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My Autumn Empire
The Visitation

My Autumn Empire — The Visitation [April 21, 2014]

         My Autumn Empire — The Visitation 
τ•   Síla tohoto alba spočívá v jeho schopnosti vyvolat pocit idylické Anglie s mírným obsahem dystopianu k dosažení mimo–pozemského pocitu. Titulní skladba má jemný dotek poetiky nalezený už předtím v hudbě Mac DeMarco a Connan Mockasin, dokonce i nepatrné stopové zbytky The Beatles. Později velmi rozmanité referenční/triangulační body klouzají po vrstevnicích ELO, 10cc, Sparklehorse a The Wedding Present. Lehce nadprůměrné album.
Benjamin Thomas Holton
Location: Wheaton Aston, Britain (UK)
Album release: April 21, 2014
Record Label: Wayside and Woodland Recordings 
Duration:     38:28
01. When You Crash Landed      3:51
02. Blue Coat      4:11
03. Where Has Everybody Gone      3:21
04. Summer Sound      5:11
05. Afternoon Transmission      2:11
06. It’s Around      3:49
07. Andrew      3:37
08. The People I Love      3:32
09. The Visitation      5:12
10. All In My Head      3:33
♣   All songs written, recorded and produced by Benjamin Thomas Holton. Most drums by Mike Rowley. Mastered by Mike Rowley.
♣   ‘The Visitation’ takes its name from an early 80’s Doctor Who story in which an alien crash lands on Earth and was part of the inspiration for the album, but Holton expands on the concept with humour and draws a comparison to real life events that affected him at the time.
♣   “It’s also homage to the 70s/80s sci–fi I was watching at the time with all the stagey acting, strange atmospheres and Radiophonic synthesizer sounds that come with them, sounds that have definitely had an impact on the music. Also to the outlandish concepts that drove a lot of the ELO albums I was listening to, in particular the 1981 album ‘Time’ about a man who gets stranded in the future and attempts to have a love affair with a robot.”
♣   However, with tracks such as ‘Andrew’, ‘Where’s Everybody Gone?’ and ‘It’s Around’ the focus shifts to how we can alienate ourselves from social interaction and engagement in the outside world by immersing ourselves in media and fantasy.
♣   “Musically, ‘The Visitation’ hits such diverse reference points as ELO, 10cc, Sparklehorse and The Wedding Present. I also think there’s an influence of some of the American ‘indie’ music I enjoyed in the latter half of the 90s, things like Grandaddy, Pavement and Sparklehorse.”
♣  Benjamin Thomas Holton Artwork, Composer, Group Member, Lyricist, Photography
♣   Lucy Phillips String Arrangements, String Engineer, Strings
♣   Matt Pinfield String Arrangements, String Engineer
♣   Mike Rowley Drums, Mastering
♣   Renata Walton Artwork, Photography
by PETER YEUNG, April 15th, 2014; Score: 6
♣   "One half of post–pop duo epic45, Benjamin Holton is an adroit veteran when it comes to conjuring images and emotions through sound. His solo project My Autumn Empire’s third and latest release, The Visitation is no exception, and — despite its extraterrestrial concept — is rooted with familiar themes of nostalgia, introspection, and relationships.
♣   This album is more placid and assured than previous outings II (2012) and The Village Compass (2010). The latter was meek yet poignant, and the former a more confident and expansive foray. But for The Visitation, Holton seems to know exactly what he wants to conjure up, serenely dictating its ups–and–downs, but without ever leaving his comfort zone. Apparently, it arrives after the singer–songwriter rejected advances by industry behemoths Warner Brothers and EMI.
♣   The opening of The Visitation sees it at its most efficacious and compelling. ‘When You Crash Landed’ beautifully conveys a metaphorical beginning: life is gently unfurling, the world awakens. Much like the neurological phenomenon synesthesia, in which stimulation of one sense leads to the involuntary stimulation of another, it is a vivid, hazy, and cinematic image. It’s as if the sun is rising, with light gently seeping through your window, while Holton breathily intones: “When you crash landed September ‘83/Autumn broke your fall”. The song is like a timid Animal Collective recording, influenced by the countryside of Staffordshire rather than arid North–American terrain.
♣   It is soon followed up by — easily the standout track of the album — ‘Blue Coat’, which wistfully recollects the object of Holton’s affections (“I saw you looking through the window on the bus that day/I never wanted to let you go”). Though there is a determination to the song that makes it more than just a downcast ditty: counterposed vocals, undulating synths, and firm percussion add an edge.
♣   The strength of this album lies in its ability summon the influence of a very much idyllic England, while incorporating a slightly dystopian, other–worldly feel. The title track ‘The Visitation’ has touches of warped, bending folk found in Mac DeMarco and Connan Mockasin, and even faint residues of The Beatles. But when not at its best, the songs can feel twee and saccharine, with ‘Summer Sound’ one long, lilting melody too many.
♣   When discussing the album’s concept, Holton explained that even though couples may have spent years together, if a relationship fails, the person can become ‘effectively an alien’. As such, parts of the album take a more terrestrial, mundane turn, and how we can ourselves become social aliens. ‘Andrew’ tells the real life tale of a man — who, after being made redundant — let his life descend into non–stop television watching, to be found dead in his armchair one day, the TV still on. It is a story that proves more interesting in literary terms, than musical ones.
♣   The Visitation is an accomplished — and at times, absorbing — release, especially impressive given that it was both recorded and produced by Holton. In the right mood and circumstances, it could thrive. However, the album loses force when digressing from its original concept. Although it takes its name from an early Eighties Doctor Who story in which an alien crash lands on Earth, in practice, this album never really takes off. (http://drownedinsound.com/)"
In french:
♣   Il y a de belles choses dans cet album proposé par Benjamin Holton, pour amateurs de pop ciselée et délicate. A découvrir.
Website: http://www.myautumnempire.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/myautumnempire
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/MyAutumnEmpire
Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/musician/benjaminthomasholton
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MyAutumnEmpire
Agent: info@myautumnempire.co.uk
♣   2010 The Village Compass   (Thomason Sounds)
♣   2012 II   (Darla Records/Wayside & Woodland Recordings)
♣   2014 The Visitation   (Wayside & Woodland Recordings)

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