Cotton Wolf, a Welsh duo comprising of Llion Robertson and Seb Goldfinch, seem to exist in the same stratosphere as folk such as Luke Abbott, whose Holkham Drones album provided me with a means to send my then baby son to slumberland on long journeys through glorious countryside, and I will be forever grateful for that reprieve!
Life In Analogue is a similarly hypnotic (albeit far more varied) work, though the chances of it now sending a now hyperactive seven year old even vaguely bleary eyed are probably somewhat remote, I suspect…
No matter, for the pair’s first outing for Bubblewrap is full of dreamy aural landscapes like ‘Lliwiau‘, which feels rather like we are bathing in the most natural of spring waters while staring up in awe at the beauty of a Swiss mountain. Or a Welsh one at least. This is due, at least in part, to the breathy vocals of the wonderful Alys Williams, which elevates an already fine composition into something capable of leading our minds gently into a somewhat nirvanic state. A Class A drug but without the comedown, if you will.
The whole shenanigan kicks off with ‘Glosh‘, which sprinkles its love dust over everyone before going all Disclosure on us, like the local barber is shaving the back of your neck whilst performing intricate dance moves in a surprisingly graceful manner. There are certainly shades of some of the ‘big hitters’ here too, the longest track ‘Cage Of Light‘, amongst others, evoking comparison’s with the likes of Massive Attack, all the while retaining its own sense of self – you could never level any claims of copyist grandeur at Cotton Wolf; those soul-stirring swathes of strings give them a niche all of their own.
One can quite confidently reason that Kraftwerk have played a major role soundtracking the lives of Robertson and Goldfinch too, specifically towards the closing stages of Life In Analogue, where the pulsating ‘While Night Grows‘ evokes Karl Bartos at his very best. This is probably the key track, for me, as it feels like the journey from birth through childhood and adolescence to adulthood and perhaps even beyond. A lot of the compositions here do possess that gentle otherworldliness that makes for a compelling listen and only improves with subsequent spins, especially those with Williams as the vocal helm.
Often, this is musical cinematography at its best, and as a result, Life In Analogue is a real winner of an album, especially if you’d rather escape the real world into a fantasial dream version instead. And let’s face it, these days, who doesn’t?
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