Residing just outside Durham in northern England, David Newlyn strikes me as one of the true craftsmen of crossbred acoustic and electronic music, quietly going about his work, a cobbler of everyday emotion and experience, long yeoman service assuring a steady hand and quality results. (His curatorial work is characterized by the same discernment and attention to detail, as founder of the Cathedral Transmissions label.) His latest offering is a double three-inch disc set, The Past Increases, the Future Recedes, each track a candle flickering in a dark room shuttered against the chill.
Though far from immune to the lure of the thematic album (listen for instance to his exquisite ambientization of a Friday Night Choir Practice), Newlyn´s more recent work – e.g. Good Luck (Enigma) or The Airless Silence (June ´87) – is more likely to implant the embryo of an idea with guitar or piano, handled delicately but filled out, burnished, enhanced with unlikely electronics like cell phones and cameras. Dust motes the air and ribbons of tape flop round their loops. Moods, unfiltered, are expressed serenely but not without passion and afterthought, like ´Gone Before the Turning Leaves´, or geminate until they break free and open up an endless ambient tunnel, as on the album´s centrepiece, ´Easy to be Cold´.
Spend some time with your feet up in the musty workshop of David Newlyn.