'Antique crackle, the gentle wax and wane of electronics, quietly effervescent field recordings and an organic softness of touch that envelopes all within a delicate gauze of sfumato lambency all characterise Michael Cottone’s work under the Green Kingdom moniker and ‘Egress’, his newest album on the Nomadic Kids Republic label, is the perfect culmination of all his work to date.
Falling somewhere between Xela’s first forays, Four Tet’s more chilled-out ‘folktronica’ work and Richard Skelton’s pastoral modern classical, The Green Kingdom makes music that doesn’t so much grip you as it does creep in and possess you. ‘Egress’ is glacially paced but it works like a vapour; it’s an album to lie prone to, without extraneous intervention. The music is evocative enough taken as it is, just allowed to drift and wisp around the room or – for full potency – straight into the ears through headphones.
The opening tracks (‘Emerald Perspective’, ‘Sept.’) don’t go far but they set the scene. Almost motionless, forming gradually and imperceptibly like clouds, they layer towards subtle crescendos. Where there are obvious propellers, such as on ‘Woolgathering’ and ‘Rusticlub’, they’re pulses as opposed to beats and are naturally hewn from the existing elements. The guitar on ‘The Caves of Summerisle’ falls like rain and ‘Crmbld’ is the resultant, dewy rainbow. Only one brief moment of noticeable darkness is allowed to penetrate and that comes at the start of ‘Gray Waves’ but the rumble of thunder quickly gives way to shafts of light and when the stunning ‘Sleep/Snow’ closes proceedings there can be no doubt that Cottone’s world has once again been bathed in pale, slowly warming sunshine.
‘Egress’ may take a while to sink in fully (don’t all the best albums?) but it’s not hard to become enamoured. A couple of times through and you’ll find yourself hearing it everywhere and in everything, as though it’s somehow entered your very fabric.'