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1 review | 5 people love this record: be the 6th!

Private press only that it's available to people to buy, this is a limited edition of 150 copies of an album made by happy couple Mathew Fowler, Aimée Henderson and seemingly their days old child Agnes Bell. It's a collection of small clattery sounds quiet enough not to wake a sleeping child but scary enough to disturb one for the rest of its life. Think the BBC Radiophonic experiments or Broadcast's Berbarian Sound Studio.     

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  • SFRLP006
  • SFRLP006 / LP on Spillage Fete. Hand-numbered edition of 150 copies, housed in sleeve with cover painting by Aimée plus insert and postcards

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A Happy Return by A Happy Return
1 review. Add your own review.
5 people love this record. Be the 6th!
8/10 Robin Staff review, 05 September 2018

This record is extremely very much for those who want to hear Woo without the jazz bits, Broadcast without the songs and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop minus the soundtrack telos. A record of jumble sale tape music heavy on clattering sounds and distantly plucked guitars, it’s the kind of cosy ambient music that exists in life, whether on purpose or by chance. At times it sounds like someone actually went out of their way to make it; at others the broken conversations and randomly moved tupperware resembles something you could make with a mic and a kitchen.

Sounding off as both lounge music and hauntology, A Happy Return provide an uncanny soundtrack for your lonely days. The guitar playing that recurs through the record has nothing to play against but the tape hiss housing it, bringing to mind an even more lost version of Avey Tare’s ‘Eucalpytus’. It’s mixed with whirring electronics that wouldn’t be out of place on a Ghost Box record, but here they feel more homely, as if the spooks are welcome in this home for alternative environments. The ominous tones rarely last more than mere seconds, fading into the walls as if they’re hiding from the real life they’re living with: the tape loops and field recordings rush through the room like people unaware of the phenomenology.

It’s a roulette of ambient music; listening to it is something of a trip, largely due to the short, unfocused way it switches between timbre and melody. Such is the fate of this kind of tape music, I guess: as mere bullet points of sound, ‘A Happy Return’ becomes a fun, adventurous record just as good for shuffle play as it is a full listen. It's so many moments of charm.


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