Under the name of Mole Harness, UK artist James Brewster creates rippling electro-acoustic music that mixes delicate and melodic guitar work with subtle processing in a way that manages to sound original in a world overpopulated with ambient music. It's as if Tim Hecker has suddenly lightened his mood a bit and teamed up with the instrumental guitar work of Jose Gonzalez.
After a short introduction track, the album really takes off with the lovely "In A Strange Sea," which opens with some processed guitar that slowly fades into a wash before being overtaken by more buoyant acoustic guitar. About halfway through, the track shifts into more of a drone, with overlapping filtered layers shifting about before a final coda on guitar and bass.
Most tracks on the album follow these sort of similar structures, with one section moving into another through a set of logical progressions. Themes are revisited in subtle ways, as melodies peek through a haze of electronics or some other element mimics a melody heard earlier. "A Present From The Future" takes those ideas and expands them out to almost eight minutes, opening with a more organic feel before shifting about halfway through and giving way to a more spectral second half.
One of the ways that A Present From The Future seems to stick out from others in a similar genre is that it always manages to keep a fairly solid melodic footing. While it certainly has drifting passages, Brewster always manages to pull back things back into delightful guitar phrases, as on the alternately hazy and introspective "Interrogation In An Unknown Language." A very refined release, the eight track album is almost completely comprised of guitar sounds, but it's hardly painted into a corner. The album closer of "Collapse Of A Labyrinth" is another fine example of doing a lot with a little as the track shifts from hypnotic electronic tone repetition to a grounded but majestic closing section with layered acoustic and electric guitar. A great little album from a curiously-titled group, this one is worth seeking out.