Friday, October 14, 2011


I first spotted this record through the throng at Green Man Festival as Y Niwl finished their set at the Green Man Pub. Initially asking the man holding such a fine looking piece of vinyl where he’d bought it, I discovered he was Mr Recordiau Lliwgar label head himself (rudely I forgot to ask his name) and that he was selling it. Upon seeing the bands on the vinyl compilation, not buying a copy off him was never an option.

“Y Record Goch” is a simple concept beautifully executed: four Welsh bands contribute two tracks each to a 10” double vinyl release. As an physical item alone this is worth owning: the classically minimalist geometric design of the cover that first attracted my attention contrasts with the abstract slash of blurry electric blues inside of the gatefold sleeve, a commissioned piece of artwork by Elfyn Lewis. The whole package oozes classiness and a loving attention to detail.

And then there’s the music: what a great and diverse showcase for contemporary Welsh language music. Y Bwgan (the band unknown to me) offer slowly unfurling post-rock mysticism and sampled (film?) dialogue in ‘Niwl Y Nefoedd’ and chill-wave synth-pop beats and wordless incantations in the equally atmospheric ‘Dali Lawr’. The crunchy, slacker psyche-pop of Sen Segur leans to that moment in late period Brit-pop when it became in swoon to Atlantic cousins like Pavement for the excellent ‘Bloedd 33’(an infectious shouted ‘Oi!’ in lieu of a chorus) and then triumphantly slouches into wonky-pop mode for ‘Temig O Delynor Fflur’.

Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog charge through the reeling hoedown rowdiness of ‘Mae Hi Yn Hoff O Nodio’ before settling into a more sedate, reflective pace for the banjo-and-heartbreak of ‘Cân Y Capten Llongau’. And Dau Cefn deliver mechanical robot-pop geezer rap and synth squiggles for ‘Bish Bash Bosh’ (rhymed with ‘Captain Pugwash’) and a more maudlin slice of spoken word blues for ‘Sbaen’. From dream-pop to DIY beats over four sides of vinyl and 32 minutes – an impressive span.

“Y Record Goch” (‘The Red Record’) is the first in a planned sequence from the label which of course translates as ‘Colourful Records’. You can buy this release digitally but for an extra fiver you get the physical release as well as the digital download – no brainer AND you can add yourself to the Facebook photo library of people holding their purchase. I’ve never overcome my suspicion of part magazine collections (“builds into a handsome collection over 48 issues”) as expensive and unnecessary. On the basis of the first edition from Recordiau Lliwgar, I can’t wait to collect the entire set.

Y Record Goch [BUY]

No comments: