Are you Before / UK / 2023 / CS
'Soothers' collects two long-form pieces from Russell Walker, walking the line between melancholy and disquiet firmly rooted in the doldrums of British suburbia.
'It'll Be Fine, Rob', a debut collaboration between Russell and Malvern Brume, presents the story of a hire-a-van journey from mundane hell rich with bitterness, cynicism and delusions of grandeur. A darkly humorous tale which drifts from bowels of unnerving drones that ebb to keys of tender melancholy at the deft hands of Malvern Brume's instrumentation. The piece, a clear foreshadow of a man's evening destined to collapse into pitiful stupor throwing chips at pigeons with fervent spite and sorrow, is a natural pairing between two stalwarts of contemporary British experimental music.
The B-side presents a 2018 live performance mixed live by John Hannon, offering another excursion through bleak landscapes with peculiar stillness. Nightmarish qualities decorate the playful half-hour performance; audible croaks and screeches collide with nursery rhymes wittered by Russell's young son whilst caustic keyboard burns forward. An utterly distinct, one-of-a-kind performance exploring corners where, typical of Russell's touch, darkness sits confidently alongside glimmers of humour and solace.