Reviews of the 'Fieldstone' album:


"I'm 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."

Mike Oliver, Smallfish, February 2007



"Jasper 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."

Ron Schepper, Textura, May 2007



"Sound 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."

Tom Sekowski, Gaz-Eta, Number 54, May 2007


Touching Extremes:

"The 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."

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, June 2007


Next set of reviews ('Margin')

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