Richard Youngs – Amaranthine (Mie Music) 2012
Richard Youngs is a British experimental/ avant garde musician who has been plying his trade for a number of years. From what I read, each of his records is unique and his discography does not follow any one style. I’ve seen his name a heap of times in publications like the Wire but this is my first experience with his music – and what a ride it is. When the first track started I thought for a micro second that there was a saxophone being abused in some way until it becomes startlingly apparent that the wail is actually his voice. That voice blew me away: an instrument which in itself is a mix of crooner and post-apocalyptic folk artist. It is a strange and oddly compelling voice and lays the foundation for each of the tracks. The songs themselves are extraordinary. Post experimental clatter and guitar experimentation is held together by the lilting drone of his voice. There is a sniff of the hippie about him and in many ways this is music which I usually steer clear of but I have listened to this about three times a day for the past week and I love it. Amaranthine has done for weirdo folk what Jim O’Rourke’s Insignificance did for AOR. I’ll go out on a limb and say that the first two tracks of Amaranthine (Hopeless Warriors and State I’m In (California)) are two of my favourite songs period.
I cannot stop listening to this right now and you won’t find a better place to find a bamboo flute being rocked than on this. It’s drone, folk, percussive clatter and outsider music in one lovely package. Another cracking release from Mie Music.