We know this because the leaves in Indiana are turning many shades of awesome, and because there’s a new Richard Youngs album in the hopper, readymade to soundtrack your late mulled cider nights. The album is called “Autumn Response” (release 11/06/07), and it is a spartan folk-“pop” record filled with tinder-box intimacies. It is a singer-songwriter album, as Youngs’ fingers slip over the steel strings with little feet and whispery toes, his gently prophetic songs evoke Roger Waters and the folk phase play is sure to appeal to fans of Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs. The album is composed of some of the shortest songs ever recorded by Youngs. Bringing it back to Youngs basics, the simplest form of trickery comes from his restrained use of the acoustic guitar.
Twenty-six seconds into “I Need the Light”, the first track off the album, the listener is confronted with the pivotal element of the record, the drawing line between the hardcore Youngs purists and fairweather fans: the track, like others on the record, features Youngs’ double-tracked voice splitting in two – as one overlaid performance veers away from the other. While we’re not always sure of the “King of the Progressive Minimalists” tag – which is often used beside his name – this gesture warrants such a title as the confident inclusion of such an effect grants it legitimacy. Youngs’ voices slipping away from one another is on par with other intense representations of singularity such as Donald Judd and Malevich’s Suprematist Composition: White on White. Here pop is a gesture, a stance, a pose.
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