Sunday, January 23, 2022

Upward Arrows - Upward Arrows (2010)

The first album from this project of Melbourne-based artist John McCaffrey, who has also released music as Part Timer and Scissors & Sellotape. There are subtle differences between each of these projects -- Scissors & Sellotape is more abstract and piano-based, Part Timer (his 'main gig') is earthier and more rhythmic, and Upwards Arrows flirts with the sounds of contemporary classical -- but they're all cut of the same cloth. To be a bit reductive, McCaffrey's music generally involves a combination of acoustic/organic instrumentation and glitchy textures, and the end results are uniformly beautiful, damaged, and downcast.

For Upwards Arrows, he joined forces with a string quartet and fellow experimental musician William Ryan Fritch (aka Vieo Abiungo). Most of the record is spent in an amorphous cloud of bright, shimmering drone, made up of strings, wordless vocals, and grainy white noise. Certain moments recall the most atmospheric outer-reaches of neofolk; elsewhere, the harsher elements fully take over. Overall, it's probably my favorite record he's made.

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