Andrew Heath - Soundings album review

A seductive ambient blend of instruments and field recordings

Andrew Heath - Soundings album artwork

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Soundings is a collection of pieces that work on different levels of activity. Wanderlust starts with someone typing followed by footsteps slowly walking away, as if embarking on a journey. Heath’s synth and piano then begin a laconic conversation joined by background voices. The reverbed notes hang in space like unanswered questions, reminiscent of Morton Feldman or Brian Eno’s Thursday Afternoon. But rather than the pristine environment that Eno presents to the listener, Heath invites them to enter an inhabited space. After about eight minutes of its 14-minute length, Heath and guest guitarist Anne Chris Bakker play a sparse melody over bells and background crackles. Each piece has a distinct character. On Winter On Noorederhaaven, the chill outside is palpable as a clock ticks away the minutes in the fading afternoon light. On Days In Between, Stéphane Marlot’s rich cello lines weave around a distressed musical box mechanism, and there’s absent‑minded whistling on Happenstance. A Break In The Clouds is the most lyrical. Across distant birdsong and tiny bells, Heath’s piano engages in a striking duet with Bill Howgego on clarinet.

Mike Barnes

Mike Barnes is the author of Captain Beefheart - The Biography (Omnibus Press, 2011) and A New Day Yesterday: UK Progressive Rock & the 1970s (2020). He was a regular contributor to Select magazine and his work regularly appears in Prog, Mojo and Wire. He also plays the drums.