Shit by JDA Winslow


                JDA Winslow is a winsome fellow. Ready for a night on the town on a Wednesday in a pro-active mood JDA Winslow hits the streets. Out of the streets JDA Winslow becomes quite generous whilst intoxicated. Such generosity is not misplaced. Those around him deserve it; they are his closest friends possibly. Wisdom is a huge part of JDA’s appeal. Most of JDA’s appeal comes from his elegant enunciation. Nobody has a voice like JDA. Honestly JDA should do monologues as often as possible. Anybody who meets JDA ought to buy him a drink and just let talk. 

                The text message does JDA a grave disservice. Reading their incoherence isn’t the problem. Spelling errors are normal for drunken text messages. Intoxicated by their popularity text messages stumble around in the drunk with their drunken users. Of course this is around the time the ‘spell check’ feature is turned off. Disconnection happens with the help of glowing screens. Each screen contains a separate text. Alone or with friends JDA drops out for a little bit to type the texts to countless numbers of people. 

                Next morning is rough. Lacking sleep JDA is a grouchy fellow. Too much caffeine messed up his sleep schedule. Here JDA really lays into himself. Poor JDA doesn’t deserve the verbal abuse he hurls at himself. JDA believes that others can use him. What JDA doesn’t realize is people won’t use him for JDA is not a tool. JDA is his own man. Getting feedback from others helps JDA better formulate a plan. Asking others how they feel is part of JDA’s master plan. If he can get others to talk he can avoid speaking about himself. Which given all the verbal abuse he’s given himself is probably a wise choice. 

                People from across the street adore young JDA. They watch him fondle his scrotum. Honestly JDA should hit on those attractive young ones. Meeting neighbors can mean making friends. Within a building though things are different. Sharing an elevator or stairwell with a certain someone feels a bit strange. Often the choice of waiting for the next elevator makes much more sense than sharing it with a nervous stranger. JDA has an opportunity though. They are across the street. If it goes bad he can simply buy some curtains, problem solved. 

                By the end JDA overcomes his fear. He sends out text messages. Sext messages come next. Sext messages are all about coming. For the special someone JDA even invites them into his tiny car, despite the fact they never saved his number. Well it is not a worry at all. The special someone can listen to JDA’s voice in real life. That’s all anybody could ever want.

Shit by JDA Winslow

                JDA Winslow is a winsome fellow. Ready for a night on the town on a Wednesday in a pro-active mood JDA Winslow hits the streets. Out of the streets JDA Winslow becomes quite generous whilst intoxicated. Such generosity is not misplaced. Those around him deserve it; they are his closest friends possibly. Wisdom is a huge part of JDA’s appeal. Most of JDA’s appeal comes from his elegant enunciation. Nobody has a voice like JDA. Honestly JDA should do monologues as often as possible. Anybody who meets JDA ought to buy him a drink and just let talk. 

                The text message does JDA a grave disservice. Reading their incoherence isn’t the problem. Spelling errors are normal for drunken text messages. Intoxicated by their popularity text messages stumble around in the drunk with their drunken users. Of course this is around the time the ‘spell check’ feature is turned off. Disconnection happens with the help of glowing screens. Each screen contains a separate text. Alone or with friends JDA drops out for a little bit to type the texts to countless numbers of people. 

                Next morning is rough. Lacking sleep JDA is a grouchy fellow. Too much caffeine messed up his sleep schedule. Here JDA really lays into himself. Poor JDA doesn’t deserve the verbal abuse he hurls at himself. JDA believes that others can use him. What JDA doesn’t realize is people won’t use him for JDA is not a tool. JDA is his own man. Getting feedback from others helps JDA better formulate a plan. Asking others how they feel is part of JDA’s master plan. If he can get others to talk he can avoid speaking about himself. Which given all the verbal abuse he’s given himself is probably a wise choice. 

                People from across the street adore young JDA. They watch him fondle his scrotum. Honestly JDA should hit on those attractive young ones. Meeting neighbors can mean making friends. Within a building though things are different. Sharing an elevator or stairwell with a certain someone feels a bit strange. Often the choice of waiting for the next elevator makes much more sense than sharing it with a nervous stranger. JDA has an opportunity though. They are across the street. If it goes bad he can simply buy some curtains, problem solved. 

