Back in 1994, UK band A Small Good Thing produced what is now considered a minor classic in ambient genre – “Slim Westerns” LP. With their updated take on spaghetti western music, the band captured the desert/desolation mood quite well on that record.
While not as texturally rich as “Westerns”, “A Great Southern City” by North Carolina musician Andrew Weathers explores some of the same ideas that were heard on ASGT’s record. The imagery that “City” evokes is that of back porches and afternoons spent hiding from an unbearably hot sun.
“Anchor” opens up with lazy guitar strumming and a hint of a melody that doesn’t materialize. “Dusty Summer Ghost” is a lovely minimal ambient piece, while “First Front Porch Brooklyn” is an electronic/ambient crossover.
“Skin Holding Atoms In” is another slow (if not to say sluggish) minimal piece with long silences and lots of echo and occasional guitar sounds, almost like a pause in conversation. Towards the end of the track, guitar becomes more prominent in the mix.
“Object (Dialectics” is three minutes of glorious ambience, while “Right Now & Now & Now” is even quieter in its approach (clocking at 7 minutes, its a bit too long for its own sake). Appropriately titled “Song” opens up with wailing/wordless singing, a little bit of which can also be heard in the ending of the first track.
“Left Arm Sunburn” employs electronics and what sounds like heavily treated sounds of saxophone and its a swirling abstract piece, which is also quite soothing (albeit, its also a bit too long at 9+ minutes). Closer “Sails” is a pretty instrumental piece – – it combines guitar, violin and choir singing. “Sails” is also the closest that Andrew and his backing band got to traditional song on the whole record.
Overall, “City” is quite contradictory – on one hand, there are some tracks on that album that get dangerously close to putting listener to sleep and could use some editing. On the other, there’s also some great pieces in there, lots of textures and beautiful sounds. Even with some of the flaws, its still a good listen and anyone who’s into ambient/drone/minimal genres is well recommended to check it out.
Note – You can listen to an album in its entirety here.
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