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