SONOMU - A
Review by Stephen Fruitman
Richard Bone´s twenty-five year recording career has seen him release music of impressive diversity - from the dark ambient of "The Spectral Ships" to the playful exotica of "Electropica".
But never has he dubbed an album with such an obvious misnomer as this one. "Sudden" implies rushed or impulsive, which makes it an inappropriate adjective to describe the relaxed moods and subtle undertext of romance which characterize this disc.
Bone crafts not ambient music here - though "The Memory of Caves" does approach the requisite shapelessness - but rather patient, beautiful melodies which each convey their own mood. Like a series of hand-tinted rotogravures, the work on Sudden Departure seems somehow not contemporary, despite the overwhelming predominance of electronic instruments (though piano usually takes the melodic lead). It´s fin-de-siècle, but not the most recent one.
These pieces move, elegantly and unhurried, like a barge floating down the Nile. We are in a still, humid state, rudely green with oversized, fleshy leaves, spending lazy days at colonial hotels drinking tea. Each "postcard" has its own unique personality, like "Temptara", which evokes afternoon shadows growing longer, gaze more difficult to focus, musical foreground and background becoming increasingly and delightfully out of phase with one another.
And yet the whole thing feels cut of the same cloth. As an album, as opposed to a mere collection of individual tracks, it really succeeds.
Simultaneously, Bone has also created a DVD, "Omyma/The Healing Whisper", intended to serve as a meditative device. Which to me seems a contradiction, because in meditation, is one not supposed to concentrate on nothingness, rather than watch pictures change on a monitor? I´d rather apprehend the two fifteen-minute long pieces as ambient videos, beautifully executed and soundtracked. Planet-like globes appear on the screen and slowly change colour, pattern and texture before eventually being swallowed whole by sea- and skyscapes. Act as perfect addenda to Sudden Departure.