Astonishingly beautiful private press LP from Mat Fowler, Aimée Henderson and their daughter Agnes Bell. Sketches of innocence and experience recorded before and after Agnes’s birth on January 27th, 2017, in their living room on Sprules Road. A Happy Return glows with the promise and optimism of new life but it is not a straightforward document of domestic bliss (can you imagine anything more insufferable?!)... I mean, it would be overstating the case to say that any meaningful/authentic celebration of life must also at some level be about the Other Thing, but let’s just say that this record feels fully engaged with the provisional and temporary nature of all things...our changing relationships to time, to our selves, to each other... the mysteries of the human chain!
Anyone familiar with Fowler’s collaborations with Kevin Cormack, BONS (also with Matthew Hunt) and Jam Money, will recognise his MO: poignant, evocative instrumental miniatures that seem to disperse almost as soon as they’ve arrived, but never before they’ve left their mark. Arcadian chamber-folk instrumentation (guitar, violin, woodwind, hand-percussion) meets hermetic, disorienting tape loops, spacey minimal synth textures and strange little ecologies of found-sound. With its mix of vérité and concrète, its taste for the uncanny and for strange juxtapositions, and its underlying collagistic, ambient pop impulse, A Happy Return variously recalls the work of Graham Lambkin, the melancholic pastoralia of Woo and Plinth, the bedsit economy of Young Marble Giants and Flaming Tunes, and the thrift-psych zone-outs of Pram and Movietone. Disquieting often, beautiful and haunting always.
A hand-numbered edition of 150 copies, housed in sleeve with cover painting by Aimee plus insert and postcards.