[sic] Magazine

AMOR – Higher Moment / Amnesia

Known oddball Richard Youngs is many things, but consistent isn’t one of them. AMOR is his latest project and the free-house ensemble’s loose approach to jamming couldn’t have been more surprising when he let fly the sprawling and brilliant Paradise / In Love An Arc 12” earlier this year. Now that the cat’s out of the bag though, the power to surprise lost, where does he go from here?

Recorded at the same time and the product of hours of improvised playing, Higher Moment / Amnesia is the follow-up to Paradise / In Love An Arc and it’s another lengthy 12” where both tracks clock in at over 10 minutes. Accordingly Youngs – again on creaky vocal – is once more joined in leading the production into unusual places by the chirpy electronics of Luke Fowler (an award winning film-maker and visual artist), by drummer and percussionist Paul Thomson of Franz Ferdinand/The Yummy Fur, as well as by Norwegian Avant-composer Michael Francis Duch and his liquid double-bass grooves. A few new tricks at the group’s disposal, which will understandably take some time to bed in, the result is perhaps a touch less killer than the debut, but still quite something throughout.

Seemingly a piano-line throwback, the pure euphoria of “Higher Moment” comes tempered by its slo-mo tempo and a tendency to deconstruct digital electronica in order that it may be painstakingly rebuilt with analogue equipment, the straightforward 4/4 of “Paradise” done away with too in favour a more psychedelically influenced bass rhythm. Before spinning off its own axis and unravelling into a challenging mess, Young struggles with the high notes, but his hedonistic drawl remains magnetic, evoking afresh thoughts of David Byrne’s uneasy relationship with electro circa X-Press 2’s classic “Lazy” .

Another bout of disco-not-disco on which the 4/4 kick returns, “Amnesia” layers Youngs’ soaring vocal around a deliciously funky double-bass groove, damaged drumming upping the ante and driving momentum. Backed by the rhythm, it’s a track that expands and contracts, twists in instrumentation breaking down walls to allow the flow to access off-limits melodies and pool around deep wells of melancholy. A chilly outro sends cowbell into conflict with kosmiche and in an instant it’s a whole new type of revelation. Cut dance-floor friendly 4 minutes out of these lengthy edits and transport them back to the 80s and this, like its predecessor, would now be a 12” in crazy demand over at Discogs.

~The Higher Moment / Amnesia 12” is released October 27th 2017 via Night School.~