1-2 Weeks


The concept of a "lockdown" album, recorded remotely is becoming a cliche at the moment, but the new collaborative project from Ioan Morris and Goodparley sidesteps all manner of cliches about the world and the genres they inhabit. Surroundings contains "Electronic Tone Poems" expressing deep aural musings of the world, built from Morris' synth soundscapes and augmented by Goodparley's layers of improvised guitar, reflecting both the isolation of the album's creation but also optimism of returning to the wider world. Across five pieces they reflect a shared experience viewed from different perspectives. Ultimately, it is an invitation to close your eyes and lose yourself in imaginary destinations that may feel familiar or not, but all contain "beauty, decay, entropy and rebirth". It is an album that both fans of Stars of the Lid and the Radiophonic Workshop will love. After getting talking in the now-defunct Buffalo Bar in Cardiff, the duo reconnected over an unlikely common ground. Richards had begun to reread the Narnia novel The Magician's Nephew a book that Morris had just created an imaginary soundtrack to in 2019 -- it seemed fated and they began collaborating. Narrative music is something of a common thread for Morris, who is best known for his soundtrack work on Doctor Who audio stories, while Goodparley is a respected name in the underground electronic scene having released his "experimental ambient droning psychedelia" on labels like Strategic Tape Reserve and the Submarine Broadcasting Company. His band Silent Forum, were nominated for a Welsh Music Prize for their debut album in 2019. The combination of these two sonic CVs has produced something special on Surroundings. The album's music is loosely conceptual, exploring spaces and places that only exist in the shared imaginations of the creators, realms of separate but shared consciousnesses, built via the internet in physically isolating circumstances. It soundtracks the imagined worlds outside of the restricted living and even of the restrictions of reality. Such is the cyclical nature of Surroundings almost any song could be the start or endpoint and the achievement would be much the same, even given the album's stark contrasts. Its music journeys through shimmering light to somber darkness, always striking an optimistic, hopeful tone. Surroundings is a document of a particular set of circumstances and feelings, a collaboration breaking out of its limitations and creating new worlds.