For their second CD for the 12k label, Seaworthy worked from field recordings made by the group's Cameron Webb in an Australian decommissioned ammunitions bunker built in -- you might have guessed -- 1897. Webb performed and recorded inside the bunkers and in the lush surrounding nature. Sam Shinazzi and Greg Bird added their contributions afterward. You might expect austerity, a large, empty, echoing sonic space, or even a subtle reflection on war and armament, but 1897 is none of that. The music is elegant and quiet, with an air of dignity and hope. Guitars (lightly strummed, looped, stretching e-bow notes, or prepared) form the core of the music, along with digital treatments. 1897 features 12 tracks, most in the three- to six-minute range, with a couple of short interludes and one ten-minute piece. We are somewhere between the free-form blues-folk soliloquies of Loren Connors and the esthetic purity of Oren Ambarchi circa Suspension -- an antagonistic pair of references at first sight, but they blend well and create an interesting stylistic scope. This album's only flaw may be its lack of surprises: it gets so unintrusive, delicate, and sweet that it may very well fail to make an impression. However, it makes a fine late-night listen.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture