One only has to glance at Matt Sewell’s collection of illustrations, canvasses and wall art to know that this is an artist with a penchant for the most vibrant and colourful of designs. It’s indicative of his music choices as well, since Sewell has been lucky enough to have the chance to make his very own music compilation (as well as design his own gatefold vinyl sleeve) for Caroline True Records. What a kaleidoscopic listening pleasure ‘A Crushing Glow’ is too.
Parsley Sound’s ‘Twilight Mushrooms’ is a perfectly pastoral way to to begin. Full of dream-like harmonies, sunny guitars and an even sunnier outlook, the late 1960’s psych-pop vibe serves as an introduction to both a largely unknown band and the “voyage of musical discovery” which is promised. The atmospheric quality continues thanks to Luke Howard’s wonderfully fragrant ‘Portrait Gallery’ and The Durutti Column’s ‘Otis’; one of the sweetest and most moving tracks from Vini Reilly’s prolific and brilliant career.
In a strong middle section, Ashra’s ‘Slightly Delayed’ imagines a progressive version of Kraftwerk’s ‘Neon Lights’ whilst the superb Lobt Noch Irrt contribution, ‘Heizgas Meter’, begins with extravagant keyboards and thick beats but ends with evocative passages of nocturnal longing. Although an admirable level of attention has clearly been invested to ensure there’s a seamless flow from beginning to end, the music loses its urgency somewhat on the predominantly Eastern-flavoured final section but even here the meditative quality of the contributions from Popol Vuh and Saddhu Brand almost guarantees some very sage nodding of the head.
‘A Crushing Glow’ is a vibrant, expertly-selected compilation which does much to reflect Sewell’s cosmopolitan and spiritual tastes. There’s creativity aplenty and – at the very least – curious listeners will be frantically Googling for more information after hearing some of these largely obscure acts for the first time.