                By the end JDA overcomes his fear. He sends out text messages. Sext messages come next. Sext messages are all about coming. For the special someone JDA even invites them into his tiny car, despite the fact they never saved his number. Well it is not a worry at all. The special someone can listen to JDA’s voice in real life. That’s all anybody could ever want.

Global Goon – Horizon 8.2

                Global Goon patents his peculiar brand of nostalgia IDM. The sounds used hark back to the earliest aspects of electronica before the humanity was scrubbed clean out. Digital is not what Global Goon does. Human is what Global Goon does. Each song is imbued with a sense of childlike wonder at the world. These are some of the most relaxing meditative pieces of work. Compared to the rest of electronica Global Goon is not interested in grooves or beats. Instead with ‘Horizon’ Global Goon wants to show an entire environment. Part of this feels like a strange combination between electronic and bossa nova. It is mellow while still displaying a great sense of complexity. 

                ‘Rho Goon’ begins things off with a relatively moody beginning. Things become much more minimal following the perfected wistfulness of ‘Tin Riots’. Goofy sounds that filter in contribute to this feeling. Others show a hesitancy to fully embrace happiness like ‘Brogan Hill Zoo’ which is lovely in its sadness. By far the best track on the entire album is ‘Welkin’s Runt’. Over the course of the track it goes from sheer calm to absolute heart-breaking epic size. How Global Goon manages to let it appear so natural is quite remarkable. 

‘Horizon’ exists on an entirely different planet from almost every other form of electronic music out there. Few have taken this lonely path. Unlike various chillwave bands he makes no references to any specific decade. Hipness does not matter to Global Goon. Quality, melodic progression, and emotion matter more than any specific ‘cool’ factor. Age cannot define this music. What Global Goon makes is timeless. It could come from the 70s, 80s, or 90s. Thankfully it exists now.

Keep yr heart in the cloud by John Rogers


                Ah yes it is so easy to keep one’s heart in the cloud. Keeping one’s heart in the cloud is the new love. Everybody has access to all sorts of different hearts in the cloud. This is the internet after all. Without the internet emotions wouldn’t even exist anymore. For every time somebody goes onto the internet they follow their true id. Nothing stops them from being true. Life does that, forces people to edit. On the internet people were born to run. 

                The reader is invited to disappear into the tabs. Tabs are better online than offline. One can find a whole world online. In one’s mind is a terrible place to live. Hopefully building a homepage will cheer up John. Life in the internet is sweet. People hide there forever. Some are lurkers, others are supporters, and finally the rest simply come there to relax. Engagement online is different. In a way it is better. No uniform is necessary for the internet. Exhaustion bothers people less on the internet. For even when one is away from the internet, the presence builds. 

                Streams run across the internet. Information feeds the highway. An open hearts suggests an opportunity to ‘get vulnerable’. John’s open heart looks fairly healthy. Wonder why surgery is even happening. Guess he’s recovering from a broken heart and only a doctor can put it back together. The internet feels empty. Perhaps what is being inserted into John’s heart is the internet. It wouldn’t be the first time. Usually internet love can cure ailments of all kinds: from depression, disappointment, etc. 

                Voice is strong on the internet. One can speak up at any time. Somebody is always there listening, understanding. Away from the internet the person is still there. Online personas are funny that way. Messages linger. Likes hove about. Notifications remind people they are cared about. Without them people could not keep tabs on affection. In a way notifications are reservoirs of pure joy, stored up to be released in one cathartic smile. Getting lost is easier when it is with a friend. Alone being lost is a terrible thing. One should always have friends to guide them along, lift them up, and comfort them no matter how far away. 

John Rogers enjoys the heart in the clouds experience. He wants others to read his heart online. What better way to do it than with this book, filled with tender pictures, places, and things. Little words illuminate. Macros feel sweeter thanks to John. He gives them meaning beyond the usual ‘tee-hee’ into more of an ‘Aw’ emotion.

Keep yr heart in the cloud by John Rogers

                Ah yes it is so easy to keep one’s heart in the cloud. Keeping one’s heart in the cloud is the new love. Everybody has access to all sorts of different hearts in the cloud. This is the internet after all. Without the internet emotions wouldn’t even exist anymore. For every time somebody goes onto the internet they follow their true id. Nothing stops them from being true. Life does that, forces people to edit. On the internet people were born to run. 

