Browsing All posts tagged under »acoustic«

Arch Garrison – I Will Be A Pilgrim (avant-folk)

September 17, 2014

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A sense of native place is a sentiment most associated, in music, with folk styles, or with the strong blood-and-soil nationalist current in black metal, for example, and such sounds have sometimes been taken up by those with particularly unpleasant political agendas. Craig Fortnam is here to remind us, through his acoustic Arch Garrison project, that an autochthonous sense of identity, a strong sense of connection to the landscape on which one lives, can be inclusive and nourishing. These songs are informed by an awareness of the difficulties and ambiguities around such ideas …

Abstractive Noise – of the Adder’s Bite (post-ambient)

April 27, 2014

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Woman as symbol figures prominently in the conceptual scaffolding of this album; this is something about which I have certain reservations. ‘Woman’ has been employed as a metaphor for many things in the creative languages of men: the imaginative faculty, the creative spirit, material aspiration, fields of endeavour, country or native soil… the list goes on. These things have differences and similarities, but ‘woman’ is appropriated to them all by virtue of her femininity; ‘man’, in contrast, when employed as a symbol, simply means ‘human’, or ‘people’. The defining characteristic of ‘woman’ is her difference …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

December 14, 2013

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My first exposure to Olds Sleeper was startling, and he’s yet to disappoint me, across four albums of his own and one collaboration with the beguiling Heidi Harris (not to mention the cigar-box guitar stuff he puts out as Jellyspine Jenkins). Using lo-fi production as a device to emphasise the pure materiality of his music-making, Olds Sleeper’s songwriting achieves a form of sincerity that can’t be contrived or dissembled; he gives voice to a particular form of American street-level experience, in a musical language precisely cognate with its cultural dialects. His songs speak from the soul of the alienated, hard- …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

September 4, 2013

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We’ve all seen some pretty rough justice in the wake of global capitalism’s recent crises, but Greece has suffered worse than any other part of the developed world. The Figures Of Enormous Grey And The Patterns Of Fraud appears to be a response to these circumstances, although it’s too complex an album to be pinned down quite so glibly. Choral voices are layered with a complex variety of rock textures, ranging from post-rock atmospherics, through mathy convolutions to heavy prog riffing. It’s the big epic sweep of things that tends to predominate, rather than the individual voice or the…

Various Artists – Album Roundup

July 2, 2013

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Concept albums are something that are probably most often associated with complicated rock music and high-falutin lyrics dealing with such themes as the importance of dragons as a symbol of self-realisation. Well, this is very definitely a concept album, but the music it includes is not rock, not complicated, and not endowed with any kind of lyrical content. There is a brief explanation on the Bandcamp page: 4-zero-7 relates the experiences and reminiscences of the eponymous interceptor droid 4.0.7 as it lies on the operating table after sustaining combat damage; eventually the …

Brooke Sharkey – One Dress (folk)

May 23, 2013

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It can be quite hard to find your place as a singer-songwriter; it’s an idiom whose audience mainly appreciates acoustic music, and mainly doesn’t appreciate anything too weird. Its audience also has a seemingly inexhaustible appetite for frankly indistinguishable assemblages of strummed steel-string guitar and predictable vocal melodies; it’s asking an awful lot of vocal timbre and lyrical conceit to make them the sole repositories of individuality and personality, and it is conversely very easy to go with the flow, knowing that if you can spin your simple songs out with enough polish in the delivery there is probably an audience out there for you, one that will be in awe of your talent simply because you’re able to get through a song without …

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

May 8, 2013

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Positive vibes abound on this perfectly formed EP produced by the estimable Rich Huxley, whose main gig Hope And Social sits in exactly the same affective territory; clear-sighted optimism is the order of the day, and because the songs are notably lacking in trite sentiment or spurious closure the effect is genuinely uplifting. The musical engine that drives the feeling is a light but deep acoustic groove, which swings hard with an upbeat lift on even the most laid-back of the tunes. The band is locked in so tightly that it’s hard to credit how relaxed they sound, and the dynamics are shaded and weighted with real sensitivity; the mix strikes a perfect balance between separation and integration, or more to the point, it has a shedload of both, so although