‘They Haunted Most Thickly’ is the latest release from Seabuckthorn aka acoustic, ambient guitarist Andy Cartwright. With influences ranging from the trad styles of Robbie Basho and Jack Rose to the modern masters such as Ben Chasny, Zak Riles, and Gustavo Santaolalla, Cartwright uses open tunings and resonant twelve strings to construct powerful cinematic soundscapes.
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- They Haunted Most Thickly by Seabuckthorn
8/10 Jim Staff review, 21 June 2015
Seabuckthorn is the solo project of a British acoustic guitarist called Andy Cartwright. ‘They Haunted Most Thickly’ is a highly accomplished blend of shimmering 12 string and twangsome resonator excursions woven into widescreen cinematic arrangements. Cartwright shows an impressive balance of restraint and virtuosity in his playing, from building up bubbling, open-ended rhythms and textures or articulating intricate melodies. There’s an elemental mystery to the atmosphere conveyed that makes me think of Ben Chasny’s work in Six Organs of Admittance, Dean McPhee and more drone-oriented Americana practitioners like Robbie Basho or Jack Rose.
But this isn’t a just record of solo guitar picking (or spooky bowing) by a long shot, it feels meticulously put together with layers of overdubs, richly textured percussion and brooding reverb-drenched atmospheric sounds. If anything I wish it was a bit rougher sounding as I love the buzz, scrape and jangle of the beautifully recorded guitars so much that the heavily processed accompaniments sound a bit like the aural equivalent of tarting up a warts n’ all documentary with CGI. But if you like music that conjures up big biblical skies, deserts and mountainous oceans, you’ll love this.
9/10 David MacIntosh Customer review, 4th October 2016
The easiest way to review something is to say that it’s similar to something else or maybe to say that it’s like the best bits of one thing mixed together with the best bits of something else. Therein lies the problem for 'They Haunted Most Thickly'. It’s actually unlike anything I’ve listened to before. It is acoustic and it is folk music but the folk stories it refers to are not specific tales or themes, they are folk experiences, they are recollections of occurrences buried so deep that you can’t find specific events to hang the feelings on to, you just know that you have been there before. The cover of the album goes someway to representing the experience of listening to Seabuckthorn’s music. I think I would have actually chosen a picture of a simple shoreline. Something like the most remote parts of the Suffolk coast. That shoreline isn’t too dramatic, but if you take the time study it you will be rewarded with the discovery of a multitude of small details that add to a sense of complex beauty. And so it is with this album; sure there’s repetition and minimal orchestration but listen again and you will discover new patterns and new details, lots of small flourishes of sound that play with your mood. This is intelligent music that doesn’t require intelligence to enjoy. Highly recommended.
(The physical record itself is very nice. I don’t know if it’s a 180g vinyl but it feels substantial and was well pressed.)
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