A Happy Return Drashel

Label
Spillage Fete
Released
16th June 2022

Format Info

LP - black vinyl
Comes with numbered, string-bound booklet.

Well, this is utterly delightful. Equal parts bucolic and aching, A Happy Return’s Drasher is Spillage Fete honcho Mat Fowler in experimentally charming mode, with warbling, deeply warm tones intersecting wafting guitar and wheezing harmonica to weave a hypnagogic gauze of sound.

It’s on records like these you really appreciate the homeliness of the tape recorder: these vignettes, perfect bubbles in this shimmering sea of ghostly memory, are recorded to 4 track (we think?) and simply overdubbed with different instrumentation. The in-built compression of the cassette recorder mulches the stew together to produce this perfect, gently sun-burnt effect on the music therein. It’s all so warm and beguiling: a track like Certes Pillow has a phaser guitar and arpeggios for a Durutti effect, while backwards cassettes and field recordings of verbal warble evoke Radiophonic experimentation or a field trip into the border between the physical and ideal.

Fowler’s anchor instrument is the guitar, but it’s played with such clear simplicity and augmented with a honed, aesthetically precise imagination to create whole landscapes. Corners Blow has a distant guitar sound with almost just intonation haunted by crackles and scratches bathed in reverb and echo and over-laced hydrophonic frequencies really make you feel like you’re on a coast somewhere staring at the last remaining lighthouse on earth as a churning foam gently crawls along the sand. Or whatabout those waterfalls of fuzz on a track like Fast The Ropes that recall shoegaze territory?

Drasher was recorded by Fowler, Aimée Henderson and their daughter Agnes Bell and the intimacy in the recordings really beams out like a welcoming beacon. It’s a strange world the unit evoke, Drasher, but also one you’d thoroughly enjoy getting lost in.