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The Ridings

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Eleven beautifully crafted instrumental pieces for guitar and other instruments, with a second disc of remixes by various artists.

"The beginning of the year is usually a quiet time for new releases so it’s with great pleasure that I can report on the first great album of 2009. It comes from the West Yorkshire-based musician Martin Cummings who records his ambient works under the self-explanatory moniker of Northerner. The fact that Cummings operates alone is perhaps the biggest surprise given the sheer number of influences and sounds his debut album demonstrates. Very few groups, let alone solo acts, show this much adventure and promise on their first recordings.


Rather like July Skies, images of innocent summer days are brought to mind on the title track and ‘Caroline’. On a more experimental level, the languid ‘Fin’ and the haunting, shifting melodies of ‘Cull’ reminded me distinctly of Yellow6 and Vladislav Delay respectively. Furthermore, acoustic and electronic melodies combine deliciously for ‘Titus’ and the lengthy, meandering ‘Sleep’ is both mysterious and hypnotic.


Although February has barely started as I write this, ‘The Ridings’ is likely to be one of the most significant releases of the year. It certainly calls to mind plenty of easy comparisons, yet there is a flow to the record which takes the listener on a multi-layered instrumental journey, characterised by an overwhelming feeling of melancholia and chilly atmospheres.


‘The Ridings’ is also packaged with a CD of remixes. Far from an odds ‘n’ ends collection, the artists involved treat Northerner’s music with just the right level of respect whilst also adding their own fascinating slant on the music. The aus version of ‘Direction’ is pastoral and lovely, ‘Sleep’ is filled with warmth and vivid colours by Gareth S Brown and Glen Shipley’s hip-hop twist on ‘The Cut’ is certainly the most unusual remix on offer."  [sic] Magazine

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