Tag Archives: CD

Record of the week: Richard Youngs – Arrow Ltd Preserved Sound LP/CD


This only arrived this morning but I have lived with it on constant rotation all day whilst sorting out the large delivery of noodles* that were also delivered at the same time, as well as a few hundred dreary 7″s that I have been putting off sorting for weeks. When you read the description of the album:

Recorded especially for Preserved Sound in Hebden​ Bridge, ​Arrow is sound of Richard Youngs alone at the piano, embellished with sparse drums and an old organ. This collection of solo improvisations is all about capturing the moment – that piano and that afternoon in Hebden Bridge.
“I sat down at the piano and just played,” says Richard. “No preconceptions, nothing worked out. I wasn’t trying to achieve anything other than to enjoy playing the piano.” “There was also an organ in the room, so there are touches of that. I then took these back to Glasgow and knocked it into shape – a few overdubs, nothing drastic.”

you could be forgiven for feeling that the album is as much a noodle-fest as my kitchen but, in reality, it is far away from that (thankfully!).  There are  layer upon layer of sounds, instruments and harmonies on top of the piano improvisations and it is these other elements that keep the level of interest high – and the level of enjoyment even higher. It occasionally sounds thrown together haphazardly, but this is no bad thing – as it keeps you guessing as to what exactly is gonna happen next and rarely follows a linear pattern that one would normally expect from similarly ‘improvised’ piano based albums.


It also sounds like he was having a lot of fun making it.

This is yet another fantastic release from Preserved Sound and follows their normal high degree of artistic quality control of both the music and the hand assembled packaging. Limited to 300 numbered copies on both Vinyl & CD, this one promises to disappear pretty rapidly as it’s such a magnificent piece of work.

At times (especially during side 2) it sounds like 2 Steve Reich albums are playing at the same time whilst somebody sits in the corner gently wrestling with a piano – and you can’t get a much higher recommendation than that can you?




*Re: Noodles:    i’m not running a chinese takeaway or anything – I just eat a lot of noodles and stumbled upon a fantastic website catering to all my noodle-based needs and ended up buying 70+ packets from them. Go here if you’re interested:


Record of the week: Massive Attack ‎– Heligoland NEAR MINT deluxe 3XLP 2010

20+ years ago I worked in a Bristol Housing Association and Massive Attack’s Grant ‘Daddy G’ Marshall was one of our tenants, which I always thought was taking the piss rather – being as he was a big top pop star and all that.


My housing-related gripes aside, I was a massive (!) fan of the band (still am actually) and this is my favourite album of theirs – featuring vocals from Tunde Adebimpe, Martina Topley-Bird, Horace Andy, Guy Garvey, Damon Albarn and the absolutely gorgeous Hope Sandoval (who called me a cunt once, in a case of mistaken identity!).

This is the very rare 1st pressing 3 disc edition with the following special selling points:

Housed in a unique black-glitter coated triple gatefold sleeve, this deluxe edition includes:
• Two 180-gram heavyweight vinyl records, containing the 10 tracks comprising ‘Heligoland’, crafted on the legendary EMI 1400 in Hayes, Middlesex.
• Exclusive bonus 180-gram heavyweight 12″ vinyl, containing four additional new Massive Attack tracks and remixes
• Exclusive 28-page booklet, featuring new Robert Del Naja artwork and Massive Attack tour photography.
• CD, containing the full album, housed in a black pochette, with a black-glitter coated cover.


Record of the week: Visionary Hours – Beyond the White LP

My New Years Resolution for this year was to promote labels that I believed in – we purposely don’t sell many new records and CDs on the site as we couldn’t possibly hope to compete with the South American rivers of the selling World and because, quite frankly, it would bore the shit out of us.

Funnily enough – this was the first New Years Resolution that i’ve ever managed to keep…

The labels that I want to promote are labels that follow a few rules set down by me as Dictator of the mono-stereo World: the music must be both interesting, there must be an overall aesthetic or tactile quality to the releases and they must be run by people who give a shit about what they do.

The first of these ‘Labels of Love’ is Preserved Sound – a label run by Hayden Berry from the artistic centre that is Hebden Bridge and personifies my golden set of rules. Releasing most things on limited hand numbered CD, with an occasional vinyl release, everything has an immediate feel of artisanal quality and attention to detail. The sleeves are always handmade and the music is always hand picked with love.

Visionary Hours is Hayden Berry himself, along with a large list of collaborators (including Bruno Sanfilippo, Richard Youngs, Western Skies Motel, Adrian Lane, Trigg & Gusset, Isnaj Dui and 3+ among others), with the pieces constructed around elegant guitar pieces and the other musicians freely adding their own contributions. Berry chose which piece of music to send which artist (sometimes more than one artist and so, in a sense, some artists were unwittingly collaborating with other artists) and then edited the contributions to create the final pieces.

The resulting album is simply beautiful, with the guitar interweaving amongst clarinet, piano, cello, zither, organ, flute, violin, fender Rhodes and saxophone. The different instruments and sounds are always complimentary to the guitar picking, and even letting space between the sounds resonate more so than the actual instruments in some cases.

This feeling of space gives the album an overall feeling of lightness and relaxed ambience, with the moments of silence being equally as important as the moments of sound. This impression of the air hanging around the music brings to mind the last two Talk Talk albums with their equally beautiful production, editing and attention to detail.

I have played this album more than any other in the last month and yet it still offers up new experiences with every play – such is the depth of beauty and the way everything hangs together whilst still retaining an air of minimalism.

Available on LP (99 copies only)
CD (150 copies only)