                The reader is invited to disappear into the tabs. Tabs are better online than offline. One can find a whole world online. In one’s mind is a terrible place to live. Hopefully building a homepage will cheer up John. Life in the internet is sweet. People hide there forever. Some are lurkers, others are supporters, and finally the rest simply come there to relax. Engagement online is different. In a way it is better. No uniform is necessary for the internet. Exhaustion bothers people less on the internet. For even when one is away from the internet, the presence builds. 

                Streams run across the internet. Information feeds the highway. An open hearts suggests an opportunity to ‘get vulnerable’. John’s open heart looks fairly healthy. Wonder why surgery is even happening. Guess he’s recovering from a broken heart and only a doctor can put it back together. The internet feels empty. Perhaps what is being inserted into John’s heart is the internet. It wouldn’t be the first time. Usually internet love can cure ailments of all kinds: from depression, disappointment, etc. 

                Voice is strong on the internet. One can speak up at any time. Somebody is always there listening, understanding. Away from the internet the person is still there. Online personas are funny that way. Messages linger. Likes hove about. Notifications remind people they are cared about. Without them people could not keep tabs on affection. In a way notifications are reservoirs of pure joy, stored up to be released in one cathartic smile. Getting lost is easier when it is with a friend. Alone being lost is a terrible thing. One should always have friends to guide them along, lift them up, and comfort them no matter how far away. 

John Rogers enjoys the heart in the clouds experience. He wants others to read his heart online. What better way to do it than with this book, filled with tender pictures, places, and things. Little words illuminate. Macros feel sweeter thanks to John. He gives them meaning beyond the usual ‘tee-hee’ into more of an ‘Aw’ emotion.

PJE – Permanent Memory 7.3



                Permanent Memory is sad blurriness. There are things going on just at the verge of comprehensibility. Little voices, samples, burr in and out of the meditative drones. With all these samples left unclear it leads to a neurotic urban sense of mind. Sure people are speaking all around us but we process it as a collective mush. Much of this album reflects that same experience. An overall melody guides each one. 

                ‘Calligraphy’ barely touches on the usage of field recordings staying completely alone and sad. On the other side of this is ‘Delphi’ which uses the noises as a form of unsteady rhythm. ‘Hilbre Island’ almost reaches a level of happiness halfway through. It longs for a happier tone and PJE appears to reach for it yet ultimately miss. The tension in this piece makes it particularly memorable. By the end the mood almost appears to shift. ‘Promenade’ is nearly calm in nature. ‘One Summer’ is pure calm. Here is where PJE explores a different aspect in his music. Yes the static samples remain yet there is clarity here. The usage of gentler tones makes it feel like waking up in the morning. 

Disembodiment in urban life is rarely articulated this well. PJE understands the simultaneous togetherness and loneliness of living in a city. These nine pieces attest to it. Simply play them loud and walk around. You’ll be amazed at how much be defines the aural concept of the modern city.

PJE – Permanent Memory 7.3

                Permanent Memory is sad blurriness. There are things going on just at the verge of comprehensibility. Little voices, samples, burr in and out of the meditative drones. With all these samples left unclear it leads to a neurotic urban sense of mind. Sure people are speaking all around us but we process it as a collective mush. Much of this album reflects that same experience. An overall melody guides each one. 

                ‘Calligraphy’ barely touches on the usage of field recordings staying completely alone and sad. On the other side of this is ‘Delphi’ which uses the noises as a form of unsteady rhythm. ‘Hilbre Island’ almost reaches a level of happiness halfway through. It longs for a happier tone and PJE appears to reach for it yet ultimately miss. The tension in this piece makes it particularly memorable. By the end the mood almost appears to shift. ‘Promenade’ is nearly calm in nature. ‘One Summer’ is pure calm. Here is where PJE explores a different aspect in his music. Yes the static samples remain yet there is clarity here. The usage of gentler tones makes it feel like waking up in the morning. 

Disembodiment in urban life is rarely articulated this well. PJE understands the simultaneous togetherness and loneliness of living in a city. These nine pieces attest to it. Simply play them loud and walk around. You’ll be amazed at how much be defines the aural concept of the modern city.

Lynn Deeps by Peter Hughes

                Red Ceiling, you’re alright with me. I don’t want to upset a ceiling of red. You’ve been pretty good about releasing some excellent chapbooks with particularly grand old moods. Veering from funny to moving, you embody it all. Part of me really wishes I could give you a hug, as much as one online mysterious entity can give another online mysterious entity a hug. Thus far I’ve only read this one and “Wikipedia says it will pass” by Diana Salier, but that’s going to change. 

