Thudwail – Ignition (2020) (*****)

What’s to like?

Tapping into same acoustic ambience of Roy Harper and John Martyn, this short collection of instrumental music created on steel-strung guitars arrives just in time to arm up even the coldest of rooms.

The low down

When the group Thudwail invited me to try out their forthcoming album Ignition, I wondered if I was heading into heavier territory again, but as it turns out nothing could be further from the truth. Thudwail actually play acoustic ambient guitar music, and a quick sample of a track on their Facebook page was all it took to win me over.

Ignition is the group’s second album, and has been crafted by duo Paul Cruikshank-Inns and Will Pike with steel-strung acoustic guitars and e-bow effects. On this album they’re also joined by Martin Finlayson who brings added shade and colour with a five-string fretted bass. Oh, and they also find space to include an improvised digeridoo, courtesy of Danny Tongeman.

With eight instrumental tracks running to a trim 38 minutes, this is a lovely little album that lights up your surroundings, even on the most dreich of days. As I write this, the skies outside are grey and wet, and yet this album brings warmth and comfort. The sound mix is excellent, with the guitars ringing out into the distance, and lots of space to appreciate every note and chord.

The track Frequency really touched me, with its gentle ambience and unhurried melody, and for those several minutes I felt all too aware of everything, and how much of that we’ve lost this year. I’m sure that wasn’t the intent of the writers, but music has a way of unlocking those emotions we keep tucked away.

In a way this track reminded me of Roy Harper’s lament for Miles Davis in his extended acoustic piece Miles Remains. If you listen to this and enjoy the opening four minutes, then you’ll certainly enjoy Thudwail, and this album.

Similarly, the track Hollow will appeal to fans of John Martyn, and in particular his track Small Hours (from One World). You can hear Hollow on the band’s Facebook page.

And the closing track Digiwobble has a nice organic feel to it, with the digeridoo bringing a deeper bass sound, almost otherworldly as it echoes around the mix, with the e-bow bringing a spacey vibe, while the guitar notes are plucked lightly over it. I’d love to hear the group experiment further with this sound.

Ignition is due for release in early November, as a download through sites such as CDBaby, and if this preview has whetted your appetite, I’d suggest keeping tabs on the group’s Facebook page for updates on how to buy the album.

Here’s a sample of the album:

Highly recommended.

One response to “Thudwail – Ignition (2020) (*****)

  1. Pingback: A to Z links to reviews | Moments in Transition·

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