The Green Kingdom – Seen And Unseen

There has been no better time to catch up on reviews than today. The gradual change from an overly long Summer into the approaching Autumn season is a fitting backdrop to The Green Kingdom’s ‘Seen and Unseen’ at the time of writing. The Green Kingdom is of course, the solo musical project of Michigan-based Michael Cottone, who has been featured in numberous Irregular Crates reviews over the years. The album is brought to us by Sound In Silence Records, the prolific label within the ambient and experimental music scene from Athens, Greece.

‘Seen And Unnseen’ begins with the gentle and dreamy ‘Kodama’, a track that melds intricate finger picked acoustic guitar in overlapping parts with the subtle support of sustained organ chords in the background. The slightest imperfections in the form of audible hiss provide a rustic and intimate listening experience. Looped progressions, as heard in ‘Illuminations (dub)’ are smoothly developed by the additions of swells and warbling notes as the track approaches a slow decline.

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There are mournful moments, hinted by the spacious and depth of ‘Cloud Wanderings’ and ‘Dorado’; the sense of openness and unbound spread leaves room for afterthoughts and reflection. I draw a likeness to Good Weather For An Airstrike, The Echelon Effect, and The American Dollar, who comfortably sit alongside The Green Kingdom on cinematic instrumental music. For this reviewer, the highlights of the album can be found where Cottone’s beautiful acoustic guitar work is allowed to shine. ‘Breathing Sea’ is a fine example of this, where a clever use of counterpoint and complimenting keyed elements combine to present a musical exchange that is truly outstanding.

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The album draws to a close with ‘Sleeping Forest’. As the song title may suggest, the album’s closure is a soft and inviting movement that reflects upon many of the feelings encountered when listening to ‘Seen And Unseen’ a multitude of times. The prominence of field recordings give a sense of time and place,  and the use of reversed audio fits the acoustic guitar seamlessly with the more synthesised elements in Cottone’s sonic palette. As with many of the works put out by Cottone over the years as The Green Kingdom, there is a great sense of flow from start to finish; the album is orchestrated precisely and with heart. The careful mix of organic and digital instrumental textures blend well and cohesively that give the album a varied yet consistent feel.

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The Green Kingdom – ‘Seen And Unseen’ is available in a limited edition run of CDs in handmade packaging, and also a digital download via the Sound In Silence Bandcamp page.

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