Richard Youngs CD review [Jagjaguwar]

Music Reviews
Richard Youngs CD review [Jagjaguwar]
Mar 18, 2003, 04:25


Drone scientist / folk troubadour Richard Youngs recorded one of my favorite records of 2002. May, an album that conjured classic English folk while never losing sight of the weirdness for which he is often known, firmly established Youngs as a worthy passenger on the same bong-powered time machine that brought us such reverent folkies as PG Six.

Bearing similar packaging and instrumentation, Airs of the Ear seems to be a logical continuation of May, and while the songs are slightly more precious and less immediately affecting, they evoke the same fragile mood.

Using ring modulation and Theremin along with 6 and 12 string guitars, Youngs still manages to ably channel the bucolic charm of Shirley and Dolly Collins. Ditto for “Oh My Stars,” whose repeated melody dances amidst space sounds.

Young's electric guitar playing has rarely been more eloquent than on “Fire Horse Rising,” whose alarmed textures create a psychedelic bed for the mantra sung on top. The tremolo heavy “Machaut's Dream” may feature minimal UFO sounds, but the hugeness and beauty of the track are reminiscent of Roy Harper at his most daring. Airs of the Ear is an exercise in sharp contrasts, and another jewel in the crown of an artist who's managed to give the word timelessness a whole new meaning. [Jagjaguwar]

-James Jackson Toth

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