Stainless Fields is an ambient music project created by Australian-based musician David Holloway. His debut LP of instrumental music, Somewhere Becoming Rain, is a concept album written and recorded over the past eighteen months and directly inspired by the English poet Philip Larkin.
Larkin’s perspective on life and society provides plenty of material for musical exploration, particularly on the darker side of ambient music. On Somewhere Becoming Rain, each piece presents the mood evoked across a range of Larkin’s works, which was renowned for its brilliance in describing everyday life cinematically.
Sonically gracious and unnerving in equal measure, Somewhere Becoming Rain offers a deeply atmospheric and poignant journey. It glides through an otherworldly landscape which bends from the jarring and dissonant to the industrial and ambient, with delicate nods to musique concrète and prog musings.
While the music takes cues from written word triggers, it controls a poetic nature of its own worth. Holloway sees with the mind’s eye but with the mind’s ear, delivers his realisation, commanding the collection of work a heightened sensibility and in turn, inspiring its very own reflections and introspections with the listener to provide a cyclically tender affection of emotive fervour.
Listen to Stainless Fields below
On the inspiration and writing process, the artist offers, “Larkin’s work has stuck with me for more than thirty years now. Like most male teenagers of the time, I was wary of poetry and skeptical when Larkin’s Whitsun Weddings was forced upon us. But thanks to a great teacher and the tightly drafted poems, I was hooked. Larkin is not usually one to read to be uplifted, but his ability to create a stark scene in a few stanzas has been enough to keep me interested all these years.”
Continuing, “The process was fairly simple – I’d read some of Larkin’s work, wait for a phrase to jump out at me, and then start composing from there. It may seem strange to create electronic music based on poetry created by someone who seemed very cagey about the technological evolution of society, but I’ve tried to find the balance between the old and the new that he wrote about with such skill.”
You can read The Whitsun Weddings, one of Larkin’s poems which inspired three of the tracks on the album here.