Boomkat Product Review:
Cult manc guitarist David Horridge recorded this set of inclement bedroom demos in 1982 after releasing the ace 'Light Patterns' with Kevin McCormick, bridging the gap between Durutti Column, West Coast new age adepts like Ernest Hood and Joanna Brouk and kosmische explorers Popol Vuh and Manuel Göttsching. Gorgeous, timeless material.
When the Smiling C label reissued 'Light Patterns' in 2021 it was sorely overdue. The original long-out-of-press record had been passed around for crazy sums, and still stands as an impressive document of the era, fusing labyrinthine folk fingerpicking with the sublime minimalism of Terry Riley. Horridge all but disappeared in the following years, but 'Journey Within' collects a slew of demos the Manchester guitarist recorded in his home studio just after the glow of 'Light Patterns' had dimmed. There are five tracks here, each one captures the damp melancholia of the era - the kind of windy, electrified echoes usually associated with Factory legends Durutti Column. Recording to tape, Horridge layers ebow drones and glittering kosmische arpeggios, punctuating his sounds with occasional bass plucks that cut thru the celestial tones. 'At First Sight' sounds almost like an early Cocteau Twins jam in fact, its dreamy bass and guitar strut harmonizing with Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde's divine duel.
Horridge simultaneously taps into the private press new age energy that was swelling across the pond on the US West Coast. Whether this was intentional isn't completely clear; 'Light Patterns' was inspired by Alice Coltrane, John Martyn and Terry Riley, but we've got little to go on after that. Using almost all guitar and bass, Horridge avoids obvious aesthetic similarities, but the mood isn't too far from material from artists like Joanna Brouk and even Harold Budd. There's a similar meditative quality to tracks like 'A Pale Smile' and 'Journey Within' that propels Horridge's sound to the outer edges. This is only enhanced on the final track 'One Note Bossa', where the guitarist uses a saturated drum machine loop to fill out his hazy improvisations, a little nugget of eccentricity to close out the collection.