Review of Orwell Court [12k2035]

Vital Weekly (NL)

Things seem calmer for 12K these days with less (physical) releases and a shift towards digital ones. I have no idea what makes them decide for one or the other, but I am sure there are good reasons. One reason that I could think of is that something that is even remotely closer to the world of pop music is something one can sell more copies off. That ‘something’ could be the music of Gareth Dickson, who now releases his third CD for 12K (see also Vital Weekly 821 and 905). Since ten years Dickson tours the world with Vashti Bunyan and more than once they also gave a duet concert. Music wise things didn’t change a lot here, as Dickson is still one voice, one guitar and a bit of studio technique, keyboards, reverb, a bit of percussion; lots of space here. He still manages to sound like Nick Drake, with equally sparse voice and guitar treatment, all creating an eerie atmosphere, but one that people would like a lot, I imagine. Seven well-crafted songs of this and at thirty-seven minutes I would think these are more than enough; for me at least it is. The biggest surprise here is not that 12K releases music devoid of field recordings, computer  processing and such like, as they have done that before, but the fact that the final track is cover of Joy Division’s ‘Atmosphere’, which he does beautifully, capturing the intensity of the song, armed with just a guitar and quite a bit of reverb on everything; it doesn’t surpass the original, which I think would be very hard, but Dickson comes very close in playing this haunted classic in his own personal way. (FdW)

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