Spheruleus – Light Through Open Blinds

The packaging is exquisite the mastering beautiful and the vinyl is solid. The fact that the composer has strong links to this blog does not affect my evaluation of Light Through Open Blinds (also ask anyone who knows me!). I’m on my sixth play of it.

Lost Tribe Sound are publishing a ‘Fell To Shadow’ series of recordings which introduces 8 new albums to the roster.  The line-up includes new releases from William Ryan Fritch, Skyphone, Gavin Miller (featuring Aaron Martin), Spheruleus, here, The Phonometrician and they look to form an excellent subscription service.

Anyway, Spheruleus (Harry Towell) has a new house – after he and his wife became home owners in September 2016.

Sounds forged through the construction of the house move also serve here as an exemplar of the folktronica genre, keeping the genre alive through a suite of interconnected recordings, delicately presented in a stunning vinyl package you’ll be happy to keep as an object – and it’s a kind of journal of the move for Harry.

On side one, field recordings, pastoral guitar and a beautiful slightly atonal piano coalesce to form a recipe. That recipe seems to involve a gently percussive wooden spoon which permeates the album, which could almost be butter being churned by hand, or tweed being folded on a table made from railway sleepers.

Side one is totally organic sounding, a kind of folky Music for Airports, and it’s slow hazy soft collisions are not groundbreaking but they are excellently accomplished – and it’s nice to hear ambient music with a bit of realism. I’m a sucker for field recordings in this kind of thing, probably because I had a background in documentary film.

Side 2 is totally different and opens up a some woodwind, sequencing, sampling of voices, and even a bit of drum machine, in a kind of Kieran Hebden on Diazepam vibe, certainly some early Fourtet references for me. I’ve never heard Harry’s music have such high production values as this. And while it’s a very different mood from side one, it’s totally welcome and the two sides are not unnatural bedfellows.

When the vibe returns to the how the recorded started, it’s been through a kind of transformation, more solid, less ghostly and more positive, the butter churning has died off and the resulting mix is more solid – you get the definite autobiographical sense – especially with the house move backstory, that this is a different life, and the foundations are looking strong for the future.


Album Cover (c) Tom Grimbert