Wil Bolton is an East London-based artist who’s been releasing textural ambient music for the past fifteen years. His latest album is Null Point, out on The Slow Music Movement. It continues Bolton’s focus on found sound, granularity, and deliberate melodic gradation; however, where much of his previous work has been less concerned with rhythmic elements, this record makes liberal use of organic percussive elements, apparently some of which were sampled from an old 7″ of sounds of the human heart. While these thuds, rumbles, and clanks are present throughout the album’s six songs, it would be inaccurate to describe this as a rhythmically focused record; it’s not. The foci in each song are without doubt the meandering and intersecting melodic lines, and the carefully carved sounds delivering those patterns.
When the label sent me the record, it referenced Boards of Canada in its press release. That’s always a surefire way to get me to pay attention (I’m one of those who wakes up at least a couple times a month wondering if BoC will ever release again), but when I listened to Null Point, I didn’t hear the reference at first. But I was drawn in nonetheless, and after a few listens, I think I hear the connection. I found myself thinking about Null Point as what it might sound like if the brothers Sandison/Eoin got really into Norwegian Slow TV, or perhaps my personal favorite youtube channel, Kand Hayati (sometimes the only thing that can get my toddler to calm down). I suppose this is a particularly fitting reference, given the name of the label releasing Null Point, but I swear it’s really true. Some of Bolton’s synth patches feel like a shimmering suspended BoC line was taken and timestretched, then chopped, resampled, and reshaped into a pluck or a stab, and then sequenced into a delicate dulcet melody. But where there is often the presence of anxiety in the Edinburgh duo’s music, Bolton seems to have shed that while maintaining all of their penchant for nostalgia. Like if a gazing out the window on a rainy autumn morning was simply replaced by a summer afternoon nap in the backyard under a cherry tree.
You can find the album for streaming all over, or for purchase on bandcamp (support the artist, do the latter).