'Natura Morta', Cepia's first album, was recorded in seclusion over two years and is supposedly a highly personal response to the events and circumstances of his life at the time. What those circumstances are remains a mystery, but 'Natura Mora' hints at melcancholy, fragility, long periods of reflection and finding beauty in detail.
Fans of Manitoba, Fridge, and Four Tet circa 'Pause' will instantly be on familiar ground. 'Natura Mora' has an organic feel derived from sounds that (sometimes almost exactly) mimic nature mixed in with obviously electronic bleeps. It sounds like Cepia, aka Huntely Miller, has absorbed a foresty wilderness and tried to express all the branches, droplets and leaves through his synthesiser. There are beats, sure, but they are so fragmented and irregular as to provoke thoughts, not toe-tapping. On a fair few of the tracks such as 'Opening Parade' and 'Hoarse' Cepia juxtaposes skitty backgrounds with long tones and child-like piano and glockenspiel tunes. Even though this trick is used more than once, it's a credit to Cepia that the songs have real longevity with repeat listening proving very rewarding.
Elsewhere on 'Natura Morta', the church bell melody and frenetic morse code of 'Clay Face' is a treat and 'Dot' sounds like circuit boards singing underwater. Opener 'Braile Wounds' and 'Wavebnc' are gorgeous soundscapes that evoke beautiful skies whilst 'Untitled II' has a glacial intensity that makes it arguably the best track on the album.
'Natura Morta' means 'dead nature', which is an intriguing title, especially for an album which was made with machines. It also neglects the fact that this album has a certain quality that sounds, in a furtive, unsure way, very much alive. Let's hope it doesn't get pillaged by the advertising industry.
Buy Cepia - Natura Morta at
Tracklist: Cepia - Natura Morta1. Braille Wounds
2. Opening Parade
3. The Undeniable Bend
4. Clay Face
10. Natura Morta
11. Untitled II