It's a new day and Hollow Press is back online. After weeks of crazy deadlines and adventures the musical spelunking can once again commence. We're kicking things off with three releases by Australia's Cameron Webb aka Seaworthy, a maestro of guitar and electronic minimalism.
First up is "Codes Adrift." Released in an edition of 100 CD-Rs, placed in hand made envelopes, and sealed with wax by the now tragically defunct Sound&Fury records, "Codes Adrift" is two untitled tracks sprawling out over just under half an hour. The two pieces could almost be one, a quietly pulsing and sublimely peaceful journey comprised entirely of looped and layered guitar tone and feedback. The sensation of listening to this record is of one sitting on a small boat in the middle of an absolutely endless sea but being completely at peace with this fact. A wistfully lulling siren call shifts and lows, an almost organ-like thrum, while Webb picks and plucks his guitar quietly around this softly swirling ebb and flow. Although some new elements creep into the track 2 - bits of static and softly glitchy pulses rattle and whisper, lonely and nostalgic; the volume and intensity picks up - the sonic journey "Codes Adrift" takes listeners on is essentially without interruption. The two pieces feed into one another and, like the tides they seem to draw inspiration from, could pulse inward and outward forever. It's a powerful yet delicate piece of music, decidedly minimal but incredibly deep.
Codes Adrift is long out of print and probably can't be purchased anywhere. Sorry!
Next there's "1897," an album recorded entirely in an old ammunition depot from the titular year. Once again Webb's guitar playing is at the fore here although meditative electronic thrum and lovely field recordings of wind, birds, rain, and running water are woven throughout, creating a fully realized sonic world, one that drifts through haunted corners of dusty attics and over rainswept meadows, mournful and brimming with melancholy. One of the most impressive parts of this album is the timbre of Webb's guitar, at times reminiscent of Loren Connors, which picks up a huge amount of natural reverb from the physical space in which the album was recorded. But some tracks are far more electronic heavy than others, eschewing traditional guitar sounds altogether. Sparse, glowering drone pieces crop up amongst the rippling guitar and delicate sigh of wind and rain through leaves. Stark and chilly, this isn't happy listening but it's perhaps Webb's best to date.
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Finally there's "Map in Hand," a rather different album from the last couple but still definitely part of the Seaworthy oeuvre. "Map in Hand" is more hopeful, a warmer and overall more involved production. Electronics play a bigger role, the guitar is less prevalent, at least in it's traditional state. While many songs on "1897" are just Webb improvising on guitar with little to no significant processing, "Map in Hand" is more concerned with creating glowing, densely layered soundscapes. Rather than stark and mournful, these are more transportive, crackling with analog buzz and thrumming with strange energy. The result is soft and languid and beautiful. It's not a very easy album and will bore some but for those with the patience it's wonderful and rewarding, a perfect soundtrack to a late night summer drive through the country, surrounded by dark fields but warm and secure and speeding into the unknown.
Map in Hand
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