Review of Gareth Dickson’s collected at

Posted by on Feb 14, 2011 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Stephen Fruitman review Collected Recordings over at

An armful of songs and a handful of instrumentals recorded at home. Glaswegian Gareth Dickson has spent the last few years touring as Vashti Bunyan´s guitarist, has contributed to works by Juana Molina and Max Richter, and is slowly but surely gaining a reputation as an artist of consequence, talent and intergrity.

This is his debut commercial release. He´s not much of a vocalist and wisely whispers his lyrics while letting his idiosyncratic work on the steel strings of his acoustic guitar come to the fore, tastefully applying a little delay or reverb, even a little distortion on the closing track, ”Like a Clock”. The sparse atmosphere allows for full enjoyment of a refined finger-picking technique, and his melodic sensibility, ranging from outright ambient on the mood-setting opener ”Fifth (The Impossibility of Death”) to the airy, free flow of ideas on “Trip in a Blanik”, defies lazy categorization as another in the line of great British folk guitarists, though there is a folk soul at the heart of this music.

His understated vocal delivery makes it almost impossible to discern the content of his lyrics, and a lyrics sheet would be nice, because I am certain he is saying something worth hearing – some slight despair tempered with cautious optimism. Not for nothing that the first words he utters are, ”Listen up close…” A few moments later, he shrugs, ”If I get in your way, just let it be.” Thus rather than getting hung up on the content of each song, embrace the spirit. With very small means (in his liner notes, he thanks the people who have given him the material to make this), he conjures up a warm and intimate, relaxed and yet sincere, even severe, atmosphere.

– Stephen Fruitman

original of review