A Broken Consort
Box of Birch
Tompkins Square CD
For the past five years, Richard Skelton’s music has been imbued with elegy. Since 2005, under various artistic monikers, the Lancashire, UK native has released recordings featuring his late wife’s visual art; dedicated to her memory. Even without knowledge of the weighty biographical background of these works, there’s no denying their exquisite, lonesome lyricism.
The original limited edition of Box of Birch was aptly named: it came in a hand-crafted birch wood box. While most listeners will have to content themselves with a CD, LP, or even download, the musical contents are fashioned with equally attentive care.
In the ancient spirit of the term – in the Renaissance, a broken consort was an ensemble containing instruments from more than one family – acoustic guitars, bowed strings, reeds, and pitched percussion combine in slowly evolving soundscapes. Evocative simultaneously of Celtic folk, raga, and post-minimalism, Skelton’s work has a lovely surface and creates a meditative, gently dolorous ambience.