review

Norman Records (staff)

On this edition of three:four's split series we have a 10" with a big photo of a cat's face on the front cover. Quite the cutie it is too. Not only that, but there's a 10" vinyl disc inside from which, with the correct equipment, you will be able to listen to the latest offerings from Annelies Monsere and Richard Youngs. Monsere's side contains five versions of a song called 'Sand', each with different instrumentation, sometimes it's just a run through the main theme, sometimes the entire song with her brittle, high-pitched vocals singing a haunting refrain, sometimes with some pleasantly spooky harmonies. It doesn't so much sound like five versions of the same track as five movements of a single extended suite. The song itself is in a kind of plainsong style, with a single droned note almost constantly present over the simple and repetitive melody. On to Richard Youngs's side, this is a single, long solo meditation for guitar and voice, but it's all heavily processed with delay and flange effects that give it a really disconcerting otherworldly swirling feel to it. Unlike the Annelies Monsere side, the vocals here are pretty prominent in the mix. Youngs himself doesn't actually do a lot, since the effects which flood everything would cause anything but the most minimal feather-light plucking to descend swiftly into chaos, and this limitation brings an interesting aspect to his songwriting style, which seems to come in bursts whenever the lingering trails of the last sound he made have fluttered to a sufficient distance. Weirdly enough, his voice reminds me a bit of Brian Ferry, but that's a hugely misleading thing to say here because that's where the similarities end. Both these sides are very easy to listen to without sacrificing experimentalism, and will no doubt yield rewards from repeated listens.