Earlier this year, those lovely people over at Evenings & Weekends, the label run by Dublin’s Loud Mouth Collective, decided give us all a gift, Your Guitar. This 12-track compilation was gifted to the world just before lockdown began and was a perfect companion piece to those long, lonely days. The label, which chiefly trades in downtempo and electronic music, found the opportune moment to deliver their latest broadcast right as we divorced ourselves from the outside world. The brooding, yet warm-hearted, sounds granted us space and much-needed solace in that period isolation, and we suspect it will continue to do so for some time to come.
The various artists involved, including the likes of Mangetout, Conall Kelleher, and Erwin Morzadex bounce off each other to a powerful effect. They’re each distinct in their own right, yet they all fit together to make a single beautiful picture. Let’s compare the album opener ‘Trials’ by Jules and the closer ‘Car Parks at Night’ by Conall Kelleher. It’s a fingerpicked solo guitar piece based around a single but well-defined motif. This country-influenced hook loops for a minute or so, ushering the listener into a welcoming, open space. The latter is a drastically different beast, a sonically formless slice of synth. Unlike the former, there’s no clear pattern or theme on which to latch. Instead, it’s a single tone stretched out into infinity, allowing the listener to throw any thoughts or feelings they have into its chasmic space. It is a delicate and neat soundtrack those sorts of evenings when all you need is space to be.
One could pluck out any track out of this compilation for consideration without changing the overall message. They all possess the same freeform atmosphere; a kind of looseness that comes from playing for the hell of it and seeing what your fingers can produce. It’s unfussy and unceremonious, while still being intricate and carefully crafted. The tracks don’t sound like half-formed nuggets plopped out without thought or care. Instead, they sound like a collection of artists working independently to create something unified and simply lovely. Evenings & Weekends and their roster of artists are some of the country’s best-kept secrets and a compilation like Your Guitar is a demonstration of this fact. Will Murphy