Let’s face it. There is an awful lot of mediocre music out there, even in the netlabel scene. Sometimes I feel like I’ll stop listening altogether if I hear yet another “experimental noise” release. As a musician myself, I know how easy it is to get loud, capture some audio, chop it up, and claim a new album is done… the results of which can either be very rewarding or, as is often the case, a complete waste of bandwidth.
That’s why Gillicuddy’s …Plays Guitar album is graceful change of pace. In the beginnings of the netlabel movement, we didn’t see/hear as many analogue–or, much less acoustic–examples of netaudio, although that is changing with sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, which aren’t netlabels per se, but do offer artists an even more independent outlet beyond the need for attachment to a specific label with a specific sound. …Plays Guitar was released in February though Clinical Archives, a robust netlabel and one of the most prolific labels online with a daunting display of releases (some 500+) showcasing quite a range of genres.
Guitar, as the name suggests, is Gillicuddy playing guitar. That’s it. No frills here, just seven tracks of guitar in what is described as neo-classical and post folk. The instrument of choice is a classical guitar, and Gillicuddy is obviously expert at it. Although I agree with the tag ‘neo-classical’ (this ain’t no Andres Segovia), I’m less sure about ‘post folk’ or what that even means in the context of this album, other than it must come after folk music?
Regardless, I do appreciate the approach: we begin with a straightforward finger-style classical guitar method, with nods to the meaning of ‘classical’ in classical guitar, as demonstrated by the use of open strings in “Travelling Made-up Continents.” However, the tone shifts a little on the second half of the album. By the time we’ve reached track five, “Springish,” we’ve come to what I suppose is meant by post folk. “Springish” and the tracks following it depart from classical guitar and seem more akin to traditional finger-picking or flat-picking, which has its origins in folk and country music of mid-20th century America, gradually becoming more incorporated into rock/folk music during the rise of the 1960s and 1970s singer-songwriter movement.
Another element which makes this release interesting, and what I think should make it palatable for our netlabelism listeners as well, is the fact that no track on the album is much more than two minutes. Each track says what it needs to, and we move on. In sum, you’ve got about 16 minutes of some highly listenable neo-classical/post folk guitar playing, sans vocal distractions. Taken in whole or in part, this should make for a nice mellow addition to any playlist. [NC]
Gillicuddy – Springrish
Deeplink to: Release Page
Related: Netlabelism CAST08