Voice of the Seven Woods: The Journey
Kning Disk

Ass / Rickard Jäverling: No love lost, David
Kning Disk

Though Manchester-based guitarist Rick Tomlinson (aka Voice of the Seven Woods) apparently has self-released a number of recordings, The Journey is the first one to have crossed my path, and all praise to Kning Disk for making the musician's work more widely available than it might otherwise be (this particular re-issue is available in CD and 10-inch vinyl formats). In essence, what we've got here are six solo guitar instrumentals of admirably restrained character.

True to its title, a desolate quality pervades “Solitary Breathing” as shuddering electric shadings wend a lonely route through a skeletal landscape of ghostly murmurs and acoustic filigrees. The minute-long drone “Departure” segues into the deft picking of the waltz-time title track where multiple acoustic guitars build into a dense, glistening mass. In “Breaking Moonlight,” sparkling fragments suggest the restless flutter of tiny organisms in a dew-covered forest while “3am, Home” evokes the melancholy longing a weary transport truck driver might experience tooling down abandoned highways in the middle of the night. Recorded in February 2007, The Journey totals a modest seventeen minutes, but that hardly takes away from the understated elegance of Tomlinson's work.

At eight minutes, No love lost, David is even more modest but that's to be expected, given that it's a 3-inch CD-R (it's also available in a 7-inch vinyl format) containing a track apiece by ASS (Andreas Söderström) and Rickard Jäverling. Söderström's “No love lost” is a multi-layered affair that weds acoustic picking, cymbal accents, harmonium, and trumpets into a transporting, four-minute evocation of smoothly flowing design. In coupling pensive acoustic guitar patterns with the ponderous lurch of Fredrik Aspelin's drumming and the astral colourations of Johan Zeitler's synthesizers and electric guitar, Jäverling's “David” starts out gently, wistfully even, but rather surreptitiously ascends until it reaches its intended summit, and then bows out, its goal achieved. The two pieces make a nice pair, and it wouldn't be too great a stretch to imagine they could be the work of the same artist.

January 2009