Review of 1897 [12k1053]

All Music Guide (.COM)

For their second CD for the 12k label, Seaworthy worked from field recordings made by the group’s Cameron Webb in an Australian decommissioned ammunitions bunker built in — you might have guessed — 1897. Webb performed and recorded inside the bunkers and in the lush surrounding nature. Sam Shinazzi and Greg Bird added their contributions afterward. You might expect austerity, a large, empty, echoing sonic space, or even a subtle reflection on war and armament, but 1897 is none of that. The music is elegant and quiet, with an air of dignity and hope. Guitars (lightly strummed, looped, stretching e-bow notes, or prepared) form the core of the music, along with digital treatments. 1897 features 12 tracks, most in the three- to six-minute range, with a couple of short interludes and one ten-minute piece. We are somewhere between the free-form blues-folk soliloquies of Loren Connors and the esthetic purity of Oren Ambarchi circa Suspension — an antagonistic pair of references at first sight, but they blend well and create an interesting stylistic scope. This album’s only flaw may be its lack of surprises: it gets so unintrusive, delicate, and sweet that it may very well fail to make an impression. However, it makes a fine late-night listen.

View Release