Angelo Harmsworth – Untitled C-30 (Bathetic)
I enjoy guitar based recordings quite a bit, so this isn’t hard to like for me. It’s evident that there has been plenty of effort expended in the search for interesting sounds. Mr. Harmsworth is not content to use typical presets and standard sounding effects. Interesting usage of reversed reverbs, non-reversed reverbs, chorus effects, field recordings, layered/looped guitars, and other looped sound sources. The guitars are effected, but for the most part not drenched enough to hide the identity of the instrument. Low fidelity hissing is frequently present and pleasant. Guitars are colored by what sounds like (so many ways to manipulate…) cassette warbling and fizz, which is carefully restrained to maximize the cozy, intimate feelings brought about by the sound of a well used tape. The 6 pieces on this Untitled are invitingly exploratory and varied. The simplicity and occasionally playful experiments on this recording are easy to enjoy listening to on repeat for extended periods of time, such as I have for the last 5 hours while doing various things within clear earshot. The music goes quite more than surface deep in thoughtful ways without becoming an emotional drag. Along with the guitar texture based nature of this recording, the artwork was a draw for me. The j-card is of a special handmade wildflower seed paper which is delicate, beautiful to touch, and germinatable. Bury it beneath soil, water it properly, read Tukaram to the seeds gently in a quiet voice several times a day, and some flowers should grow for you. The artwork printed upon it is charmingly minimal and earthy. This type of packaging was something that attracted me to the No Kings label, with their specially printed artwork, often on papers of amusing texture, color, and thickness. This is surely one of my favorite finds of the last year.