                Peter Hughes wrote this tender chapbook. The chapbook is entitled “Lynn Deeps”. “Lynn Deeps” comes across as a beautiful series of stream-of-consciousness thoughts. If you look at his tiny, microscopic bio in the back you’ll notice he’s been doing this for a while: his first chapbook was all the way back in 1992, back when I was a baby sloth, before I had established my online blogging presence. 1992 men were men, and blogs were a nonsensical term.

                How does this read? Well, it’s a gorgeous book. The cover has a wonderful texture to it. And the words themselves give hint of an ongoing journey. For me the mention of “Belgian Funk” immediately gave raise to ‘Belgian New Beat’ in my head. So thanks for that. Thanks a lot that stuff is nearly impossible to get out of my head. A later mention of Joanna Newsom did nothing to get it out as I’m unable to merge a house beat with harp. 

Whoever the narrator is speaking to must be pretty familiar with them. Shared experiences, previous jaunts, and late nights passing by not much in particular are mentioned in a soothing manner. As I read this and re-read this I got the sense of a tremendous calm. It felt cyclical to me. There was zero mention of any sort of city or large population center. I kept on seeing damp country in the words. Dogs going for a quiet morning walk and the infinite disappointment of having bars close at a particular hour. While I will never be a resident of the country (I’m much more of a city person) I do enjoy the peace and quiet it brings. Peter clearly agrees as he captures the best moments of living in a low energy area.

There’s a lot going on in these ten pages. Even after reading it a number of times, I can’t necessarily describe all the reasons I enjoy it. It may have to do with the amicable mood of the writing, or the fact that this chapbook was dedicated to Peter’s wife Lynn. Whatever the reason, it is a surprisingly calming and refreshingly unrushed.

FareWell Poetry – Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite 8.3

                FareWell Poetry is a strange band indeed. Merging poetry with Post-Rock, it is a difficult balance. On one hand how many people read poetry? On the other who listens to Post-Rock? To really gain someone’s attention in either discipline and in this regard you have to be beyond amazing. Whoever is behind this project has certainly done their homework in terms of focus, sound, and scope. For the full package you receive a Super 8 black and white film. Yep, they do not mess around. 

                “As True as Troilus” begins the effort off in 19 minutes. It begins with poetry before breaking down into instrumental passages. Sonically I’m reminded of “A Silver Mount Zion”. They play with the same amount of seriousness and general beautiful bleakness. Halfway through the first song you’re treated to some truly gorgeous moments. In a few fleeting movements I’m reminded of Godspeed’s grandeur, a compliment I do not throw around by any means. Restraint is duly shown to avoid the ‘crescendo upon crescendo’ effect. Towards the end of the track they do blast the volume but it feels deserved. 

                The second half is taken up with the two-part “All in the Full, Indomitable Light of Hope”. Part one of this suite is mostly poetry. Her voice is rather pleasant, somewhat luxurious and befitting of the accompaniment. For the second half they spread out a bit and are mostly instrumental. The second half is perhaps the most upbeat they get for the entire album. “In Dreams Airlifted Out” ends the album. 

                Give this album time. Initially the poetry reading may turn off some listeners. Stick with it. After a few listens it begins to show its true charms. Everything fits together though it does take time to see exactly how. FareWell Poetry is far more heartfelt than I could have anticipated.

Theme Park

Theme Park sounds bright, cheerful, and fun. All those pleasures from  theme parks are here: the comfort, the consistency, and the care. While  they’ve just started out (their first EP “A Mountain We Love/Wax” comes  out on August 29th) they sound like they’ve been playing  together for quite some time. Even the lyrics are charming, leisurely  fun. It helps they sing with an English accent, belying their UK roots.
Listening  to these two songs over and over again I’m reminded of the best of  bright summer rock. It seems lately having a ‘surf’ or ‘lo-fi’ sound  automatically counts as summer. Theme Park realizes that’s a fallacy.  Everyone follows those templates. Avoiding this, Theme Park employs a  large, rhythmic sound. On “A Mountain We Love” they show exactly what  can happen with the right approach. It’s a busy track; I like the busy  percussion in the background.
On  “Wax” things are a bit more leisurely. The singer is a bit breathier.  Most of the best bits of the previous track are found in this one too.  Again we have a great, breezy chorus and mellow guitars. It’s as if  Theme Park deliberately avoid overdoing anything. Consider it as indie  rock group play. Each member appears to actually listen to one another  rather than drowning out into a collective mush of sound. Mush towards  the end tends to be what a lot of bands go for and I’m glad to see Theme  Park avoiding this common pratfall.
Indie rock hasn’t sounded this good for a while. Theme Park came in the nick of time.

