GARETH HARDWICK: Of The Sea And Shore (Low Point)


Posted on Sep 2nd 2010 12:03 am

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Gareth Hardwick: Of The Sea And Shore

Of The Sea And Shore
Low Point 2010
02 Tracks. 36mins46secs

“Solo ambient/drone guitar pieces, played and recorded by someone you’ve never heard of.” This succinct introduction lifted from Gareth Hardwick’s myspace page tells a lot and not much at once. The founder and head of Low Point, a small imprint based in Nottingham, England which has been distilling some mighty fine electro-acoustic ambient music for almost half a decade now, Hardwick is before all an accomplished musician who, as a solo artist, has been releasing music since 2006, including a handful of split releases with Machinefabriek, Matt Rösner or Taiga Remains.

Of The Sea And Shore, Hardwick’s third full length, is split into two tracks, each lasting just under twenty minutes. Each track is itself split into sections of various lengths and shapes, some spanning quite a substantial portion of the track, others acting as short sonic interludes. Recorded using guitars, harmonium, cymbals, chimes, dictaphone and radio, which Hardwick processes to great extent until they become simple components in his vast textural tapestries. The two pieces are fairly minimal in aspect, made up of drone-like forms which can appear at times fairly static, but the succession of sequences within each piece prevents these to expand for long, allowing instead for subtle changes in hue and texture without excessively affecting the general tone of the record. It is quite a clever feat achieved by Hardwick here actually. Far from being locked in with a particular set of sounds for the length of a composition, he can bring in a continuous flow of new components, or approach them from a variety of angles, clearly differentiating them without causing any break in the mood.

The use of additional instruments, at times tightly layered with processed guitars, at others placed in contrasting positions or so far into the mix that they become mere traces, open up Hardwick’s soundscapes and add a wealth of textures and hues to his sound without affecting its core aspect. Of The Sea And Shore Pt. 1 is perhaps the most ethereal of the two pieces. Composed of one main sequence, stretching for the majority of the track, with two much shorter appendixes toward the end, there is here a very clearly determined progression as the guitar comes in and out of focus, at times sounding close to some of Seefeel’s most atmospheric moments, at others brought into much more concrete reality. Pt. 2 on the other hand ebbs and flows much more freely throughout, as if caught in a gentle swell, with no predetermined end goal to reach. Here again, the guitar takes on a variety of facets according to the quality and intensity of the treatment applied, and there seem to be an even greater diversity of soundscapes here, as if, after the sustained deployment of the first part, Hardwick had found himself in need of a much more eclectic and rich palette to perform from.

Of The Sea And Shore is quite an impressive piece of work which may appear at first rather static but which reveals itself to be much more complex and layered over time. The way Gareth Hardwick arranges these compositions, and the various components within each of them while making it all sound very simple and straightforward denotes great maturity and vision. Not to be missed.


Gareth Hardwick (MySpace) | Low Point

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