Ian Arkley: one; reflections on

Somewhere in an isolated corner of Wales there is an unassuming shed with a humble wooden door and simple brass knocker.

It’s unlikely anyone would ever stumble upon this rudimentary little shelter, but if they did the sort of welcome they could expect is indicated by the presence of a lock.

On the other side an audio alchemist toils, and the end product, while fully cohesive, is hard to pin down.

A spookiness runs throughout the album that in places reaches a point of feeling like the soundtrack to a horror movie in which the soon-to-be victims are watching a horror movie; achieved not in a tumult of sound, but the complete opposite: a subtle weaving of notes.


Echoes of Gregorian chants linger like wind lost in the crypt of an ancient cathedral; trapped in the vaults of time, forever in tormented search of release from eternal darkness. Though equally somehow reassuring; for it means not being there alone.


Unsettling is found in the undercurrent: a metaphor for pre-industrial productivity; the extreme toil people have submitted to in the name of keeping a job and putting food on the table, becoming as well-oiled machines in the process, repetitiveness of the mundane at great speed called an immense and worthy attribute, only to be kicked to the kerb and discarded due to cog and oil soon enough.

Converse to timely precision, a breathlessness conveys more than merely the effort of exertion: there’s also . . . fear; but not of ghosts from the past, instead those to come in the future.


No matter the machinery there will be a slowing down personally, one that must be reconciled; change is ever-present, will uncaringly sweep all into the abyss in its unforgiving endeavour.


one is a rich tapestry of instruments and influences that at times can, as much as any of the above, induce deep reverie; as such, it fully—to use an industrious term—hits the nail on the head when it comes to its name.

one was released by opa loka records 29/06/20. Photo credit for images used on one Sarah Hendy. My sincere thanks to Ian for the opportunity to review this incredible ‘Noah’s Arkley’ of sound.  

Find one here:

More reviews:

Thanks for reading 🙂

N. P. Ryan

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