Incidental Music is one of the most relaxing albums we’ve heard in a while, inspiring a state of alert calm. This is the entire point of incidental music: the sounds used in movies to accompany important, less obvious scenes. These pieces are often as brief as a passing thought, but without them the scenes would lack depth. Devoid of image, the music here often seems to lack grounding, but a healthy mind can close the gap.
Michael Cottone (The Green Kingdom) has been honing his sound for a few years now, to the point that his style has become recognizable: clipped electronic notes that sound like lost echoes from a thumb piano, accompanied by impressionistic guitar phrases, hints of percussion and occasional string samples. Whether by design or name association, Cottone’s music conjures images of budding leaves and sprouting seeds. His sound lies between cold and warm like the opening hours of a spring day: a blossoming in progress, rather than a fully fledged sapling. The titles convey related images: “cherry theme”, “slow bloom”, “green theme”. An Asian sensibility seems to be present in the ephemeral nature of title and sound: the beauty of that which passes.
The best moments are those in which additional elements visit the mix. The light wordless vocals of “over treetops” imply comfort in the presence of nature. The emerging static of “green theme” comes across as an invitation to interact with one’s environment. The chimes and bells of the closing tracks, “rshda” and “whispered through pines”, intimate an even deeper engagement, an awakening of both the forest and the senses. While incidental music is intended to occupy the background, foreground moments help The Green Kingdom to rise above the level of accompaniment. These moments mark the difference between competing calms: the calm of sleep and the calm of focus. (Richard Allen)
Release date: September 4