Title: The Place It Used To Be
Artist: Cousin Silas
Release Date: 21 Feb 2014
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Label: Sucu Music
The count stands at forty-six. Cousin Silas has forty-six releases to his name, I’ve played some of his work on The CerebralMix, and I know I’ve heard quite a bit of his work over the past five or six years. I know I encountered his work first on the Just Not Normal netlabel back in 2009. In an interview with Thomas Mathie about starting We Are All Ghosts, he mentions Cousin Silas as one of the artists that inspired him to start the label. So why wait until Cousin Silas revisits the place it used to be to write a review?
Honestly most of his releases, while being breathtakingly beautiful, are quite daunting from a review perspective. Take the Dronescape series for example, many of the releases are a single track, and over an hour-long, and typically titled things like ‘Dronscape 6’ or ‘Dronescape 10’. In other words, as gorgeous as they are, they are abstract pieces that designed to allow the listener to fill in their own images. Not quite easily reviewed, no matter how much I wanted to. (I have to admit – I’ve scrapped at least three past attempts at reviews feeling that they didn’t do justice to his work.) Finally this release showed up a few weeks ago and it immediately went into the review queue.
On The place it used to be, Cousin Silas takes us on a journey through a series of sketches. These are the places of Cousin Silas’s youth in a small valley, with a river running through it and an old, abandoned watermill.
Each track is evocative of a portion of the landscape, from the Merrydale Bridge, to the Deserted Valley. Cousin Silas walks along paths that have been lost to time, and rediscovers much of the peace and tranquility he knew as child in this valley.
In taking us on this journey, he uses long-form synthesizer drones with spacious guitar and piano melodies. He paints pictures of not only the landscape, but the feelings as well, in pieces like ‘Autumn Arrives’ and ‘The Stars Shone Brighter’.
For anyone that is looking for a work to familiarize themselves with an artist they may not be familiar with, but whose output can be daunting to select from, I cannot recommend this work highly enough. It is a simply gorgeous and touching tribute to both a place, and a time in Cousin Silas’s life.