On the 25th of August 2015, Robert Paul Corless released his debut solo album, simply titled, Volume One, 8 songs altogether clocking in at 63 minutes of the most challenging, creatively intense music of his 6-year solo career thus far.

Photograph by Chinese Francis

Nearly a year later, on April 1st, 2016, Robert released a noise-artwork full of primal percussion and jarring guitars, a total juxtaposition from Volume One, yet still undeniably the work of the same creative soul trying to home in on the inner muse that has now, in late 2021, driven him along to have just released his 50th collection of music, still challenging, still intense, and still as vital as his 1st Volume of abstract, haunting music.

Volume Fifty begins with “She Packed Her Bags for Blackpool”, a track that could softly glide along in the otherworldly haze of a ‘Science Fiction’ film soundtrack. The track’s title however describes an everyday activity, and it’s here that the listener begins to understand, that Robert isn’t thinking of ‘Science Fiction’ when he’s creating these wondrous soundscape’s, he is identifying and anticipating the coming adventure of the journey described in the title, via the ambiguous yet optimistic synths and melodic touches within the music itself.

Elsewhere we are introduced to baleful warnings, ‘’There Will Be Rocks in The Road”, the music and title again are at one with each other.

The foreboding musical tone as menacing as it is enticing, that’s the magic of Roberts’ art, the darkness is never a thing to be feared, but rather to be investigated and understood.

“Burnt Soil’’ suggests a post battlefield reverie, as I hear the piece, I see a man, perhaps slumped in a trench, maybe in the distant past, say 1915, just relieved to be alive. There is hope amongst this burnt soil.

“Skipton” is less clear in tone, and in the title, but it’s perhaps my favourite piece on Volume Fifty. It’s suggestive of soldiering through crisis, but could equally be interpreted as the complete opposite, such is the rich texture of mood on offer here. The album closes with two lighter optimistic pieces, “It’s Time to Hit the Road Elizabeth” and the wistful nostalgia of “Success Has Always Been the Greatest Liar”.

Photograph by Chinese Francis

It boggles the mind that in just 6 years Robert has created 50 studio albums, with music ranging from saxophone and guitar drenched electronic beats (Volumes Twelve & Sixteen), to epic noise art (Volumes One & Seven) Orchestral influenced albums (Volume 6 & 15), and albums rich with spoken word poetry (Volumes Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty & Twenty-Two)

The latest work is a perfect bookend to this 50 Volume collection of diverse, compelling, and always interesting albums. Which direction will Robert take next? That, I don’t know, but what is abundantly evident is that wherever he takes us, the journeys and the promised destination’s, will be worth immersing ourselves in when they are presented to us.

Robert Paul Corless – Volume 50 review by Andrew James Barclay