Silent Cities’ debut EP is unquestionably a unique and valuable listen. Describing himself as “obscure” and “experimental”, solo artist Simon Maddison exudes wistfulness with his enchanting vocals and beautiful guitar playing. The ambience emitted by his music is relaxed and tranquil and yet so carefully thought out. The first track, ‘Global Aerobics’ demonstrates his simple yet intricate finger picking, which he combines with ethereal harmonies to great effect. His endearing and thought-provoking lyrics were particularly striking in the second track; ‘Haptophic’: ‘Keeping face whilst in your bed/ in a sea of apathy/ no one’s going to sail along with me/’. The two extremes of his vocal talent present themselves first in a hushed, gentle tone before launching into a passionate higher pitched phrase. Expect to experience goose bumps after this moving performance of which the vocals are so soothing and delicate yet so powerful and significant that it is almost hypnotic. This can only make you wonder what the effect of multiple vocals with similar qualities singing in harmony together would be.
His use of vibrato complements the tone of his voice, efficiently demonstrating his range in a haunting use of falsetto. This can be heard particularly in the beginning of ‘Days and Hours,’ along with his unique chord progressions, which leaves the listener momentarily dubious before skilfully resolving itself. ‘Obscure’ was certainly an accurate description and worthwhile target as it’s not only difficult to categorize this music but hard to think of a similar band or artist. Whilst some have identified similarities with Jeff Buckley, his ethereal qualities are more similar to that of Bon Iver with a slight resemblance of ‘The Paper Kites.’ Every aspect of this chilling music works together to create a haunting blend of sounds, oozing together tastefully.
Silent Cities have already received much praise, most notably from BBC 6’s Tom Robinson and Lauren Laverne who have described it as ‘The Real Deal.’ You might initially think each track is being ‘too samey,’ but in fact they all build up after each other using different rhythmic techniques and key changes to intensify the texture. Influenced by Altered States, Landscapes, and Folklore, this album is both relaxing and captivating, a perfect summer evening listen. To be ensnared by this enchanting music yourself, visit Leaf on Bold Street 18 May 8pm for the launch of this enchanting debut EP. http://musicmafiauk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/silent-cities-debut-ep-eigenlicht-leaf.html