Theme Park

Theme Park sounds bright, cheerful, and fun. All those pleasures from theme parks are here: the comfort, the consistency, and the care. While they’ve just started out (their first EP “A Mountain We Love/Wax” comes out on August 29th) they sound like they’ve been playing together for quite some time. Even the lyrics are charming, leisurely fun. It helps they sing with an English accent, belying their UK roots.

Listening to these two songs over and over again I’m reminded of the best of bright summer rock. It seems lately having a ‘surf’ or ‘lo-fi’ sound automatically counts as summer. Theme Park realizes that’s a fallacy. Everyone follows those templates. Avoiding this, Theme Park employs a large, rhythmic sound. On “A Mountain We Love” they show exactly what can happen with the right approach. It’s a busy track; I like the busy percussion in the background.

On “Wax” things are a bit more leisurely. The singer is a bit breathier. Most of the best bits of the previous track are found in this one too. Again we have a great, breezy chorus and mellow guitars. It’s as if Theme Park deliberately avoid overdoing anything. Consider it as indie rock group play. Each member appears to actually listen to one another rather than drowning out into a collective mush of sound. Mush towards the end tends to be what a lot of bands go for and I’m glad to see Theme Park avoiding this common pratfall.

Indie rock hasn’t sounded this good for a while. Theme Park came in the nick of time.

 “The Prodigal” by Alexander J. Allison

                Alexander Allison shows up in all the right places. Timing appears to be a certain knack of Alexander’s. Maybe it is an English thing the dedication to punctuality. I’m not sure. 2011 changed a lot in Mr. Allison’s life. Whatever ball started rolling regarding writing, editing, submitting poetry in 2010 gained traction this year. 

                For in 2011 everything changed for Mr. Allison. The Lemon Press continued to be diligently edited by him but new things appeared over the horizon. Suddenly he began to show up in more and more reputable online literary magazines. Or however repute is calculated online. All of these submissions were leading up to something truly amazing. I read this amazing thing.

                “The Prodigal” is Alexander Allison’s amazing thing. When I read it I felt strange. Martin (the main character) grew on me. Each character in the story got fleshed out. Instead of it being merely a story, I felt I was spying. Perhaps that was the omniscient narrator. You get to know everything. Honestly you end up knowing more about Martin than you’d really care to at times. The extremely voyeuristic nature appealed to me. Authors tend to edit out the more extreme details about a character leaving only the basic parts of the story. Extreme details are all over “The Prodigal”. You use these tidbits to form the portrait of Martin the main character. 

                 It is a full book. There are no gimmicks. Rather he manages to bring together multiple addictions and compulsions into a single character. Compulsive behaviors do not necessarily mean the person is ill. Usually it means there is a certain vacuum, emptiness within that person. Alexander leaks details throughout the book through Martin’s thoughts slowly describing what lead to this eventual attitude, position, event, etc. 

                Once it ended I felt a bit sad. This is a dark book. Humor shines through occasionally usually of the dark variety. Alexander makes the dark humor work in conjunction with the story. Every line relates to another line. In a world where I often read random cheap gags in literature and television it is refreshing to see a writer (particularly one so young) creating a story I can care about.

                Going through Alexander’s simply named blog “So It Goes” I see he’s been working on this type of writing for a while. Since 2009 he’s been updating his blog on a fairly regular basis. For the more recent posts I see the updates have grown smaller and smaller. Yet that focus away from the blog lead him towards more productive pursuits. Now he has more time to spend on poems and books.

                Personally, I have a lot of respect for what Alexander does. I hope he continues to write more books. “The Prodigal” is a strong start for this surprisingly attractive Englishman.

 “The Prodigal” by Alexander J. Allison

                Alexander Allison shows up in all the right places. Timing appears to be a certain knack of Alexander’s. Maybe it is an English thing the dedication to punctuality. I’m not sure. 2011 changed a lot in Mr. Allison’s life. Whatever ball started rolling regarding writing, editing, submitting poetry in 2010 gained traction this year. 

