Ian Hawgood & Danny Norbury – Faintly Recollected

Faintly Recollected is a long form piece, bringing together Danny Norbury and Ian Hawgood. The cello is little more than a whisper in their world of quiet encasement; a thin ambient layer rises to greet the cello, lighting up the surrounding area like a dawning sun on a glint of ice.

The melody is slow to move, as if it too were the victim of a cold and frosty January. In reality, Faintly Recollected is a tad warmer than the season’s sub-zero offerings, but it’s a slow awakening, a faint thawing.

Glowing ambient bells act as soft walkways, passing through the deepening cello and lighting up the way ahead like fireflies and fairies, lulling the listener into a sweet surrender. In this blessed marriage, the cello retains its dim, fogged-out light against the backdrop of a thin, radiant drone, its introverted shell weaving in and out before pausing and returning to its silence…ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

The drone is like a statue of smooth stone, but the cello snakes around it. Both feel like they’re hardly there: faint without succumbing to frailty. New-born children are just as frail as the elderly, but one shines with the newness of life while the other is in the midst of failing. Faint heartbeats occupy both of their bodies. So while the music is faint, it isn’t necessarily weak or ancient. It’s the rising sun in the morning: something that will ultimately brighten, a second-old opening of light coming into fruition.

This release falls under the ambient genre, even with the primary inclusion of the cello, which is of course a mainstay in classical and modern composition – one of its most prominent arteries, in fact. The very nature of the long form piece promotes deep solitude and rest, a quiet evening in with only the music and the ghostly company of these two treasured artists. It not only deserves but needs to be played in its entirety. It’s continuity encourages a one-sitting–listen, and only then is its beauty truly revealed.

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