The Green Kingdom’s Seen and Unseen was actually the first Sound in Silence album that I ever listened to, and I went in unsure of what to expect. But that had more to do with Michael Cottone’s own mercurial sound than anything else.
I first became aware of The Green Kingdom via 2010’s Prismatic and its bleary-eyed ambient electronica. But then Cottone took a detour into hazy ambient dub with 2013’s Dustloops: Memory Fragments and 2015’s Vapor Sequences EP. Meanwhile, 2016’s Harbor delved into minimal slowcore and Cocteau Twins-esque dreampop.
Generally speaking, Seen and Unseen veers more closely to Prismatic overall, particularly on album opener “Kodama,” with rich acoustic guitar tones pairing nicely with subtle ambient textures and atmospherics. “Woolen Sky” has some dubby haziness, but instead of submerged beats, you hear shimmering guitar notes slowly emerge and build in intensity, like stars beginning to shine out in the freshly darkening sky. Later, sleepy strings drift and sigh across a backdrop of bass tones and electronic chimes on “Dorado,” bringing to mind both RF’s contemplative atmospheres and Múm’s whimsical electronica.
Even though the EP’s seven songs often end up blending together a bit — without looking at the track list, it’s difficult to know which song, exactly, you’re listening to — there’s never any doubt about Cottone’s intentionality. Regardless of what musical styles he may be playing with, a sense of great care and precision always permeates his music — and if you’re in the right frame of mind, it creates a haunting, otherworldly listening experience. And Seen and Unseen is a perfect example of that.