                For in 2011 everything changed for Mr. Allison. The Lemon Press continued to be diligently edited by him but new things appeared over the horizon. Suddenly he began to show up in more and more reputable online literary magazines. Or however repute is calculated online. All of these submissions were leading up to something truly amazing. I read this amazing thing.

                “The Prodigal” is Alexander Allison’s amazing thing. When I read it I felt strange. Martin (the main character) grew on me. Each character in the story got fleshed out. Instead of it being merely a story, I felt I was spying. Perhaps that was the omniscient narrator. You get to know everything. Honestly you end up knowing more about Martin than you’d really care to at times. The extremely voyeuristic nature appealed to me. Authors tend to edit out the more extreme details about a character leaving only the basic parts of the story. Extreme details are all over “The Prodigal”. You use these tidbits to form the portrait of Martin the main character. 

                 It is a full book. There are no gimmicks. Rather he manages to bring together multiple addictions and compulsions into a single character. Compulsive behaviors do not necessarily mean the person is ill. Usually it means there is a certain vacuum, emptiness within that person. Alexander leaks details throughout the book through Martin’s thoughts slowly describing what lead to this eventual attitude, position, event, etc. 

                Once it ended I felt a bit sad. This is a dark book. Humor shines through occasionally usually of the dark variety. Alexander makes the dark humor work in conjunction with the story. Every line relates to another line. In a world where I often read random cheap gags in literature and television it is refreshing to see a writer (particularly one so young) creating a story I can care about.

                Going through Alexander’s simply named blog “So It Goes” I see he’s been working on this type of writing for a while. Since 2009 he’s been updating his blog on a fairly regular basis. For the more recent posts I see the updates have grown smaller and smaller. Yet that focus away from the blog lead him towards more productive pursuits. Now he has more time to spend on poems and books.

                Personally, I have a lot of respect for what Alexander does. I hope he continues to write more books. “The Prodigal” is a strong start for this surprisingly attractive Englishman.

Chad Valley – Equatorial Ultravox 8.1

                I first heard of Chad Valley about a month or so ago. When I heard the fifth track on here “Fast Challenges”  I felt pretty excited. Here was an artist going back to the proud  tradition of trance pop from the early 90s. Unlike some others working  in the same sound, he deftly avoided any trace of irony. No, his work  sounded fairly genuine, heartfelt even. 

                “Reach  Lines” is truly great. The sound is pristine. I’m a little blown away. I  mean, here we have all these artists obsessing about creating a lo-fi  sound to impress others. Listening to it I’m reminded of a sweet Washed  Out track. Vocals come from far away. Just for those not convinced, they  bring out the vocoder. Oh this makes me happy. 

                With  the full album, I’m reminded a bit more of the nostalgic vibes  everyone’s been surfing on lately. Chad Valley’s work succeeds with the  sheer smoothness of delivery. All those vocals make up most of the  sound, taking up huge amounts of space. Vocals are more of an instrument  than mere backup. This isn’t a bad thing; countless artists (Cocteau  Twins) have convinced me of the importance on focusing of the texture of  the sound. Besides, this is in English unlike the Twins’ made-up  language. 

                Actually,  most of the album explores the 80s more than that teaser “Fast  Challenges” hinted. I’m not bothered by this fact. You’ll probably  politely hum along with most of this album. The warmth it contains makes  it pretty hard to dislike. Even the melodies are infectious.

                Of  course, there are a lot of bands using a similar sound. Immediately the  group “Games” comes to mind. Like Games, it stays true to a pop format,  with all seven of these songs staying within five minutes or less.  Similar to Games, it explores the myriad percussion and synthesizer  pads. But the main difference is the more human approach to pop. The  experimental impulse of the sound is kept in check by the human vocals.  It’s a great summer album. Shame he isn’t coming to the US.
Chad Valley – Equatorial Ultravox 8.1

                I first heard of Chad Valley about a month or so ago. When I heard the fifth track on here “Fast Challenges” I felt pretty excited. Here was an artist going back to the proud tradition of trance pop from the early 90s. Unlike some others working in the same sound, he deftly avoided any trace of irony. No, his work sounded fairly genuine, heartfelt even. 

                “Reach Lines” is truly great. The sound is pristine. I’m a little blown away. I mean, here we have all these artists obsessing about creating a lo-fi sound to impress others. Listening to it I’m reminded of a sweet Washed Out track. Vocals come from far away. Just for those not convinced, they bring out the vocoder. Oh this makes me happy. 

