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Keiron Phelan & David Sheppard | O, Little Stars (Rocket Girl)
Collecting two vinyl-only EP's and a couple of previously unreleased outtakes, 'O, Little Stars' quietly flaunts the inner-space intricacy skills of Keiron Phelan and David Sheppard. Most notably members of State River Widening, this duo also moonlight in Wisdom Of Harry and Ellis Island Sound amongst others while under their own names, creating music that truly glides across the stereo. Here we get thirteen minimal, immensely moving exercises in drifting soundscapes that at times barely seem to exist, before unfolding into whole new, mesmerising directions. Often it's so icy that you fear a sharp rise in room temperature would melt these rhythms away forever and yet at the same time, this is precisely the reason why this release is so engrossing. Using purely analogue equipment such as piano, organ, flute and carefully textured guitar, the album evokes memories of Eno, Labradford and particularly Stars Of The Lid. In its own unassuming way, 'O, Little Stars' is the bewitching equal of any implied inspirations. Particularly captivating is the deliciously warm resonance of Snowfall Over..., the exquisite weeping melancholy of Zurich Sunday and Metropolitan House which features snippets of Steve Reich dialogue dropped over some spooked ambience. Strung-out dreamy music with the ability to enrich any dreary day, 'O, Little Stars' says virtually nothing and yet at the same time, describes so much.

Ian Fletcher
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002