Amplifying Host finds Richard Youngs wandering the guitar desert somewhere between Ry Cooder's Paris, Texas score and Neil Young's work on Dead Man. Yet, the randomly determined chord movements and Youngs' stretched-out vocal passes across the record are, perhaps, more akin to Jandek's Six And Six -- here, removed from its gauze and dipped in a dark gold. When Youngs bends ... Read more in Amazon's Richard Youngs Store
Over the last twenty years, through periods of fluctuating public interest, Richard Youngs has more or less managed to make minimal experimentalism his own. And, a year to the day since Jagjaguwar re-mastered and re-released his jaw-dropping "pop" album, Beyond the Valley of Ultrahits [VINYL], they now drop his 11th solo album, Amplifying Host.
How Youngs-ian then that, with his stock never higher, Youngs retreats, setting aside the keyboards and hooks of Ultrahits and returning to the outré folk with which he is most associated - only this time he delivers it from the deepest dusty prairie of his mind, inviting comparison with what has elsewhere been dubbed "acid Western", as well as with the most desolate parts of Neil Young's catalogue.
And, what Amplifying Host and its six windblown cuts lack in number, they more than compensate with in length. At the top of the pile, the 13+ widescreen minutes of "Too Strong For The Power" direct a chill straight down the spine. Bedded on unobtrusive cymbal rides courtesy of iconic dream-pop outfit Galaxie 500's Damon Krukowski, Youngs otherwise bends droning electric strings here, tickling out Nick Drake-ish plucked progressions there. With his voice often drawn out to a drone itself, this is disaffecting, star-gazing and hyper-lonely stuff in the first degree.
Though elsewhere shorter in length, this sense of chilly isolation is repeated throughout. "Tesselations" howls, for example, like a northerly wind through the trees, and "Furrows Again" is rife with multi-tracked echoes. The stabbing single string repeats in "Holding Onto The Sea" burrow themselves into the lump in your throat, if not instantly the heart. And, on "A Hole In The Earth", Youngs sets his guitar to gently weep, delicately eking out a lament to bring tears to the face of Mother nature herself.
Finally, working himself into a fervour of sorts, and amid a welcome exercise in linear strumming, Youngs loudly proclaims on the closer that "This is the music of exaltation". A world away from the relative showmanship of Ultrahits, Amplifying Host's cries to the moon are introvert in the extreme, intense enough perhaps to partially justify these claims. Yet, set against the disquieting expanse of the high and lonesome trail they come in to their own as a certain euphoric deliriousness takes over, heightening the record's beauty and somehow making the whole experience seem entirely more real.Read more ›
I couldn't disagree more with the previous reviewer on this EP/album (I say EP as it only has 6 tracks but has the running time of an album). It is the biggest pile of rubbish I have ever heard and I can't believe this got released, clearly if it weren't for Richard's huge back-catalogue and this was from a new artist, it would never see the light of day. I bought this based on a 6/10 review in NME and I am astounded it got that high of a score. The album basically consists of one type of song repeated ad infinitum, the song (s) follow the same pattern of fingerpicking the same boring arpeggio of one chord (rather badly as it sounds like he's learning how to do it) whilst tuning his guitar up and down at the same time. And that's it! On pretty much every song that's all he does, sure he throws in some jazz-drumming, a bit of bass and some atmospheric twinkle sounds here and there but by and large it just sounds like he decided to record himself tuning his guitar instead of playing lead guitar/blues solo's and then fingerpick over the top.
And don't get me started on the singing which again is very minimal (read lazy/unimaginative) and has Richard stringing out pretty much one sentence/the song title to the nth degree by making each individual word last an age. This is supposed to be "experimental" but it isn't, it's just rubbish and pretentious, in fact Richard has the cheek to stretch out this theme on one track for over 13 minutes... THIRTEEN minutes!! I kept listening thinking that surely at least one track would be remotely interesting and change from the same pattern of the others but no, it just goes on and on and on...
I love experimental music and have quite a big collection of it but this is taking the biscuit. It's just so incredibly dull and the endless detuning/tuning of the guitar makes you want to take a hand drill to your ears to stop the pain.
Absolutely awful album, avoid unless your a Richard Youngs fan/completest or want to pretend that you like experimental music and totally get what he's doing (which btw is wasting 40 minutes of your life and charging you for it).Read more ›