"But this is MAXs home."
New CD-R from Thomas Bush, on his Men Scryfa private press. A strange and compulsive breadcrumb trail...a game of two halves, as well: the first rooted in the kind of digressive DIY synth-pop and faux-naive keyboard mood-pieces common to his work in RAP with Guy Gormley (check their Originals tape on Jolly Discs); the second heading deep into the woods and a timeless, unsettling, avant-folk abstraction. The opening one-two of 'Down Street' (Robert Wyatt in a crumpled Sergio shellsuit) and 'Champg' (Lucozade-crazed Casio highlife) offer only the subtlest intimation of the gloomier, more introspective fare to come: that descent begins with the near-gothic 'Flood' which, thanks not only to Bush's self-lacerating, semi-improvised vocalese but also the driving, minimal accompaniment of organ, drum-machine and mellifluous bass-work, feels very much like the beautiful bastard child of (early) Eyeless In Gaza.
Behind the shaggy-dog fishing anecdote (!) at the heart of 'Presence: Martin', sickly-sweet, unheimlich drones yield to lush, impressionistic solo guitar somewhere between Vini Reilly and Roy Montgomery...gets under your skin, that one. But the climax of this brilliant album is the rangy, undulating Kernowek death-folk epic 'Ripe' - that spidery guitar again, with Karin Bähler Lavér's otherworldly vocals and sparsest percussions all suspended in thick cobwebs of reverb and delay - like Entlang spun out into opioid oblivion, or an even MORE dub-demolished F ingers (do you think we might like it?). By contrast the emotionally ambiguous ambient of 'Requiem For Forest Glades' (think Call Back The Giants, or Another Green Eno with a blindfold on and one hand tied behind his back) feels like a veritable hug in a mug.
Edition of 88, "each with some individual character", mastered by Rupert Clervaux. Also back in: limited copies of John T. Gast's 2013 Scryfa 12", Exile.