Tomorrow's People by The Heartwood Institute - Review by Stuart Turnbull


What thoughts cross the mind as I sit waiting for Tomorrow's People to exit the speakers?


Somewhat different than normality... a kind of cold fearful anticipation. I know the composer so well. I know I'm about to suspend conformity and surrender to the event.

The album begins with a Welcome... none the sort I've had before. I'm disturbed, detuned and transported some decades ago.... to that interesting time of Teutonic soundscapes and foggy Berlin streets.

Of course, this is the workings of an artist that many know...but have never met. Jonathan Sharp aka The Heartwood Institute.... plain to see but hard to comprehend how much thought and effort is distilled herein. There's an immediate twist as the robotic anthem of The World Turned Upside Down caresses my ears.. Never a dull moment, nor an arresting explosive stanza to cause me any possible distraction from the slow dancing ambience, however dark, that spills out of this set of compositions. A simple cause and effect....


Findhorn, Phun City and Texts of Festival spin me a web of textured intrigue. An uplifting ethereal soundscape that whispers of coming winter and cold dark mornings. Then giving way to a lost memory of oriental destination... an electronic devise in this instance. A music that seems to ricochet in from unexpected places. Texts of Festival paints a composition that captures those lost hazy days... a warm hand held guide through past daydreams and narcotic sleepless nights. There is an absolute undying sense of false security in this track... an expectation of something that must appear but nevertheless holds back. It confuses the mind, draws you close, captivates and exudes a comfort that seems almost dishonest. This album is very atmospheric... a musical text from that most strange of places.... the deep psyche. Therein lies it's beauty... dark, haunting, never letting me know. Each piece a new form of performance.


Powis Square and I'm almost frozen in time. The minutes slip by as I gaze through a rain battered window.... No pressure to move, to think... let this wash over me. I'm recovering from the effects of this hypnosis as the following compositions trade blows upon me... They swirl around the room, classic soundtracks for dark adventures. A mixture of simplicity and confusion that concentrates the mind and you're awoken, alert to their individual influences. Aptly entitled is the track A Heartbeat In The Brain.


I'm drawn down to this album's finale... I feel free to question my own personal preferences. I've taken a short but disturbing journey through the world of the Heartwood Institute. The Farewell.... Slow, comforting and strangely a contented feeling. I'm at peace at tucked up in bed.... drifting off into dreamland. This set of compositions are beautifully designed to fool you, confuse and trick you, and yet instill a sense of perfect balance. They communicate a powerful text... one of deep meaning. Some would argue that herein lies a banquet of sonic pleasures, the perfect last meal for the condemned man or a perhaps a simple meal for the headspace. So the question is.... just how hungry are you?