Alastair Galbraith

Seeley Girn

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AllMusic Review by

This collection from the New Zealand experimental singer/songwriter comes from the independent underground, and houses some of his more off-the-cuff recordings. While his album Morse is a veritable masterpiece of Syd Barrett-tinged songs, that album is the essential of his varied recordings. This U.S.-issued CD contains all of his inimitable charm and deliberate low-tech sonic invention, though it lacks the cohesion of later material. Scarcely songs, these are trace vignettes of the sublime motifs he later explored. Highly respected in the kiwi pop cannon and avant-garde circles alike, Alistair Galbraith quietly coaxes inspired songs regardless of his instrumental limitations. Viola, guitar, and organ come into the fold, yet instrumentation seems secondary to intent, as the real fabric of these songs is emotional. A deeply personal music, the influence of Kevin Ayers, Syd Barrett, and Robert Wyatt seem relevant, mainly because his vision is as unique and uninhibited as his elders. His musical kinship is with Richard Youngs, the Mountain Goats, and Chris Knox, artists who, like Alistair Galbraith, give listeners a similar kind of glimpse into a private musical world with every album.