Some reviews of the record.
hl is UK artist, and founding member of No Ground Processes label itself, Dan Hopkins, here creating an interesting soundscape out of the A449/19, which is "a road between Newport and Monmouth in South Wales. This road lasts for 19 miles, during this road you cannot turn around and go back to the place you have left. There is no access from one side of the road to another". Must be a cool place to visit, eh! Sound sources are not easy to detect at all, but there must be some heavily manipulated field recording of cars passing. The 20'30" piece is quite basic in its form, and maybe a bit more composition and layering could have helped - but it does hit the right spots and
keep you interested until the end. Heavy on bass frequencies, the sound samples are looped and filtered (in real time?) throughout, with a good control of minimal variations, quiet parts and aggressive bursts. Quite nice for sure, and if this is a work in progress I'd like to hear its next steps.
Review by: Eugenio Maggi
Almost all the sounds used for this interesting 3-inch CD were recorded by Dan Hopkins on the road between Newport and Monmouth (South Wales), hence the title. The A449/19, explains Hopkins, is a 19-mile no u-turn road; its sense of predefined destiny - no chance of returning once entered - hovers all around the composition, mostly built upon engine loops in their low-frequency detachment, related environmental effects and what I believe is an organ (or a synth) which, about halfway from the beginning, gently sustains the pleasant regularity of the other noises, just for a little while. It's an excellent work, whose crafty assemblage and emotional content are both the indication of a thorough groundwork.
The No Ground-r is a Welsh cdr and dvdr label renowned for some gorgeous gentle ambient releases on 3-inch cdr. The title, A449/19 apparently refers to a 19 mile stretch of road in South Wales and it appears that the field recordings which comprise this work were gathered from this very location. HL is the work of sound artist Daniel Hopkins who makes use of the steady rumbling traffic to create deep bass drones, augmented by the odd closer engine sound, which he appears to have looped, and the occasional burst of wind. The sounds have also been computer manipulated as a clearly treated transcendental drone appears midway through the sixteen minute piece, a crisp warm clarity to the lo fi untreated recordings. It's at this point the piece alters dramatically, a respite from the unpredictability of the field recordings. When the field recordings return after a few minutes they are looped and treated with delay, creating an almost lo fi repetitious rhythmic pulse which then oscillates between various effects to quite mesmerizing effect.
HL - A449/19 (WORK IN PROGRESS) (3"CDR by No Ground)
PFM - PRE FM TRACKS (3"CDR by No Ground)
The No Ground label is a small label that works with economical means, that is CDRs, both audio and DVD. The label-founder Dan Hopkins is responsible for the first two releases. His own 'A449/19' is presented as a work in progress. I am not sure how this should be seen. Is the work still in progress and if so how will changes be made public then? The twenty minute piece comes from nothing and slowly builds up. It seems to me that field recordings, in particular wind sounds are the basis of this recording. They are transformed by computer means until a thick mass of sound occurs. A nice piece, although maybe a bit too much in the realms of Francisco Lopez, but then more audible.
The second release is by one Myk Thomas, offering three pure ambient tracks on his 'Pre FM Tracks'. Waving, meandering and shifting synthesizer tones are his main ingredients, despite the vague piano tinkle in 'Prophet Making'. Quite simple and effective ambient music, in the best Eno tradition and for that matter stuff that could have been released on Hypnos Records. It stands very much in a tradition, and that might be the only real objection against it. (FdW)