“Quattro Terre” C30
(The Gertrude Tapes)

Smuggling in field recordings from idyllic towns along the Ligurian Coast, John Atkinson expertly waxes cinematic with a compelling, charming-go-spooky stretch of four ambient-drone tales, each centered around a charismatic soundmark from their unique locations.  The magic here is in the invitation, nay, command that you, the listener, stop dead in your tracks and wonder aloud, “Now, is the source of that scrape/chirp/crash/gust purely 'environmental' or is it actually ‘contrived' on some acoustic contraption or other?” Thus is JA’s nuance-dedicated craft, a mastery of culling and curating textured accents to break up and/or add depth to those rolling drone-swells and glowing, moody fogs he churns out for his sonic base. Both lyrical and absolutely transportive, “Quattro Terre” is one dramatic, distilled sound-tour that’s well worth having repeatedly, under differing volumes and times of day.

—Jacob An Kittenplan