Switched On – R. Seiliog: Ash Dome (Cue Dot Records)

r-seiliog reviewed by Ben Hogwood What’s the story? For the eighth in the Cue Dot Series, Paul Scott turns to Wales and the Snowdonia-based Robin Edwards, aka R. Seiliog. Ash Dome is his first full length release since 2018, taking both its title and structure from a living sculpture by David Nash (below)
Seiliog writes ambient music and dresses his work on this album with field recordings made in Coed Camlyn between March and May 2021. What’s the music like? Beautifully restful. The field recordings are a lovely complement to Edwards’ textures, which are light in the extreme and often glint at the edges, as though catching the early morning sun. Rotunda is a good example of this, a sonic portrayal of how beaten metal might reflect bright sunlight. Mind Garden brings birdsong into the equation, a robin making itself known quite early on. There is a natural ebb and flow in the music, the wind in the branches portrayed through subtle, dappled electronic movements, with pockets of melody that take time establishing themselves, but make a subtle mark. 22 Onnen pulses softly with warm textures, while a steadier beat emerges during In The Direction Of Sunlight. Ultimately though this is music that works at its best without a beat marking time, and the treble-rich sounds give a lasting brightness. Does it all work? Yes. The musical representation of the sculpture is strong, but like the structure it also has an endearing vulnerability, reflecting the plight of treasured green spaces. The fact that the location of Nash’s sculpture had to be withheld shows how precious and endangered these things are, and that reflects in the slightly rarefied nature of Edwards’ music. Is it recommended? It is – an album that again with Cue Dot works on several levels, as a background balm or as thought provoking statement on the environment. Both are valid approaches from which to enjoy a rather lovely album. Stream and Buy