Gilly’s Wood by Dau

Release date: January 12, 2024
Label: Phatom Limb

Musicians operating within the loose ambient and post-roc forms seem to love operating under monikers.

UK musician Phil Self fall within that category, as he has adopted the moniker Dau, under which he has just released his new album titled Gilly’s Wood.

To those UK residents familiar with the South Kent area, this title is probably familiar, as it is given in that area’s memorial woods of the same name.

Yet, there is another specific element here this time directly connected to the music – the album was recorded entirely with a reed organ and improvisations recorded in the hawthorn wood that lends its name to the album, two weeks after the 2021 edition of Smugglers Festival, which occurs at the same site.

The danger with such specific, strictly focused projects is that, if the artist or artists involved don’t have enough imagination and fresh ideas to present, the music can turn out to be monotonous even dire.

Still, Self had not only enough imagination but also obvious, extensive knowledge of modern classical music composed by the likes of Terry Riley and Steve Reich for example, so that he was able to use repetitive patterns to his benefit and come up with real musical substance with the six compositions included here.

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