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Richard Young - River Through Howling Sky

  by Andrew Carver

published: 19 / 2 / 2004

Richard Young - River Through Howling Sky
Label: Jagjaguwar
Format: CD


"Fabulous " fifth album from avant garde and experimental Glaswegian musician Richard Youngs, which proves "a must-have for anyone who want to see a guitarist head off the beaten track"

From the first stinging guitar line of 'River Through Howling Sky', Youngs serves notice that last year's 'Airs of the Ear' was no fluke; if anything, 'River' passes even the high watermark set be 'Air'.  'Fountain of Light' starts things off with a searing guitar note that launches out into space. It strikes out again and again over the thrum of electronics and a deep thump of percussion (as well as sharper percussive raps and the tinkle of bells). Youngs sings tunefully and plaintively of birds flown, seeds sown and trees grown. You can imagine his lyrics over a bed of bucolic English folk music — and the work of the Incredible String Band and others is certainly part of his musical makeup — but his eerie, near improv music has taken a wide step clear of his influences. Groups like the No Neck Blues Band would be a closer touchstone still. Youngs’ music adheres to its own internal logic while staying clear of conventional time and the more predictable scales and melodies. The second track,'Blossom' adds scrabbling notes in the higher registers but otherwise stays faithful to the musical strategies of the first track. He sings in a slightly higher register for 'Sky Is Upon You', and plays in a more acoustic mode while electronic modulations fill up the remaining space before more electronic stringbending returns to do battle. But 'Fountain',' Blossom' and 'Sky' are merely tasters for the  final sprawl of set closer 'Red Cloud Singular' which encapsulates and extends the motifs of its predecessors over the 44-minute album’s remaining 25 minutes. 'River Through Howling Sky' is a fabulous piece of work, a must-have for anyone who want to see a guitarist head off the beaten track.

Track Listing:-
1 Fountains of Light
2 Blossom
3 Sky is Upon You
4 Red Cloud Singular

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