A crash course in all that is Quicksails with a few words from the man himself;
“Quicksails is the moniker of Ben Billington’s densely layered solo electronic music. Influenced by the Kosmische school of krautrock and the organ works of minimalists Terry Riley and J.D. Emmanuel, Billington conjures abstract synth-scapes, hypnotic loops and textured atmospheres punctuated by rhythmic pulses. His background in free jazz and world percussion also lends a heavy hand to create a truly unique project that sets itself apart from the vast synthesizer music underground of today. Billington’s debut vinyl offering Silver Balloons In Clusters (2012) was released through Under the Spire Records. The album Mayville Dream (2013) was released by Spectrum Spools, the label curated by John Elliott (of Emeralds) as an off-shoot of Peter Rehberg’s Editions Mego. His solo music has also been released through Deception Island, Digitalis Limited, Discriminate Music, and NNA Tapes”.
There is also the critically acclaimed output of one Billington’s other high profile projects, Tiger Hatchery – co-conspirators Mike Forbes and Andrew Scott Young are listed here on, ‘Fleurs de la Lune’, as collaborators along with Haley Fohr and Rob Frye.
‘Fleurs de la Lune’ or ‘Flowers of the Moon’, has found an appropriate home on Ben & Ryan’s cult DIY label Captcha Records, residence of choice for the likes of Kikagaku Moyo, Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, White Manna, Dagga Bloom and On You, to name but a few.
I understand that Billington’s introduction to and initial passion for music came in the form of his father’s 1964 Gretsch drum kit. Combine those adolescent years of creative dissection and collaboration, with the stated influences of Terry Riley’s jazz and Indian classicism, mixed with J.D. Emmanuel’s metaphysical spiritualism, and ‘Fleurs de la Lune’ is only one of any number of possible, parallel time strand outcomes.
The track listing is, ‘Breaking The Symbol’, ‘In Wind Or Flags’, ‘The Emperor’s Remorse’, ‘Afloat’, ‘Find Flux’, ‘Charlie’s Tree’, ‘Washed Hands And Hearts’, ‘Emerge’ and ‘A Field For Betty’.
Ordinarily, this is the part where I would attempt to find the words that best convey the emotional response that each track ignites – something akin to describing colour to the blind, a divination of the physical reflex, if you will.
However, such is the breathtakingly avant-garde nature of ‘Fleurs de la Lune’, that it transcends elemental tabulation, it is a holistic perceptual encounter. A sumptuously suite sensation, reminiscent of the ambiguity of morse code dots and dashes, acquiring substance in the coalescence of words and sentences.
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‘Fleurs de la Lune’ intones a percussive individualism that defies categorisation, as the bandcamp page implies, Quicksails is, “all genres”, “all kinds”. This LP is awash with colours and textures, nuances and subtleties, it is transportive and transformative.
There is an irresistible, instinctively primal familiarity, an undisclosed sense of déjà vu, that scratches at the very root of your mortal coil. ‘Fleurs de la Lune’, is an euphoric, uplifting peregrination, perhaps with no beginning or end, but one best undertaken, devoid of intermission.
The dreamstate aural bliss is complimented fully in the mesmeric artwork by Emme Williams – I must confess that it was this captivating imagery that first drew in my magpie eye, like the transverse orientation of a moth to the flame.
‘Fleurs de la Lune’ is available in heavy weight 150g red haze in coke bottle blue vinyl on a 300g full colour sleeve, it also comes with digital download. It is available in the US from Captcha Records and in the UK from Cardinal Fuzz.