James Osland and Finn Kelvin – Colourless

James Osland and Finn Kelvin - Colourless, wilting sunflower and faded street sign against a black background

Let me tell you straight up: the bucolic opening to James Osland and Finn Kelvin’s album “Colourless”, with its gentle droning tones, rolling waves, and wash of warm chords, is misleading. The ambiguous low rumble and jangling at the end of the piece suggests as much. The nocturnal hush of second track ‘Until Tomorrow Morning, Then’ quietly ushers in a darker mood by way of minor key glimmers, faint burbling electronics, and soft ringing; the groans from the deep and low throbbing of ‘Four Hands, Twenty Fingers’ only confirms the English duo’s chosen moody and introspective course.

There’s not much information available online about our two guides through these quietly affecting sonic landscapes, but Discogs suggests they’ve collaborated before. The seven pieces on “Colourless” apparently emerged from live improvisations, and they share an openness of form in keeping with such origins. To my ears the sounds are predominantly electronic in nature, but there are plenty of ambiguous rumbles, crackles, and glimmers that could be derived from a wide variety of sources. A dog barks on ‘The World Isn’t That Easily Turned Upside Down’, and the buzzings, low glow, and swirls of hissing air mark this out as perhaps the most ambitious piece of the album, encapsulating the general sense of isolation without turning to outright pathos.

The album ends with the quiet thrum of ‘Certainly It Was Hard To View This Mass Of People’, tones that may be from a guitar glistening like rays of sunrise reflected in dewdrops. It’s a return to the more bucolic mood with which the album began, and suggests perhaps an acceptance or coming to terms with the darkness in between. “Colourless” is a fairly short but intriguing glimpse into the sound world of Osland and Finn, leaving me curious to hear more from the duo.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2840862257 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small track=2908218544]

James Osland

Finn Kelvin

Flaming Pines

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