Title: Silas & Friends Volume 3
Artist: Cousin Silas & Friends
Release Date: 2014 May 04
Genre: Electronic / Ambient
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: We Are All Ghosts
I wrote in my review of The Place It Used To Be that reviewing a Cousin Silas release is a daunting task. Mostly because a lot of works, like the Dronescape series, are single 60+ minute long tracks that are abstract works that allow the listener to supply their own images. Well, I should be careful with my comments. Here’s a work that has twenty-six tracks, but is over two and a half hours long. Exploring Silas and friends soundscapes is as daunting a task as exploring a Dronescape release. But, as always, it’s a pleasure to dive into a Cousin Silas release any day of the week, so I’ll give it a go.
Exploring Silas And Friends Soundscapes
The first thing I would note is that I have not heard volumes 1 & 2 in this series. So, I can’t make any comparisons between this release and the previous releases in this series. However, I can say that I have heard Cousin Silas teamed up with several of these artists on other releases. So, I am not completely unfamiliar with this kind of work.
In approaching a work that is over two and a half hours long, it would be impossible to cover all of the styles represented on this release. However with twenty-six tracks on this release there is more than just something for everyone – there is a lot of something’s that should cover just any everyone (except maybe people who are only into death metal — and even then they might still find something they like on this release).
Beyond the range of music included on this release, there is something that is even more astonishing. The almost chameleonic ability of Cousin Silas to shape and blend his style ways that many artists spend a lifetime trying to master. On this release, Cousin Silas makes it seem second nature. These collaborations sound every bit as effortless and natural as any of his Dronescape releases, or any other release for that matter.
Cousin Silas brings the exact quality needed to each track, be it an earthly anchored quality, a spacey timeless feel, a haunting ethereal dimension or something completely different. Cousin Silas has the ability to hear what each of his collaborators is doing within a piece and supplement their works in ways that reinforce, enhance it, while in many cases adding another dimension.
For me, the most unexpected track on this release was ‘Dating In The 21st Century – Part 1’ with Rebekkah Hilgraves. First off, I love the film noir style narrative, which Hillgraves delivers in pitch perfect tone, and exacting cadences. And, when Hillgraves breaks character briefly it feels like a genuine moment between the two collaborators. It adds another layer to the piece, making it feel as if it is a live performance instead of just a studio assembly.
The one piece on this release that didn’t really come together for me was ‘The Lost Language Of The Innocent’ with Piper Ben. I don’t fault either artist on this track. Rather, this is a kind of composition that I, while I understand it, I don’t appreciate in the same way that others do. The idea of sustained drones, with found sounds woven throughout just becomes a form of sonic wallpaper, it’s just there without much of anything to make allow me to attach to.
Some other tracks that I really love on this release: ‘Dreaming’ with Steve Austin Rose, ‘Think Of A Sound’ with Ian Scott, ‘Transit’ with Doug Lynner, ‘Entangled Realms’ with jack Hertz, ‘The Enclosing’ with Ian Craig, and ‘Wings’ with Dagmar Salomon.
Personally, I hope many of the readers that make their way to my site are already fans of Cousin Silas. If you aren’t, you should be. And, in the case of Silas & Friends, if you are not familiar with the artists on this release you will undoubtedly want to become better acquainted with their work. This release is an excellent place to start.
This is yet another excellent release from Cousin Silas. I won’t say that I like all the tracks on this release. I probably only like twenty-four or twenty-five of them. I still think the duo of Silas & Hillgraves was possibly the most surprising and entertaining on this release. While I listed a few other tracks that really caught my attention, the overwhelming majority of this release is really excellent. Come, go exploring Silas and friends soundscapes…