Downstream Blue (Slowcraft)
British experimental musician James Murray’s excellently-named Slowcraft label was initially created for his own work, but has branched out in recent years to include others. 2020 saw seven new albums in a new series called Lifelines that offers “vital and consoling works” in the spaces between modern classical, post rock and environmental noise. Downstream Blue by film composer Mathieu Karsenti is my favourite of the bunch, a mini-album just 21 minutes long. All four tracks make effective use of white noise and lo-fi location recordings as an ever-present background, evoking the mysterious air of blurry memories. “Further” gently glows with its lovely, sad strings against a subtle backdrop of rumbles and hiss. The high point is the haunting “Loosen” with guitar and swirling strings grounded by a recurring cello motif that sounds like a voice humming a sad lament.