Artist – Tim Hill
Title – Flint and Iron – dream detritus of a sunken giant
Release date – August 2018
Label – Self Release
Link – https://timhill1.bandcamp.com/album/flint-and-iron-dream-detritus-of-a-sunken-giant
Reviewer: Wayne Rex
The school holidays are finally over, here in the UK. Children are back in their rightful place.. school, and parents are back to work, full time, and the grandparents can take a well earned rest from free daycare of their adorable (cough) grandchildren. They, as families have invaded the seaside towns, up and down the country, for a couple of months, turning these, primarily, Victorian designed towns by the sea, into bustling hubs of life, laughter and enjoyment. Spending their cash in the cafes, pubs and gift shops, giving hope to what was, only a couple of months previous, a quiet, eerie town of lost hope and dreams, a place where laughter was once heard for miles around but now, just a grey cloudy place, with empty shops, peeling painted buildings and general decay and sadness.
What are we left with? The owners of the let shops and cafes have now shut up for the season, the hoteliers have gone abroad for a holiday of their own, and all that’s left are some stragglers looking for a cheap end of season break. What we are left with, is, a town derelict of life, laughter and love. Back to how it was just two or three months ago. A wasteland by the sea. That is just how I like my seaside towns, it’s the British way and, I for one, wouldn’t have it any other way.
This leads me almost seamlessly (for me, anyway) to how I like a lot of my music. Atmospheric landscapes, mood inducing sounds and feels. Arts, movies, theatre and life all rolled up in a forty minute collection of musical journeys from the artist. Which made coming across this album by saxophonist and music legend, Tim Hill so rewarding. Flint and Iron – dream detritus of a sunken giant is, to my ears a musical landscape of an out of season seaside town. It’s an album of bleak beauty and to me is such a seaside town communicating to me after the love has gone.
A mystery, is the opener of this eight track album. With it’s deep dark electronic sonic sounds, repeating like the heartbeat of a bass. Intertwining saxes playing off each other like lost seagulls communicating through the thick cloud, trying to search for scraps of left behind food. It is a perfect opening track and really sets the mood for this most wonderful collection of sonic landscapes.
The milk white path is next up and it is a track that goes up a notch in it’s dark atmospheric bleakness. There is some, almost sensual, playing of sax here. Seedy would be too derogative, as it’s far more than that. It’s a dark love, sinister but, magnetic and poetic. This truly is a beautiful piece of music. It could easily be included in a film soundtrack but why would you? When this is a film in it’s own right. A sonic film that conjures up far more visual contexts than a motion picture could.
Horn Dances is the third track. This has an almost space feel to it, really quite sci-fi and futuristic. There’s a cracking double bass sample that starts the track and appears occasionally throughout but very briefly, thus, adds to the enjoyment as you really have to listen. It has some wonderful sporadic drum sample throughout which give it a scattering feel to the whole piece. It’s hip hop played by a computer with a slight error.
Whirl me around, then let go has a rather sombre feel. Not that the other tracks are a dance around pop symphony but this is a track that is almost a tear jerker. It screams out ‘LOST’ and ‘LONLY’ and hope has gone but, like the other tracks before, there’s a bleak beauty to it. You don’t feel sorry for it, in fact there’s something about it you end up craving to experience yourself. Again, it’s produced and played to perfection by Tim and really shows what a talent we are dealing with here.
Throught the wilderness has a very glassy, minimal feel. You could be inside somewhere, the inner working or inner being of something or someone. There’s some really clever sound sample here, just carefully place in the background but imperative to the whole makings and workings of the track.
Welcome to the boneyard kicks off like a big, steel trawler, coming into port, on a bleak, misty night or early hours of the morning. Crew-less and empty but somehow still moving and able to return home to rest. Bearing the burden of a wealth of tale to tell but alas, can never be told using words as it’s a ship, but, step aboard and enter at your own risk.
The penultimate track is saxophone landscape and like ronseal, it does exactly what it says on the tin. There probable should be a warning that you shouldn’t listen to this at night or if you have a heart condition as it’s bloody terrifying!! The breath recordings through a sax are magnificent and frightening as hell, all in one! What a brilliant track. It’s far more than the title suggests. What Tim is doing with the sax is being progressive with it. It’s not just the usual, it’s using the instruments complete sonic ability to make a piece of music/art like you have not heard before with a sax.
The final track is a summoning, it has a distinctly antipodean feel to it and also, in equal amount, a Celtic vibe to the track as well. It’s a fitting end to what has been a fantastic sonic and musical journey into the mind and soul of a truly talented artist. Frightening at times and bleak as a Scottish moor on more than one occasion, but, never depressing. It’s an album of hope, in a way. Make of it, what you will, but, there is no argument in the fact that it truly is a great piece of art.