Haunter of the Woods – demo ep [2016]

When you look at it, it’s nothing special. Just three tracks, with unoriginal names, just named I, II and III. The cover is a simple photograph of wooded hills. But then you click play and the world turns around.

Well, I guess I’m exaggerating a little. I must admit, such simple album covers do catch my eye. It’s also not that great, earth-shattering music. It’s just the kind you end up listening again and again, all the time. Except the first one, perhaps, yet it’s enough to catch the interest and move you to the forest. And when track II starts playing, you already hear the stream next to you. Literally, there’s a recording of water flowing on the second track, which is a nice addition to the acoustic guitar, which is the only instrument on this instrumental release. Not unlike some later 2000s post-rock music, the second track starts slow and mellow, only to have a pause in the middle, and continue faster and more lively. Speaking of post-rock, there’s been a trend there of strumming the guitar like it was a mandolin. That is precisely what we can hear on track III on Haunter of the Woods’s demo. Unless that is actually a mandolin, I’m not willing to trust my ears. Maybe you can help me out? Write in the comments!

Anyway, this track III must easily be the best track I’ve heard this year so far. So calming and beautiful, yet not drowsy in anyway. It just strikes a perfect balance of everything, until it ends. And it ends somewhat abruptly and too soon, it should be longer. But then again, I’m sure it’s by design, just to make you listen to it again.

Released as “name your price (no minimum)” on Bandcamp.

Scott William Urquhart – September Sky [2016]

September Sky is Scott William Urquhart’s latest release from August 2016. It features 5 tracks, of which 4 are instrumental, only the title track features some vocals. There’s but a single instrument present on all tracks – acoustic guitar, though there is some overdubbing, which adds to the dynamics.

Although no single track stands out, the albums flows nicely. The opening track, “Drumochter Pass”, has a nice psychedelic touch to it and it got me hooked from the start. It tends to get a bit too repetitive, especially on a second or third listen. “A Seaside Wedding” starts in a similar fashion, but it turns softer through the track, especially towards the end. “Wren” is already a completely mellow, melancholic sounding track, which is true even more for the the next track “September Sky”. The final track, “Down with death”, perhaps most clearly shows the album’s drawback, its blandness, if I may say so. Some repetition is understandable and desired, but it seems to me as if the music is afraid of standing out, of being heard.

All in all, not a bad album, but there’s just nothing grabbing me to listen it again and again. It shows promise, the foundation is well laid, it just lacks some seasoning. Perhaps you’ll love it, though. Let me know, what you think about September Sky in the comments.

Released as “name your price (no minimum)” on Bandcamp.