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A Magazine for Sheffield

Wil Bolton Kochi

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Since 2003, Sheffield's Audiobulb Records has pushed what they call 'exploratory music'. It's a deeply personal style of ambient music, where the artist uses sound as a device to narrate real life experience, learning more about themselves in the process.

Audiobulb's latest release is Kochi from London-based musician Wil Bolton. The album draws from his time spent at the port city Kochi in Kerala, India. Making use of instruments, synths and field recordings, each track captures a totally unique feeling about the city. Key to his music is the resonance of sound and place, with Bolton prolonging the images, memories and emotions of a specific setting.

Bolton remembers a place always on the move

'Reeds', the opening track, evokes the city's hustle and bustle. It's stunning: the cry of a passing crow, the mutter and murmur of voices, the steady, gentle movement of tinkling cowbells. Bolton remembers a place always on the move. Uplifting layers of drone buzz with the business of the track, euphorically, becoming more and more intense.

The last two tracks are more introspective and personal. In the background of both is the steady sound of the shore, ebbing and flowing, receding and encroaching. An unchanging, inescapable sound makes us as listeners feel hopelessly still. 'Tides' is framed beginning and end by an unnerving sound of rattling bells, and 'Nets' crushes us halfway through with an overwhelming swathe of emotional guitar chords, heavy with effects, giving the track a numb quality.

Kochi is an intense study into music's ability to narrate place-specific memory and emotion.

Marek Nowicki

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