Review of Quite A Way Away [12k1070]

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This delicate and intimistic release by young Scottish guitar player and songwriter Gareth Dickson could sound a little bit unaccostumed for 12k catalogue, as label got a reputation for abstract electronic stuff, but it’s not the first time Taylor Deupree’s label veers towards organic or acoustic sonorites so that it’s not totally proper to speak about a stylistyical shift. Let’s cache this lightweight matter of record keeping, I prefer to focus on the terse musical dainties Gareth profusely frees in this record, which seems to be inspired by a series of events occuring in his life I will not dwell on (you’ll find more on label’s introduction), which justified its temporary estrangement from composition as well as that mild (but not invasive at all) feeling of anxiety exuding from his music. To be honest, he’s not a golden voice, but it tightly clings to the sounds he produces with his acoustic guitar by alternating gentle strumming and entrancing finger-picked melodic clothes (you could listen to a sort of combination in the wonderful tapping, which, mute in the beginning, turns into a lovely melody, in “Happy Easters”). Some phrasing as well as Gareth’s vocal could induce an immediate comparison with Nick Drake or Bert Jansch and Gareth himself mentions them among most influential musicians (he also mentioned Aphex Twin, Brian Eno and Glenn Gould, but if you focus on compositional schemes you could listen many others…I even heard some similarities between the touching “This IS The Kiss” and Sebastian Tellier’s “La Ritournelle”) but it almost seems some of his ballads get closer to 17th century styles such as passacaglia or chaconne. A certain “ripeness” could be deduced by the semantic coherence joining together all tracks from the emotional upheaval of “Get Together” and “Noon” (an interpretation of Stevie Smith’s poem “Not Waving But Drowning”) to the final haunting metaphor taken from the biblical tale of Jonah, where the repetition of God’s declaration of love to the anti-prophet (“I will love you forever”) is going to lull the listeners to the end.
id#6965 Review by: Vito Camarretta

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