*AR – Succession
A new release involving Richard Skelton usually provokes a reflex purchase and it never disappoints. ‘Succession’ sees Richard return to the *AR moniker alongside Autumn Richardson, with whom he composed the brilliant ‘Wolf Notes’ back in 2011. As is the case with much of Richard’s work, Wolf Notes was originally published via the Corbel Stone Press and Aeolian Editions imprints, which cater for those interested in digital music and listeners who prefer a beautiful physical edition. Wolf Notes was also re-issued by the mighty Type label.
With *AR’s sophomore album, the duo present a four-strong collection of Richard’s mournful droning string arrangements and Autumns beautifully delicate vocals. The quality of landmark Skelton records such as Landings and Marking Time has been carried through and as familiar as the sound feels to my ears, I’ll never tire of it. I often feel as though the droning texture of the strings could loop forever and thankfully with Succession, they clock in at a slightly longer running time than in Wolf Notes. This gives time for the impact to really drive home, with Autumn’s vocals providing that variation to retain your interest.
As with most Skelton-related material, there is a ‘sweet spot’ piece; a track which I really connect with. Here, this power lies with ‘Seed Memory’, the longest track. The looping strings are so incredibly beautiful it has me filing it alongside my all-time Richard Skelton favourites.
The inspiration behind Succession was born from further explorations of the Devoke Water landscape in Cumbria, which further develops the overriding theme within Wolf Notes. To my ears, these albums are best enjoyed when played back-to-back, when you’ve the spare time to listen to the entire *AR project in full.