A Thin Veneer

BY Eric HillPublished Feb 7, 2020

Nick Dawson and Stuart Bowditch run Courier Records in Suffolk, UK. They are also Furrows, and A Thin Veneer is the collected result of their improvisations between August 2017 and December 2018. There is a care and liveliness in how they approach everything, from their musical choices to the handmade assemblages of cassettes and CDs they release.
The duo generate a fair amount of energy through a shifting array of clicks and tones, unleashed from an impressive arsenal of electronics and synthesizers, but nothing is wasted. Each part fills in a larger, ever-redefined image they are creating. The results approach the boundaries of minimal dance, lowercase sound, abstract improvisation and pure ambient tonalities from deep resonant spaces. Standouts like "Untethered" have a persistent unease recalling early '00s "clicks and cuts" electronics, while "Once Planted Never Moved," with its quiet electric squelches, isolation tank echoes and mid-tone lighthouse siren feels appropriately still and desolate.
The pieces vary from each other and within themselves, yet feel interconnected across a larger narrative. Their musical repetitions only strengthen and cohere individual elements, never outstaying or overplaying ideas, establishing what is interesting until satisfied, then moving on. It is music for the engaged brain that also pulses through the nervous system and blooms in the body cavities.

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