Peter Chilvers & Jon Durant – Always Golden Sands: EP Review

Peter Chilvers and Jon Durant combine forces on a quality set of aural vistas that teases an album due in early 2021.

Release date: 11th December 2020

Label: Bandcamp (links below)

Format: DL / stream

I might not have heard of Peter Chilvers were it not for Tim Bowness. Our lengthy chat/ramble with Tim back in August (a reminder here) saw him big up his musical pal as an Eno collaborator amongst other things. Their 2020 Modern Ruins (along with California, Norfolk for good measure) collaboration was duly bought and ingested. Suddenly Mr Chilvers is in the spotlight again and the combination with the ‘cloud guitar’ soundscapes of ‘music conceptualist’ Jon Durant is an intriguing prospect.

The three tracks of Always Golden Sands tease the forthcoming full-length Vista. Consider this an intro; an aperitif to the main course that promises a blend of “ECM inspired chamber jazz improvisation with ambient music.

For both musicians, these recording sessions proved an opportunity to explore their introspective sides as well as their tendency towards textural creations. Gentle melodies weave their way through the atmosphere, at times reminiscent of Budd and Eno, but with a sense of interplay between the guitar and keys those ambient pioneers omitted.

Inevitably, there was the challenge of working across distant time zones during the pandemic. Tracks often started their journey with a morning keyboard improvisation from Chilvers, which would in turn receive an embellishment from Durant as the sun rose on his side of the Atlantic.

Having completed the music which is set to make up the album Vista, the momentum continued with three further tracks emerging. These stood up in their own right and now make up the Always Golden Sands EP.

The EP features an exquisitely delicate and melancholic selection. The musical box chimes that herald Always Autumn are gradually enhanced with some gentle washes while the floating guitar and tender bubble of synths on Shifting Sands see a faint rhythm come into play. Completing the selection, the pensive Golden sneaks in like a liquid air under the door as notes slowly tumble, resonating from the guitar and far reaches of the piano keys. It completes an encounter that epitomises musical elegance.

Once again we’re informed that Always Golden Sands is “best enjoyed with a glass of whisky”. I’m not so sure about the hard stuff as this twenty-minute taster is light and airy full of a dreamy ambience that’s more likely to have you holding your breath than to be reaching for the hard stuff. However, I can appreciate the inner warmth that a shot of Jameson’s (my choice) might add as you drift on the visions of Always Golden Sands.

And yes, it whets the appetite for what’s to come on Vista. Keep you posted…

Here’s Always Autumn from the EP:

Peter Chilvers online: Bandcamp / Website / Facebook / Youtube

Jon Durant online: Bandcamp / Website / Facebook / Youtube

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