of the 'Fieldstone' album:
so glad to have secured some copies of this CD by Jasper Leyland
and having heard the tracks a while ago, it's very pleasing
to find them all coming together on one album in this form.
Jasper's music is very beautiful indeed and his use of organic
and electronic sounds really suits him. Gently plucked guitars,
field recordings and laptop manipulations all combine to produce
the sweetest of sounds. Each track here seems to grow in stature
with each listen and, honestly, it really wouldn't be out
of place on 12k (particularly given their recent output) or
a label like Apestaartje. Truly a beautiful piece of work
that comes highly recommended without any hesitation at all."
Oliver, Smallfish, February 2007
Leyland (York-based Jonathan Brewster) graced the Stray Dog
Army imprint in 2006 with Margin and does the same for Benbecula's
Minerals Series with Fieldstone a year later. Refracting his
acoustic elements through a stuttering array of static and
pops and embedding the results within a dense mix of organic
field noises, Brewster's electro-acoustic meditations maintain
listening attention throughout. Even at its most abstract,
Fieldstone never loses its intimate and natural character.
The insistent shudders during the opening minutes of "Lacewing"
suggest a trapped animal frantically trying to release itself,
while the becalmed "Wheatear" exudes an aqueous,
quality that makes it seem like it was recorded at the center
of a forest by a burbling stream. In the album's centerpiece,
the almost thirteen-minute "Shallowflight," muffled
horn tones and acoustic plucks struggle to establish a state
of restfulness alongside a ceaseless tide of electronic interventions.
In its middle section, the piece drifts through a dazzling
episode dominated by dense swirls of rustling percussive noises,
before closing in its final third with looping tones and natural
sounds. In addition, the lulling stream of willowy tones that
constitutes the title piece makes for a satisfying coda. Admittedly,
his approach isn't without precedent—it's hard not to
hear Fennesz when listening to the bucolic stutter of "Harefen,"
for instance—but there's no question Brewster's an accomplished
exemplar of the 'laptop guitar' genre nonetheless."
Schepper, Textura, May 2007
innovator Jasper Leyland's second album is a beautiful thing.
Not unlike "Margin", the sounds are miniscule, though
the effect is overwhelmingly satisfying. As with any minimal
audio work, you'd expect some variations, while the precepts
were to carry the work through in the most linear fashion.
This time around, Leyland continues to use the guitar, chimes,
some zither to accomplish a fully layered work. With a slew
of digital processing, he moves original instruments beyond
their original sound into new realms. Don't mistake this for
ambient piece of work, though the effects are quite similar.
Without haste or overwhelming density, the guy relies on computers
to develop a fully mature sound. On "Wheatear",
the guitar parts are layered with field recordings - water,
drops of rain - to achieve a nicely textured effect. Rain
starts to resemble processed instruments, which then starts
to resemble sound of rain again. Leyland's playing seems pensive,
almost as if he were making odd choices and throwing in strange
notes here and there. It makes for an interesting listen,
especially when the guitar is surrounded by cricket-like processing
and minimal glitching coming from his laptop. By midway of
"Shallowflight", he's wrestling with cosmic sounds.
Computer processing gets so thick, you think you're actually
hearing odd radio waves surrounded by talking alien crickets.
It's a fascinating listening session. If you allow yourself
the freedom to drown into these sounds, there's a fascinating
odyssey of aural pleasures waiting. As this is released through
Benbecula's ultra-limited Minerals Series, I recommend you
don't hesitate for even a minute before picking this one up."
Sekowski, Gaz-Eta, Number 54, May 2007
process according to which Jonathan Brewster defines the gently
hypnotic frames that surround the most beautiful moments of
"Fieldstone" is not really new, but the music sounds
fresh and captivating throughout. The main sources are Brewster's
acoustic guitars, whose sparkling harmonics and acute timbral
refractions are put in evidence through a careful work of
layering and cut'n'paste. Yet there is no trace of techno
here; picture instead a heartwarming compound of Eno, Darren
Tate, Fennesz and Christopher Willits with some environmental
additions - water, birds - every once in a while. During "Wheatear"
I was also somehow reminded of one of the few Italian albums
that I still like, namely Pepe Maina's "Il canto dell'arpa
e del flauto" (look for it!); this piece is a mono-chordal
elegy whose bucolic serenity is very welcome when all kinds
of tension run free through your life. Jasper Leyland exploits
both the melodic and harmonic properties of his instruments:
decomposed arpeggios and lightly touched chordal shapes go
hand in hand with elongated loops, everything remaining for
the large part in the realm of consonant accuracy. Not an
ounce of pretentiousness in sight. A well assembled album
that smothers many diversities by fusing them into a cohesive
unit, perfectly symbolized by the spellbinding, dream-like
title track that closes the CD."
Ricci, Touching Extremes, June 2007
set of reviews ('Margin')
to main page