Published Jun 01, 2018Solo guitarists proliferate like chain coffee shops but finding a solo guitarist with a unique voice and consistent quality output is rare. British guitarist Andy Cartwright, who records as Seabuckthorn, is one of those scant players who proffer a bountiful array of rich sonorities along with the cinematic song structures for the sounds to be captured. His music is steeped in emotion: loneliness, hope, despair and joy all swirl amidst his six- and twelve-stringed melodies.
A House With Too Much Fire finds Cartwright supplementing his plucking, strumming, bowing and sliding with banjo, clarinet and synthesizers. These additions serve to ratchet up the evocative nature of Cartwright's songs, evinced straightaway in the eponymous lead track. The thick, textural nature of the piece allows it to waft in and out of focus, the many layers forming a moving picture in the mind's eye of the listener.
Balancing out the drone-like pieces are more structured songs such as "It Was Aglow," which features a repetitive banjo framework embellished by sprightly guitar filigree. The final track "Sent In by the Cold" embodies both approaches, blending tiers of bowed guitar with a subtle percussive pulse.
Cartwright plays with genre in such a way that he's almost thrown away the concept. Elements of experimental drone and outsider folk are sprinkled throughout this LP, but the music itself is Cartwright's own. It's not a blend, it's not pastiche, it's something startlingly new altogether. (Bookmaker)