Julia Reidy – Beholder (A Guide to Saints)


Julia Reidy is Sydney born guitarist now based in Berlin. She’s worked with the likes of Jon Rose and Anthony Pateras and plays in Tennis of All Kinds (with bassist Adam Pultz Melbye) and PALES (with percussionist Samuel Hall). She’s released a number of solo recordings, most featuring her 12 string acoustic guitar on the likes of Feeding Tube, Slip, and Opalmine.

It’s difficult to place the music of Reidy. Sonically it can feel like a mass of contradictions, where synthetic sounds, field recordings and finger picking guitar coalesce in some kind of improvised experimental Americana. Elsewhere it’s a deconstructed electric rock guitar solo soaring above a gentle cacophony of electroacoustic tones that slowly threatens to envelop it. Strangely enough it’s quite beautiful, though it’s impossible not to wonder what kind of world can make all of this possible. And this is perhaps the key to Beholder. It suggests so much, the reverberant acoustic strings harking back to pastoral folkisms, your John Fahey’s or Robbie Basho’s, yet it eschews easy melodies, often remaining resolutely unmusical (or fixed at the start of a musical sentence), yet somehow finding some kind of textural rhythmic coherence, like she’s playing a long game that we don’t quite understand yet.

Many of her pieces are quite long, and there is hypnotism at play. There’s something almost ritualistic about her approach – she’s definitely conjuring something. It feels less focussed on technique or process and more on what it invokes in the listener. It’s uncompromising, structurally dense though frequently rewarding, as notes tumble outwards, endlessly cascading in broad swells that hang in the air and fill the musical space.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.