Collecting Records

Reviews and pictures from Sietse's record collection

Top 10 2011 #05: Richard Youngs – Long White Cloud (Grapefruit Records, 2011)

It has been a good year for me as Richard Youngs fan. The year started early with Atlas of Hearts, which was good. For a while my favorite album of the year (at that point). It got followed by a great split 10″ with Annelies Monsere, which has one track by Youngs which is just great (although Monsere her side is even more beauty). In July we got the EP I Dream of Mezzanine / Cloudplanes, which was quite disappointing. We also got a new album on Jagjaguwar with more traditional Youngs work called Amplifying Host in the same month and the year got closed with this album: Long White Cloud. Released as part of the subscription series from The Grapefruit Record Club.

Like every Richard Youngs album Long White Cloud is a discovery. Until the needle is dropped you do not know what you can expect. Youngs always has some kind of surprise in his music. Of course there are these things that make all releases without a doubt Richard Youngs, may it be his voice, the repetitive motives, the influences from folk music.   But, seriously most albums that are released after each other have another starting point and end.

For Long White Cloud this starting point is New Zealand where he stayed for a period before writing the songs travelling through the country. Inspired by the country he has written 5 different songs. Side North (A) contains 3 songs and Side South (B) the other 2.
In the different songs there are returning themes.

On Long White Cloud Richard Youngs has a pop-touch to the music, something we do not hear very often from his side. At least not in the way he does here. The different songs all sound pretty basic at first listen. But as mostly with his music it is the details that count.
Take for example the simple progression he has with his electric piano in Big Waves In An Actual Sea. He starts with two chords but builds this out to shifting patterns of various chords. It is the same with his voice, where it starts out with one voice he slowly turns in into a canon.

Throughout the other songs similar small details are used like finger-picking guitar or the repetitive distorted singing in Rotor-Manga-Papa-Maru combined with his clear vocals. All songs have their own secret slowly giving it self away.

One tracks specially stands-out. In the last song on the album Moutains Into Outer Space, which uses the same motive as the first song. It is one of those pieces that makes Richard Youngs so special among many other “singer/songwriter”, with his tragic singing. This singing is in big contrast with the chaotic guitar playing of finger-picking and delay effects. This song is a really energetic experience which just gives this album a little bit more compared with the two other LP’s released this year.

As a whole this is again a great Richard Youngs album, someone who always seems to surprise and almost never knows to disappoint. And for this year this one really stood out. Can’t wait for his next one coming out early January next year.

Listen to a Rotor-Manga-Papa-Maru through the grapefruit records club:

Long White Cloud is limited to 320 and is available through The Grapefruit Record Club.


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This entry was posted on December 26, 2011 by in Review, top10 2011.
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