This is my first experience with The Green Kingdom, although this project has plenty of previous releases. The Green Kingdom is Michael Cottone, a graphic designer and sound artist based in Michigan. Interested in creating compositions which blur the lines between soundscape and structure while keeping a sharp focus on melody, his pieces are crafted using a variety of instruments, electronic sources, sampled textures and field recordings.
'Solaria' is a nearly 40 minute album consisting of eight tracks with simple titles such as "Arc," "Geodesic," "Dome," etc., etc. It's kind of a structured ambient on most of these pieces with the synths/electronics providing the atmosphere/ambience and guitar and guitar-like sounds with the melodic content. The music is pleasant, cloudy but not too dark, sort of like an overcast day. Environments are rich and fully textured and where a rhythm track is employed it is generally discreet and minimal. Some passages have an oriental flavor, but there is no obvious Asian, or for that matter any particular ethnic influence easily discerned. Although much of the music comes at a languid pace, this is a deceptively quick album because you just won't realize the passage of time much while listening to it. It is almost as if the music has some mesmerizing effect, which is difficult to describe, but after you hear it, you're likely to agree.
This limited release comes in two physical versions – the typical Sound in Silence handmade and hand-numbered CD-r in light turquoise recycled cardboard envelope with the front cover image printed on a Polaroid style photo paper and an insert sheet containing tracklist and information printed on a 120 gsm cream recycled cardboard. It also comes bundled with a download code coupon and a Sound In Silence card. Then there is a deluxe limited edition of 100 handmade, hand-stamped and hand-numbered collectible copies. The disc of this edition includes three exclusive bonus tracks, not included in the other edition or the digital download. It is packaged in a lovely sewn fabric envelope, which includes a 4 panel insert sheet containing tracklist and information printed on a 250 gsm light turquoise recycled cardboard and the front cover image printed on a Polaroid style photo paper. It also comes bundled with a download code coupon and a Sound In Silence card. Of course if you don’t care about physical copies and want to cheap out you can download the album off the label’s Bandcamp site for about 7 Euros. Whichever you choose it’s a recommended purchase that you will likely enjoy many times over.