The Last Seaweed Collecting Hut at Freshwater West

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The Last Seaweed Collecting Hut at Freshwater West was the first full-length release from Dafydd Morgan, aka Stylus. It deserved the critical acclaim it gathered (mostly in England). The album sits at the crossroads of the Boxhead Ensemble and Stars of the Lid's post-rock, the occasional analog synth excursions of Jim O'Rourke, and the field recording textures of experimental electronica artists like Hazard and Biosphere. The album can be envisioned in two parts. First is a selection of tracks that range from slow, stripped-down post-rock tunes to strange synth experiments. Christine Vidoudez guests on two cuts, adding French narration. "Hop" is a collage of vocal soundbites, a charming aggregate of "hops" and giggles. In "Glass Dream Two" (a follow-up to "Glass Dream One," released on the compilation Infrasonic Waves, Vol. 1 and now reissued as part of Archif: 01, if anyone wonders), her voice has so much echo that one can hardly make out the words. A light melody and an insistent synth background play hide and seek with it for over six minutes -- interesting but ear-wearing. The last 20 minutes of the CD are devoted to the title piece. Its subject is a century-old ten- by six-foot hut above the beach at Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire (England). The last of a series of similar huts built by local families to collect and dry seaweed, it offered Morgan a handful of interesting field recordings. The music presents the hut at various periods of the day and year. The result, a blend of wind, drones, and light synth sweeps, strongly recalls Hazard's CD Wind minus the glitch electronica, something Stylus never resorts to.

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