World Winding Down
by Agitated Radio Pilot
DeadSlackString : truenote10 : 2007
This album has been over two years in the making and as well as featuring members of live ARP lineups it has contributions from Mirakil Whip, Sharron Kraus, Phosphene, Allison O'Donnell (ex Mellow Candle), Richard Moult, Maya Elliott (Current 93), Richard Skelton and many more.This album sees ARP back in singer/songwriter mode but there are also stark instrumentals, field recordings and atmospheres woven into this album representing the more ethereal ARP.
A work of spectral, cyclical luminescence!
This has to be one of the most beautifully sad, song-based albums I have heard in some time. Agitated Radio Pilot is the vehicle for songwriter David Colohan, who might be better known for his role at the Deserted Village label. "World Winding Down" finds Colohan working with a cast of like minded collaborators (including Maja Eliot, Richard Moult, Sharon Kraus, and Richard Skelton to name just a few) to create a double disc album of songs cycling through a heartfelt range of feelings dealing with loss, acceptance, impermanence, and love. The songs are mostly centered around simple acoustic guitar passages wrapped up in accordion, piano, and various drones. The maturity of Colohan's songwriting voice is shown in his ability to squeeze every ounce of emotion out of seemingly simple melodies. All of this would be in vain though without the introspective lyrics that reveal just enough to keep the listener feeling as though Colohan might just be speaking inside of their own minds.
The sense of melancholy captured on "World Winding Down" is so specific and special, but I can't help but compare it to one of my all time favorite records by This Mortal Coil -"It'll End it Tears". Both albums happen to share a cover of Roy Harper's "Another Day", but the similarity goes deeper than that. Anyone who was ever a fan of This Mortal Coil can understand the juxtaposition of beauty and sadness that they perfected. It was kind of like a nostalgic dream in which every hope and every lost love you ever had came back to gently haunt and caress you. It's hard to put into words, which was why I am so thrilled to hear Colohan tapping into that same stream- his rich baritone voice pulling from the collective memory of so many souls too sensitive for their own good. This album will undoubtedly stand the test of time, the pacing of ambient interludes with incredibly memorable songs is perfect and makes for a listening experience which grows along with the listener. I've had this on repeat since I received it, and I it still continues to move me.
10/10 -- Charles Franklin (19 December, 2007)
Agitated Radio Pilot - as I first saw the name of this project on the cover sleeve I expected something in a much larger scale electronic based, than is actually the case. The album puts much emphasis on the acoustic expressions though there is also a proper dose of electronic experiments. The combination of these two sound worlds is accomplished very well, indeed. Agitated Radio Pilot as a project was founded by the Irish composer David Colohan back in 1993. On this latest album he gets assistance from a number of artists, among others Maya Elliott of Current 93. The album with the strong and descriptive title "World winding down" drifts beautifully from the guitar solo works of David Colohan to more ambient-stylish expressions where there is a frequent use of Field Recordings. Thus the album takes its starting point in the neo-folk style with a nice psychedelic touch of electronic experimentation. Being a double disc, the album floats in atmospheres of stark sadness, melancholic
warmth and the sound of the forest as it runs through the 100 minutes running time. In the ambient-based moments the album reminds me of ambient-maestro Robert Rich's guitar-based ambient project of melancholia, Amoeba. As said the project name "Agitated Radio Pilot" gave me associations to something stylishly up-front and more edgy electronic, but what is really heard is warm melancholic neofolk of otherworldly beauty. Highly recommended!
NM, Vital Weekly
I’ve not been listening very carefully to AGITATED RADIO PILOT’s past releases. Most of them are sold out since long, and released on CDR in small amounts. Also, the few tracks I’ve heard failed to impress me. Therefore I didn’t really expect anything special from this 2007 release. I was glad to see it was on properCompact Discthough, and with a total 24 tracks spread out evenly on two discs, I hoped it would contain at least something of interest.
The intro was pretty much what I expected, and also what AGITATED RADIO PILOT has always been for me; an experimental, droning piece of ambient and folky sounds. It’s not bad, but half-boring and certainly nothing special.
I was though very surprised when the second track started, or blown away rather. I saw a completely different side of Dave’s project, and it took a shortcut straight to my heart. And the track that followed was even better, not to mention the next one and on and on.
I have since then gazed back on the old albums as well, and realized that I’ve been completely wrong about them. I also took a serious listen to “Your Turn to Go it Alone”, an album where Dave’s singing and guitar playing is in focus, which is also the case of “World Winding Down”. It was recorded together with an army of guest musicians and vocalists. Some unknown, and some I am more familiar with. Among them we find Maja Elliott from CURRENT 93, Allison O’Donnell who handled the vocals in the 70’s psych-folk band MELLOW CANDLE, the legendary Sharron Kraus and Richard Moult. But of course, the star is David, with his lovely, dreamy voice that really fills the purpose, and his sad and melancholic guitar plucks, both acoustic and electric.
The sound falls in between modern, acoustic folk a’la IN GOWAN RING, and 60’s and 70’s acts like TIR NA NOG and, in my opinion PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, which is a great achievement!
I’ll rewind a bit now, back to the second track, the one I spoke about up there. “All that Fails” is the title. Simply a masterpiece and this track alone would give you enough value for the money. Actually, its sad intro would be enough, or the lyrics.
“Everybody Lives (Just this Once)” has the same qualities, but the main instrument here is the piano.
“Caroline Sings” is another winner, with a beautifully strummed acoustic guitar, and very nice tunes emerging from the melodica, a funny little instrument that get its deserved 15 minutes of fame on this album. After these three killer tracks, though, I must say that the quality slowly falls just a little bit, landing on a more humane level, and some tracks along the way are just sleepy and, in the long run, maybe a bit overbearing. This can though be easily forgiven, when splendid ones like “Around Closing Time” and “Another Day” keeps popping up, the later one with a very good duet you should check out.
I guess have to stop talking about the particular tracks now. There are 24 of them, and to give every each one a little mention would make a far too long review. I will simply say that at least 20 of the tracks are breathtaking and wonderfully crafted modern folk songs clad in nostalgic pants. The deserted feeling, and the cold current that discharges from the intro flows through all the tracks, creating a dead landscape of sad sounds, chords and tones.
The enthusiasm found in David’s voice warms up a little, but the poems he’s uttering, some of the finest salutes to lost love and loneliness I’ve heard, blackens the atmosphere even more.
“World Winding Down” is an epic masterpiece. Really. Maybe I’m using that word wrong sometimes, but in this case, it’s deserved. Thank you David, for providing the world with such beauty, and thanks also to all the guest musicians that enriched this album even more.