129

James O’Sullivan: Feed Back Couple

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Guitarist James O'Sullivan is a longstanding member of Eddie Prevost's Workshop, one of the main driving forces of improvised music in London. The Workshop has been running every Friday evening since November 1999, with O'Sullivan attending since 2004. Although O'Sullivan has appeared on disc before—notably on Winterlands (Forwind, 2011), by the innovative songs-plus-improv quartet Clang Sayne—Feed Back Couple is his first solo album. Its six tracks were performed, recorded and produced by O'Sullivan between April and June 2010.

O'Sullivan plays amplified electric guitar, preferring to lay it flat on its back on his lap and employ a wide range of extended techniques to generate sounds from it; these include using metal slides on the strings, striking the pick-up with a rubber-headed stick and exciting the body of the guitar with the same implement. Although O'Sullivan undoubtedly plays in a post-Keith Rowe manner, to date no signs of attached springs or handheld fans have been seen. He uses no added "effects," but amplification is key to the music, making the smallest of gestures clearly audible.

For a solo player, O'Sullivan manages to produce rich and varied music in a continuous stream without any flat patches or lapses. He is adept at generating several complementary sounds simultaneously, often creating the impression that there is more than one player at work. By using a volume pedal he also adjusts his instrument's volume whilst playing, creating peaks and troughs to add drama and emphasis.

O'Sullivan does not chop and change between sounds, but allows himself and the listener sufficient time to explore and appreciate the possibilities of an avenue before moving on. While there is considerable variation and contrast between the six tracks, they cohere into an album that has a pleasing feeling of unity, one that handsomely repays the time invested in listening to it.

Track Listing: Stem; Feed Back Couple; Desire Paths; Instant Wait; Hiddens; Fine Line.

Personnel: James O'Sullivan: guitar.

Title: Feed Back Couple | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Forwind


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Pletter På Solen" CD/LP/Track Review Pletter På Solen
by Nick Davies
Published: June 30, 2017
Read "The Long Slog" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Slog
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "Threes" CD/LP/Track Review Threes
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 14, 2017
Read "Aspiration" CD/LP/Track Review Aspiration
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "Astoria Roots Live" CD/LP/Track Review Astoria Roots Live
by James Nadal
Published: May 17, 2017
Read "Live in Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Concert
by David Becker
Published: January 30, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.