Sparrow Orange
Hands and Knees Music

By Elizabeth Wells

 
Aaron Boot, aka Sparrow Orange follows up his debut, The Beauty of Strangeness (also released on Noise Factory) with this interesting offering, which, from the artwork preoccupied with office buildings would seem to indicate that the content inside is hard sounding and urban.

Not so, for Hands and Knees Music is at times subtle and complex, and the sound expansive and cinematic. There’s so much going on that it’s not always about what you hear in the foreground but about the strange echoes and humming electronic environment that spills through the gaps. Sparrow Orange creates lush yet somehow understated pieces, where the vibrations and deep chord structures all add substance to uptempo percussion and lavish string arrangements. In To The Sea and Liquid Shy, melancholy Cure-like electric guitars evoke a delicious sense of alienation, and whilst Boot clearly enjoys setting up long winding loops of sound, he manages to avoid the dubious distinction of being painted as an ‘ambient’ producer by roughing things up a bit with some robust percussive interludes.

Occasionally the laidback orchestral style can backfire and mutate into something slightly bland, as on the pedestrian Keeping It To Myself which occasionally strays into computer game soundtrack territory. For the most part however, arrangements are beautifully structured, deceptively simple affairs, such as The Sunshine where instruments and effects mimic the natural sounds of a tropical forest, building up to an emotive crescendo, backed by fat beats.

This album has evidently involved a great deal of craftsmanship, and it shows, right down to the tiniest detail of its multi-layered form.
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