“Wolf Notes” by *AR
A mesmerising, haunting collaboration between Richard Skelton and Autumn Richardson
Originally published in a limited CD edition of merely two hundred copies, ‘Wolf Notes’ is the debut album from *AR, the collaborative pseudonym of Autumn Richardson and Richard Skelton. While both are already accomplished solo musicians, ‘Wolf Notes’ marks a stunning new chapter in their canon, and like all great collaborations takes the finest elements of each, moulding it into a pitch-perfect whole.
Those of you familiar with Skelton’s previous works, most notably ‘Landings’, might be surprised to hear that the central instrument on ‘Wolf Notes’ is the human voice. Autumn Richardson’s glassy, lilting echoes haunt the record like distant spirits, with her melodies kneaded and obscured by Skelton’s patented treatments and signature strings. The central theme is established with relative ease, but is allowed to shift like the tides, pushing and pulling throughout the record’s duration. ‘Wolf Notes’ might be split into five distinct parts, but they are all simply sections in a very defined whole, and are not intended to be heard in isolation from one another.
At times you might get the feeling that this is music being piped through from another time – music untouched by the tragedy and disappointment of our development as a race. It is music mercifully free of the tropes that trip us up and the trends that scratch on the grubby windows of the music scene. ‘Wolf Notes’ is music dedicated to the natural world, to the remnants of civilisation rather than the modern mistakes, and listening to it feels like a rare, beautiful privilege. There is little more that can be said than that.