                With the full album, I’m reminded a bit more of the nostalgic vibes everyone’s been surfing on lately. Chad Valley’s work succeeds with the sheer smoothness of delivery. All those vocals make up most of the sound, taking up huge amounts of space. Vocals are more of an instrument than mere backup. This isn’t a bad thing; countless artists (Cocteau Twins) have convinced me of the importance on focusing of the texture of the sound. Besides, this is in English unlike the Twins’ made-up language. 

                Actually, most of the album explores the 80s more than that teaser “Fast Challenges” hinted. I’m not bothered by this fact. You’ll probably politely hum along with most of this album. The warmth it contains makes it pretty hard to dislike. Even the melodies are infectious.

                Of course, there are a lot of bands using a similar sound. Immediately the group “Games” comes to mind. Like Games, it stays true to a pop format, with all seven of these songs staying within five minutes or less. Similar to Games, it explores the myriad percussion and synthesizer pads. But the main difference is the more human approach to pop. The experimental impulse of the sound is kept in check by the human vocals. It’s a great summer album. Shame he isn’t coming to the US.

SeaBuckThorn – In Nightfall 8.0

                SeaBuckThorn is  dark. How dark? Well, let’s say Andy Cartwright must write this at night  as there’s hardly any light allowed. Listening to this, I’d consider  him a practitioner of John Fahey’s concept called “American Primitivism”  despite his English roots. John Fahey’s idea behind this phrase was  acoustic guitar music would meld together neo-classical with country  blues fingerpicking. “In Nightfall” embodies his concept perfectly. 

                We  begin with the tactile “Address the Night”. There’s no adornment on  here. No other guitar. Other songs possess a little background with an  electric guitar, violin, or piano. Most of the time it is a one man  show, with Andy playing a lonely tune. “Carrier” is a favorite of mine.  Around the one minute mark I’m reminded of Nick Drake’s playing style,  sparse, simple, and effective. Hearing the small rhythm emerge makes me  extremely happy. “The River Answered” sounds hypnotic. Little flourishes  of sound in the background give me the sense of a giant space. 

                At  times the sound is nearly silent. “Gone Estray, Being Circled” may be  the quietest offering on here. Only occasionally does the volume  increase to a near-audible amount. I like how well the name goes with  it. An Estray is an animal found wandering or lost. Witnessing it being  circled would be much like the effect I hear on this song: quiet, tense,  and bleak.

                I  liked this album quite a bit. For preparation I had to wait until I  could find a quiet enough place. As this is a dark and soft-spoken  album, it is best to listen to at night. This is a vivid, unusual album.  Not too many artists are interested in this sound right now. Thankfully  SeaBuckThorn managed call this niche his own.
SeaBuckThorn – In Nightfall 8.0

                SeaBuckThorn is dark. How dark? Well, let’s say Andy Cartwright must write this at night as there’s hardly any light allowed. Listening to this, I’d consider him a practitioner of John Fahey’s concept called “American Primitivism” despite his English roots. John Fahey’s idea behind this phrase was acoustic guitar music would meld together neo-classical with country blues fingerpicking. “In Nightfall” embodies his concept perfectly. 

                We begin with the tactile “Address the Night”. There’s no adornment on here. No other guitar. Other songs possess a little background with an electric guitar, violin, or piano. Most of the time it is a one man show, with Andy playing a lonely tune. “Carrier” is a favorite of mine. Around the one minute mark I’m reminded of Nick Drake’s playing style, sparse, simple, and effective. Hearing the small rhythm emerge makes me extremely happy. “The River Answered” sounds hypnotic. Little flourishes of sound in the background give me the sense of a giant space. 

                At times the sound is nearly silent. “Gone Estray, Being Circled” may be the quietest offering on here. Only occasionally does the volume increase to a near-audible amount. I like how well the name goes with it. An Estray is an animal found wandering or lost. Witnessing it being circled would be much like the effect I hear on this song: quiet, tense, and bleak.

                I liked this album quite a bit. For preparation I had to wait until I could find a quiet enough place. As this is a dark and soft-spoken album, it is best to listen to at night. This is a vivid, unusual album. Not too many artists are interested in this sound right now. Thankfully SeaBuckThorn managed call this niche his own.