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Nothing Important

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Album Review

If British freak folk discovery Richard Dawson seemed rather inscrutable on his debut album, 2012's The Magic Bridge, he's delivered a far bigger head-scratcher with his second full-length release, 2014's Nothing Important. While The Magic Bridge offered 12 pieces of varying length that found Dawson spinning tales that were sometimes charming and sometimes puzzling while he skittered about on his amplified acoustic guitar, Nothing Important sounds less composed and more improvised as Dawson reaches deeper into the well of noise and extends his focus with two numbers that run over 16 minutes, accompanied by two other pieces that seem relatively economical at 6:40 and 4:48. The shorter pieces are instrumental, while Dawson's vocals on the extended songs are often mixed low enough that they're a bit hard to make out, which isn't helped much by the often cryptic themes that emerge when you can follow him. But when the pieces all fit together midway through "The Vile Stuff," the most formally structured piece on the album, the effect is genuinely impressive as Dawson's dour, fractured guitar lines and the hard stomp of the percussion rise into something honestly majestic. The real meat of Nothing Important, of course, is in Dawson's guitar work, and even when he seems to be noodling, the sharp report of his instrument and his use of feedback takes him into a place your average eccentric folkie would never go — there are moments here when he seems like a sunnier and very British version of Jandek, but Nothing Important suggests he's developing a guitar style that's less chops-intensive but every bit as compelling as Nels Cline or Marc Ribot, and the fact that one man with a guitar and some occasional overdubs can make something this powerful and challenging is truly impressive. It says a lot about Richard Dawson that's he's made two albums with very different personalities that still clearly come from the same musical mind, and Nothing Important's best moments clearly belie its title.

Customer Reviews

Best album of the last 30 years

An absolute masterpiece.

Biography

Genre: Law

Based out of the industrial Tyneside region of northern England, esoteric singer/songwriter Richard Dawson's shambolic, guitar-driven folk music has drawn comparisons to other singular artists like Jandek, Mike Waterson, John Martyn, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Adem, Skip Spence, and King Creosote. Specializing in a heady blend of traditional English folk music, Sacred Harp-kissed North country blues, and jazzy psych-folk, Dawson issued his first recording, Richard Dawson Sings Songs and Plays Guitar,...
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Nothing Important, Richard Dawson
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