“Don’t go outside, because you’re still dreaming.” That’s how, on a bed of ethereal charm, Silent Cities opens up his first new music in a while and introduces a sound that represents a major step up for the artist. We’ve all heard the ‘minimalist-worldly-electro-folk’ misnomers he’s been brushed with before, but we’ve got news for you: this is soul music. By Denis Parkinson.
To describe music as experimental often can imply worth and depth at the expense of soul. It’s all music, however, and listening should be open minded from the start… so, leave your preconceptions at the door: this is soul music in all the best ways.
‘Death Routines’ is the latest atmospheric and accessible single from Silent Cities, the alias of recording artist Simon Maddison, and it’s a delicate blend of melody, electronic ambience, ethereal guitars and haunting vocals. To stand out in a world obsessed with genre and with an ever-reducing attention span is not an easy feat to accomplish. To be as good as Silent Cities is harder still.
The first song from the forthcoming ‘Autumn Moon’ EP, ‘Death Routines’ builds anticipation for the complete work. This song shows how Silent Cities has evolved and it’s not as easy to identify influences or make comparisons as it once was. To be “the real deal” – as described by BBC radio and punk legend, Tom Robinson – is to grow and develop. This is clearly happening with Silent Cities.
Interestingly, the song has developed from the tricky balance between full-time work and creative expression. Life influencing art influencing life… and repeat. “The song explores the tricky balance of working full-time whilst maintaining creative activity as an artist,” reveals Maddison. “It was written to express my thoughts on experiencing symptoms of workplace depression as a newly qualified teacher and sadness at the current state of secondary school music education in the UK.” The dark forces that gave light to his latest music are tempered by the news that, after nearly a decade in Liverpool, Silent Cities will be moving its operations to London in the hope of building a following in the big smoke. This should open the door even wider.
As a taster for things to come, ‘Death Routines’ works perfectly and is the sound of an artist growing and following his own path.
‘Death Routines’, by Silent Cities, is available from Spotify now
Pic courtesy S. Maddison