P.J. Philipson – Peaks

P.J. Philipson - Peaks

P.J. Philipson – Peaks

Already active in the left-field Manchester music scene through his work with Starless & Bible Black, The Woodbine & Ivy Band and Nancy Elizabeth, Peaks is guitarist and producer P.J. Philipson’s debut solo release.  Acting as a stylistic break from his past and recorded with just stereo-delayed electric guitar and two simultaneously plugged-in amplifiers, over one 2012 summer night in Manchester’s St Margaret’s Church, Peaks is another impressive addition to the experimentalist catalogue of the nascent Little Crackd Rabbit label.

Closely following sonic routes previously forged by elder guitar-stretching soundscape pioneers, Philipson also immerses himself fully in the spiritual ambience of his chosen recording environment whilst taking psycho-geographical inspiration from the rural landscapes of England’s Peak District.

The opening “Landings At Stanage Edge” sets the scene masterfully by drawing from Robin Guthrie’s lushest six-string tapestries as well as cross-referencing the sublime arpeggios and topographical fixations of Land Observations’ Roman Roads IV–XI.  From thereon in Philipson ploughs his muse into deeper and wider terrain; dipping into dolorous Durutti Column rippling (“Steeples And Spires Viewed From Moving Train”), unfurling into expansive ecclesiastical tableaus with shades of Dead Can Dance (“Litton Funeral Chase Scene”), briefly embracing atonal dread (“Testimony”), reverentially honouring Fripp & Eno’s No Pussyfooting and Evening Star LPs (“Enclosure”) and flashing back to the more minimalistic wares of almost-forgotten ‘90s post-rock scene players Bowery Electric (“Orgone At Magpie Mine”)

Overall, although P.J. Philipson openly acknowledges his discerning influences across Peaks he isn’t overshadowed by them, leaving space for his bespoke vision to resonate throughout. The end result is a noble, inventive and captivating collection of wordless evocations.

Little Crackd Rabbit