Wistful melodies meet longform drone
Goodparley is the alias of Cardiff multi-instrumentalist and electronic sound artist Oli Richards, who named his project after a character in his favourite novel, ‘Riddley Walker’ by Russell Hoban. If you’re also picking up pirate vibes from the name (arrr!), that’s because Richards intended Goodparley to be a vehicle for collaboration and creative discourse, both musically and visually.
He’s hard to miss, releasing three excellent solo albums in 2020 – two for the eclectic Welsh imprint Recordiau Prin (‘Green Blue’ and ‘Delay Cycle: Becoming’) and another for the ever-dependable Wormhole World (‘Sedative Songs’). Each displays Richards’ technique of using improvised guitar passages, loops, drones and reverb to create textural music that exists somewhere between turbulent and soporific. One gets the impression that he could bust out a blistering face-melter of a solo if required, but a more contemplative, meditative style wins out on his first three albums.
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The first of several planned releases in 2021, Goodparley’s new album, ‘Canvas’, finds Richards working his inner Django Reinhardt with clusters of exploratory, Latin-inflected guitar passages and matching those with intricately-structured drones and tones. He describes it as containing moments of “wistfulness, nostalgia and wonder”, while consciously operating with a more complete palette of sonic colours. The album features five longform pieces and is the first to see him collaborating with another artist, using samples of Il Bradipo’s own acoustic guitar, which he then manipulated and responded to. On ‘Canvas III’ you’ll hear reverb-soaked blues that shimmer like a psychedelic sunrise, while ‘Canvas II’ feels like you’re listening to a discarded demo tape found outside a studio that has gone out of business. A very good parley indeed.
‘Canvas’ is out now on Submarine Broadcasting Company