Based in England’s West Midlands, visual artist and musician Mark Harris uses generative systems to create pieces which he can gradually develop and improvise upon. Such is the case with his return to the N5MD label In the with In The Forests_The Animals Are Moving, a new long form opus based on a series of experiments with modular synthesis processes mimicking the harmonic properties of bell tones which he then mixed and shaped over a long period of time resulting in a 45 minute ambient narrative.
As for the title, as I mentioned I spent a long period just listening to these original “bell improvisations” and these had obviously wormed their way into my subconscious As I had a recurring dreams over the period of time working on the project of being alone in a forest at night and hearing a single repeated bell which I used orientate myself to find my way home and avoid the wild animals that I could hear moving around unseen in the forest…I hope the listener catches some of that mood. – Mark Harris
As Harris notes, his work has been described as “glacial ambient”, a term which he embraces for its implications of slow development and gradual change in the music, but he also earns his claims here to the minimalist traditions of Philip Glass and Steve Reich with an elegantly sparse composition in five movements which I think would hold up just as well delivered by analog instruments. While some purely electronic compositions can sound sterile, the sound here is surprisingly organic – the human touch of the artist is omnipresent throughout. And tough the music at times lives up the foreboding implications of the title, don’t worry. These animals only ever move in the shadows and by the end of the journey, we find ourselves in the safe and comforting environs of home.
‘Bells Improv’ (Note: this isn’t an actual album track, but one of the improvisations that went into the making of it which the artist shared on his Soundcloud page)