Adhelm’s compositions investigate the spaces where insistent nature and bleak urbanity meet. The result is a compelling admixture of resonant percussion, processed field recordings and spectral electronics. His adventurous compositional processes and experiments echo musique concrète, Cageian indeterminacy and the deep listening ethos of Pauline Oliveros.
I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers in cities—ever, however, implacable.
Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting.
— T.S. Eliot / from The Dry Salvages (No. 3 of ‘Four Quartets’)
This album comprises two pieces inspired by T. S. Eliot’s The Dry Salvages.
Yasam Rose imagines a day-in-the-life of the vessel of the same name that works along the lesser known part of the Thames. The ship sits small and alone in the river it traverses, occasionally kissing the vast banks which stir with trade and gossip. Navigating murky and muscular currents, it surveys the bleak flat landscapes scarified by dense clusters of industry. From wider waters, where sea-faring ships sit so tall they dwarf even the Yasam Rose, it travels upriver where scatters of Wren’s London echo from the banks. A passage through rain thick with traces from a metropolis forgetting its bucolic past.
Spek explores East London’s once dense and thriving industry as it recedes into the Thames’ estuary. Still kinetic with trade, some areas lie defunct and dilapidated as nature strives to claim them back. Spek is red with rust and spattered by the sludge of low tide. Wind-swept, battered and cold, the machine of industry fights on as nature howls, whirls and lashes against it.
–Beni Giles [a.k.a Adhelm]
Adhelm is the moniker of London-based artist, composer and music producer, Beni Giles. He has produced records for artists such as Lianne La Havas and Oscar Jerome, among others, and his compositions have been performed around the world.
On completing his postgraduate studies in composition at the Royal Academy of Music, he began to explore production as a means to compose which has now become his primary outlet. Fascinated by the natural world, much of his work is about nature, and its struggle with man. He can often be found in the outdoors collecting field recordings for use in his music.
He is a long-time collaborator with Gabriel Prokofiev’s Nonclassical label and his works have received performances with orchestras and ensembles across Europe. He was a Britten-Pears Young Artist and was shortlisted for the Britten Sinfonia OPUS award. Addelam, a collaborative project with cellist and composer, Colin Alexander, has received plays on BBC Radios 3 and 6 and been performed at Union Chapel and the ICA.
All tracks for the album were composed, produced, performed and recorded by Beni Giles.
Additional engineering by Robert Wilks at 123 Studios (tracks 6 & 8) and Adam Conor at Iguana Studios (track 1). Recorded at Clik Studios, London; 123 Studios, London; Iguana Studios, London and The School House, Isle of Skye. Mastering by Pheek.