RICHARD YOUNGS – VARISPEED ETUDES LP (ROWF 64)
by Golden Lab Records
Limited to 300 copies on 140g vinyl in heavyweight, UV-coated jackets.
£15.49 + SHIPPING (£4 UK, £6 Europe, £9 US/Canada, £12 R.o.W.)
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Varispeed Etudes was conceived by revered, quixotic, Glasgow-based avant-garde populist Richard Youngs very much as an analogue ‘record of two halves’ in the spirit of David Bowie’s Low and Heaven 17’s Penthouse and Pavement. Side A showcases his bent for electronic experimentation and those inimitable, hauntingly reedy, standard English vocal tones that have placed him squarely alongside a peer group of British vocalising weirdos that includes Robert Wyatt, Ivor Cutler and Charles Hayward. Side B strips away the vocals and replaces the electronics with a series of shorter, dissonant, slow-moving, acoustic clatterbang soundscapes. The whole thing is ‘held together by the joy of varispeed pitch control – major delight of reel-to-reel recording’ and it’s as rich, conceptually oblique, throwaway but important as anything in Youngs’s catalogue. A strange, drop-out beauty that flicks ash on the brown bedsit carpet and never pays the gas bill. Spend your dole on it today.