Detroit, Michigan’s Michael Cottone is the sole creative force behind the Green Kingdom, a pseudonym he’s used to explore ambient forms for a number of labels. Twig and Twine is Cottone’s debut on Own Records. Mastered by 12K founder and lauded experimental musician Taylor Deupree, Twig and Twine‘s pieces stir at a glacial pace. Its field recordings and strings augment an earthy foundation of acoustic guitars, so that while digital manipulation contributes to the artist’s finished product—samples are chopped and re-ordered, a lulling bed of clicks wraps around the more distinct tracking of singular instruments—Twig and Twine drifts outside of strictly electronic-sounding records.
It’s a balance that also plays-out well on Minima Moralia, the 2006 Kranky release from like-minded (and now Own Records cohort) producer Chihei Hatakeyama. When Cottone’s work doesn’t accidentally encourage an afternoon nap, you’re forced to return to attentive mode so as not to miss where a new patch of silken tones or brew of atmospherics will end up. Anchored unexpectedly by a slow kick drum, “Maplecopter” is a worthy example. With analog crackle and a much-extended ring of guitar harmonics blanketing the modest percussion, “Malecopter” sounds like the Field’s From Here We Go Sublime, only advancing at half speed. Like the Field’s production, Cottone’s track is still about as tranquil as distant highway traffic and birdsong, and closer inspection gives way to how each carefully prepared component plays a role.