Review; Yawning Gulf LP

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Posted 10 Dec 2010 in Music, Reviews

[Having recently written a post on his love of unclassifiable, classical-tinged, music, Assistant Blog's favourite guest blogger Dan turns his attention to another purveyer of atmospheric, instrumental soundscapes - Yawning Gulf].

Jack Ryder is a Hove based musician and photographer who has played in a number of bands but has now settled under the name Yawning Gulf. This year, without the backing of a major label or a distribution deal, he released his first, self-titled album – carefully manufacturing just 100 copies, which he walked around the record stores of Brighton. It seems he made a good impression. As James from Resident Records notes “(a) local chap Jack Ryder unassumingly dropped these in, a little home produced album on which he’s played & recorded everything as well as designing all the sleeve art. Turns out, it’s a real treat. “

Jack’s effort is all the more notable, and indeed heart warming, as the finished product really is good enough to be mentioned in the same breath as Peter Broderick, Hauschka and Tape. Yawning Gulf is 15 tracks of wide ranging melodic, experimental and thought provoking instrumental music. Mr Ryder plays everything himself, occasionally using technology to alter sounds and enrich his playing.  Tracks such as ‘Redolence’, consisting as it does of gentle guitar and found sounds, brings to mind David Scott of Early Songs, whilst the excellent ‘Last Day’ – with its competing guitar and piano – conjures up a playful collaboration between Max Richter and Tortoise.

The album broadens with piano led tracks such as ‘Soma’ and ‘Atma’ (both reminiscent of Portland’s Goldmund) whereas ‘In the Skies’ is Hauschka-esque with its haunting, strained piano strings.  I’ve had the amazing ‘The Walk’ stuck in my head since the summer and so I exorcised it by putting it on the soundtrack to a film of friends (including Jonathan) relaxing in Paris – I hope Mr Ryder doesn’t mind.

All the comparisons made above are not, however, intended to detract from the originality of this album.  For a self released debut of very limited numbers, this is an astonishing achievement and – as one of the lucky 100 – I feel very privileged to own a copy.  Although I can’t deny that membership of this exclusive club is in some way a thrill, allowing me access to great music which others might struggle to hear, I wonder how ambitious Jack Ryder is for his release? Is he looking for it to be made more widely available? It is gaining attention online and it would be a grave injustice if Ryder isn’t already on the radar of labels like Erased Tapes or Type. I do hope so, for as corny as the expression is; this music really does deserve to be heard by a wider audience.

Album (CD) available for purchase here.

Bridge the Yawning Gulf

Yawning Gulf’s Myspace page can be found here

Several tracks are found here on Yawning Gulf’s Soundcloud page.

Jack Ryder’s site, including links to other musical projects as well as his great music and photography blog is here

[Guest post by Dan]


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