52 is the new release from Jon Brooks. If you are a fan of his, this will be very welcome news indeed. If you like faded, 70's tinged electronics you'll also be very happy with this album. It opens with 'Morning Window', all icy keyboard tones that recall some of Eno's 'Music For Films' (1976). Further in, things start to feel a little more uneasy with the off-kilter harmonics of 'Fibre Optics' and its allusion to 70's television. 'Hothouse' conjures memories of a greenhouse somewhere, the glass laced with dirt and rotten boards beneath one's feet. Lots of the music has a feeling of, a sense of discovery - possibly a young boy spending his childhood at his Grandmother's garden - at least this is how I'm interpreting it. 'December Trees' and 'Lichen' further recall Eno with these pieces not out of place on any of his early 1970s work.
Side two starts with the grandeur and wistful nostalgia of 'The Back Room' with ticking clock and subtle atmospherics slowly falling away. 'Whispering Glass' is another fine melodic piece. 'End Of The Corridor' has a darkness, a sense of revisiting a place better left in the past.
The two really special pieces on here are 'Pond i' & 'Pond ii'. The first seems to allude to the playful innocence of a boy watching pond-skaters and fish, while the other is perhaps Brooks revisiting the same pond decades later, his Grandmother gone and reflecting on how the passage of time can be ugly, unstoppable and yet unimaginable to a child. These are the pieces that work best in the hauntology genre, at least for me.
It's a wonderfully evocative album but also it seems, a very personal one. As if in musing on memory, Brooks has unearthed things he'd rather have forgotten. Nostalgia isn't always pleasant.
Utterly essential listening.