Saturday, 2 April 2016

Album: Gavin Prior - All Who Wander

Gavin Prior - All Who Wander

Gavin Prior - 'Between Breaths'

Info: Dublin-based improv, electronic and rock artist Gavin Prior will be releasing his latest album, All Who Wander, on the 12th of April, an impressive compilation of tracks recorded at various locations around the world, both live in the outdoors and in multiple recording studios, after a number of listens it very much felt like a whole rather than separate tracks, Prior describes it as a journey, which it is, and all of the tracks are separated only by location.

In his own words; "Most of the tracks on this album were recorded spontaneously without a particular project in mind. It was only when listening back I noticed the pattern of combining acoustic instruments with field recordings.” Field recording opportunities have come about through emigration to Korea, touring with United Bible Studies and the flaneur’s openness to chance encounters which can enrich the shortest of journeys. "Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost" is a line from a Tolkien poem, first seen by Gavin on a bumper sticker en route to Burning Man. So, as this album’s title it takes the form of dedication to fellow travellers."

Gavin Prior

Prior lays it out immediately on opening track 'Between Breaths', the first sounds we hear are the singing of birds before his soft acoustic guitar picking adds to the sense of serenity, meanwhile strings and backwards record effects add an air of mystery. An old door swinging on rusty hinges and chiming cow bells bring our imaginations to their next location, I imagine an old wooden barnhouse in a sunny field of wheat or corn with an old windpump in the distance, this is 'The Old Claddagh Swings', a very contemporary interpretation and use of some elements of traditional Irish music and more electronic sounds.

Straight after the stripped-down acoustic slide guitar on 'August Clouds' we're back among nature on the wonderful 'Moroccolin', the mandolin playing is joyful and such a pleasure to listen to, whilst exemplifying Prior's broad range of skill on one of many stringed instruments to feature on All Who Wonder. The sixth track on the album '고양이, 골목' (meaning 'Cat Alleyway') is set in an urban location, Incheon in South Korea to be precise, afterwards he reflects on the field recording; 'I think how tiny that cat sounds against the trundling traffic and how easy it is for unanchored creatures to get swept away in a megapolis.'

'Pangolin Blues' has a slightly dark edge to it courtesy of the slightly off-tuned and thick acoustic guitar playing of the top strings, it's another point on the album where you freely get lost in it's soundscape, subconciously drifting off. 'Leath-cuimhne' or 'half-memory' is up next, rainfall slapping ground providing the natural backdrop this time, a bizarre melding of bending and looping strings on the brief instrumental.

The album finishes strongly, 'Close, Blue' is a highlight once again for me, the strings are manic but beautiful, and it's atmosphere is exotic and folky. 'Schoolhouse Coda' has a an old school (yes) country and bluegrass feel, I imagine Prior sitting alone in a sawdust-floored wooden building way out in the rural, where you can see dust moving in the sunlight through the windows. All Who Wander is an album for getting lost in, opening doors to other rooms and locations, Gavin Prior's imagination pointing the way for our own to take over as his songs colour our mental pallet, and I loved every second of the journey we went on.

You can pre-order All Who Wander here

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