The Nether Dawn is Antony Milton?s ghost blues / sound sculpture project. ?Whiskey Mute-Down,? a reissue of a CD-R that originally came out on Milton?s own Pseudoarcana last year, is definitely ripe for wider markets. Its follow-up is due almost any day now. These six tracks operate in a spectral zone where multiple styles and influences come together as one deeply resonating sonic portal that reaches for those most elusive higher grounds.
There?s a tangible sense of calm and wonder in every second of this album. Two-part ?Evensong? bookends things with a gliding shimmer of reverb, ampbuzz, wind and rain that blossoms to the most ecstatic heights of sedated fuzz transcendence; it sounds like it was recorded on a wind swept beach somewhere with sounds of surf rushing and receding in the background, and suggests early Flying Saucer Attack at their conceptual best. ?Routes Through Gray Lands? opens with rustle of low machine noise as various tones are layered on top--a loan blues pluck, a muffled harmonica trill. Milton?s mastery of space and tension is what?s so apparent here as he conjures a deliberate and menacing fractured blues aura that could be likened to Jandek in a particularly impressionist mood. The extensive ?Passing (Aloft)? takes things to even more delirious heights as ambient tones accumulate beneath distant guitar notes and haunted bow streaks. It displays an enveloping serenity that far surpasses its minimalist origins and skirts the visionary realms of Loren Mazzacane Conners and Alastair Galbraith, and few others.
?If We Left in a High Storm? is a departure in the set, with its pulsing beat and corrosive fuzz drenched spoken word invoking the junta of early Xpressway tapes, particularly the first Dead C album, yet it somehow fits perfectly into this collection, and offers a strange counterpoint to the longer ambient pieces. What Milton has achieved here is a highly unique, visceral listening experience that manages to hum with a mechanical constancy as it flows with the most effluvial grace. It should appeal to anyone even remotely interested in ambient music or minimal sound sculpture, and of course, the blues. 9/10 -- Lee Jackson (3 October, 2005)