Talk about underrated. British-born, Scotland-based multi-instrumentalist Richard Youngs has been a favorite since his excellently fuzzed, droning self-released Advent pierced our ears in the ’90s — especially the melancholy-and-synth-drenched chiming finale “The Sea Is Madness.” There were also separate noisier, hissier, or etcetera collaborations with Simon Wickham-Smith, Neil Campbell, and Skullflower/Total (and now also Hototogisu, et al) main dude Matthew Bower. His collab list is sort of endless … more recently, Youngs played shows as a part of Jandek’s live band, for instance.
Even though we first came to know Mr. Youngs via his more free-form explorations, it’s the series of folk-y, psychedelic, hypnotically raga-style, holy modal (and generally epic) work that really slays. You could say it’s comparable to the work of David Thomas Broughton, but Youngs came way before DTB. Maybe some earlier Six Organs … but different. This strain’s best exhibited on 2005’s hauntingly gorgeous, electro-accented The Naive Shaman and the rawer, more spare and straightforward May, released in 2002. All that said, and all that love, Autumn Response, the follow-up to Naive Shaman, is quickly moving up toward the top of our RY favorites, so we’re more than happy to post two transmissions from the newbie, “Before We Were Here” and “Low Bay Of Skies.”
The songs appear consecutively and in the above order on the record, so this should give you a sense of how it flows. Adding this new technique to his arsenal, he strums his guitar and double tracks his voice, the threads splitting and competing with themselves like separate tributaries, occasionally doubling to create a powerful stream. Gorgeous, surprising stuff. Maybe even more surprising, though, is that someone who started knocking out his gorgeous music in the ’80s still looks and sound so restlessly young. Guess it’s all in the name (so so bad … apologies). Who knows, maybe he and Thurston have the same skincare products.
Autumn Response is out now on Jagjaguwar.