Approaching by Andrew Sherwell

Andrew Sherwell | Approaching
Rusted Tone Recordings (CS/DL)

Lengthy loops of reverb-soaked choral soundscapes are the order of the day with this new offering by the London-based artist.  Approaching consists of seven tracks assuming the same title, each one reveling in deep blankets of breathy tones.  This is fairly dense stuff at times, but never suffocating, with Sherwell having the patience and restraint to leave those reverb tails hanging in the air like heat haze, before the loops begin again.

Approaching 01 leads the album and sets the overall tone, with wobbling loops of voice and synth that merge into a unified whole.  Little shivers of distortion add some texture around the edges of the layers, creating quite tactile evocations.  Fans of William Basinsksi and Celer will find much to enjoy here, decaying loops crumbling under their own weight, and melancholic melodies simmering under the surface of it all.

Approaching 03 adds an extra feature to the formula with the inclusion of what sounds like the ticking of a clock.  This pulse of thin treble shines out from the murky depths of the underlying foundation of the track.  Approaching 04 begins with the caress of vinyl crackle, before mid-range drones enter the frame and decay into infinity.  There is an undoubtable feeling of sadness in this collection, voices and choral synths communicating in ghostly moans, lending a hauntological streak.

But it’s far from bleak, even when the drones ratchet down to Tomas Koner-like subsonics, there is still the sense of a light at the end of the tunnel.  Approaching 06 utilizes turntable static again, but with a lightness of touch that summons images of dust motes floating in sunrays. The long, slow fade-out of this track leaves the listener basking in silence before the next track, the finale of the album, makes a gradual fade-in entrance.  This creative use of silence is a stand-out moment on an album that focuses, until that point, on so much dense layering.  The final track swells and cascades, until frequencies are stripped away and a lighter tone is left to wash us away to shallower zones, and in these last few minutes we’re approaching the shore on a pleasant surf.

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