Richard Skelton – ‘Marking Time’

September 28, 2008 § Leave a comment

Published: The Vine, September 25, 2008.

Richard Skelton
Marking Time
(Preservation/Inertia)

Sometimes words just won’t do. Emotions and evocations of a certain ilk only stand to be trivialised by language and discourse. Marking Time, a harrowingly beautiful new series of sound sketches from Lancashire composer and instrumentalist Richard Skelton, engenders this schema indelibly.

A stunning ode to his late wife and to the landscape with which they shared such an intrinsic connection, Marking Time is one of the most striking, stark and deftly poignant records you’ll hear. With little more than whispers of cello, guitar and distant piano, Skelton’s vignettes render a vision that is both austere and gently ambient, remote and intensely intimate. Its true beauty pervades with repetition and time.

It’s difficult to separate the record’s seven pieces, although the subtly swooping strings and hushes of shimmering ambience that comprise opening overture ‘Grange’, the gentle twist of cello and piano that mark ‘Fold’ and the glacial vista that is ‘Heys’ seem to leave an especially enduring imprint. Closing track ‘Stake’ is a deft summation those before it; a sprawling, wide-screen outlook entwines a guitar so close you could touch.

The effect is startling and utterly affecting. Marking Time drifts and arcs; it swells and pulses; it fade into an opaque, mist-shrouded mid-distance. Only the beauty and tragedy that is memory remains.

Dan Rule

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