Phonseca – Afterglow EP
Long-time contributor to the Bristol music scene Matthew O’Connor has recently released his first work under the name Phonseca, a project set up to showcase his ambient electronica work. The Afterglow EP clocks in at around 17 minutes and provides a lovely introduction to the project.
You may be familiar with Matthew from his previous keyboard work with the likes of The Fauns, Aspen Woods, Modesty Blaise and others as well as his solo classical piano shows. In fact his previous self-released disc was simply titled “Classical Piano” and featured pieces from the likes of Debussey, Shostakivich and Chopin amongst others.
The Phonseca name gives him a chance to showcase his own composition skills, and what lovely pieces they are. Fans of Craig Armstrong will love the opening track “Your Favourite Film” whose simple piano refrain swells into a beautiful cinematic swirl. The next track “Music For Talking” is more ethereal, gently teasing its way towards us, whilst a heavy bass throb sets a heart beat to the piece.
This is followed by “I see Stars”, which sees a beguiling melody taken on a gorgeous journey, It’s a lovely track which has already been picked up by Gideon Coe and played on his BBC 6 Radio Show. The EP then ends with “What Would You Do” another gently mesmerising celestial gem.
So, does the EP pass the Brian Eno test for ambient music - is it as easy to ignore as it is to listen too? Well, certainly there is nothing here that will jolt you into any sort of discomfort, so you could simply let it fill a space in the background of your day. However, that would seem to be a waste to me. Much better to dedicate some time to these pieces and see what wonderful images your brain is inspired to produce.
You can buy physical copies of the CD in a couple of Bristol shops, Friendly Records and Rise.