Think of Richard Youngs as the English/Scottish version of Jim O’Rourke in terms of experimentation and prolific nature. This is Youngs’ umpteenth album and it’s being released on MIE. This record is by no means trying to be accessible and this is not for the novice palette. Regions of the Old School‘s opening fifteen minute long track “Insomniac Takeover” shows Youngs (almost) endlessly bleating the phrase “another sleepless night!” I can’t imagine having to yell that phrase over and over again live, but maybe he’ll just scream it out once then loop it over and over. Struggling synthesizers thud, guitars screech and bells chime rapaciously to accompany this hellish bleating. “Another Zonal Air” calms down a bit in tempo (not in noise level), but Richard Youngs still makes you work to appreciate what he’s given you. The rest of this album offers absolutely no hand-outs, so be attentive to analyze his waves of noise. Check out the Soundcloud stream of Regions of the Old School below and see what you think of it. Cheers!

The Details

Ltd. to 500 copies, Gatefold Cover
After the mind-erasing and shamanic Amaranthine released in January 2012, MIE is working with Richard again on a true magnum opus of the Youngsian experimental catalogue. Regions of the Old School is an epic and proudly sprawling collection of instrumentals and songs. In a conceptual nod to the long out of print Festival, released in 1994 by Table of the Elements, it features five extended tracks scored for a diverse array of instruments with guest vocals by Madeleine Hynes and additional synthesiser by Neil Campbell.
Regions of the Old School plunges you into the deep with the incredibly claustrophobic and tense ‘Insomniac Takeover’. Youngs declaims three words over and over while gongs and hand drums skitter over synths and long arcs of guitar feedback. The intense opener is a merciless ode to its namesake. The following track’s opening chimes and undulating synths are sublime in their contrast to their predecessor, instead forming a gorgeous tune on a Moog Source with deep and sustained bass throughout. ‘Celeste’ sees Madeleine Hynes on manipulated vocals alongside high-end frequencies contrasted with subdued percussion and gongs. This beautiful little paen brings the record to its epic focal point, ‘The Thoughtlife’. The track slowly reveals a mesmerising piece with incredible juxtaposition of styles. Gongs, shakuhachi flute and Neil Campbell’s synthesizer weave in and out in perfect symbiosis and the arrival of a long drawn out and stuttering sub-bass kick solidifies the zen like quality of the track. ‘My Love Holds the Galaxy In Her Heart’ is a perfect end to this incredible record, a tender and sweet song over metronomic percussion and glockenspiel at the other side of the musical spectrum to the first track. This sprawling yet flowing piece comes to a climax as Youngs’ vocal give out suddenly to an extended caustic feedback-riddled guitar solo before falling silent.

Price $25.55

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