Alun Gaffey : Alun Gaffey2016 : Sbrigyn Ymborth
Alun Gaffey has been busy since Race Horses, but this is his first solo CD. More than anything this is resolutely his album, with a list of credits to his name that contains voice, guitars, bass, synths, piano, drums, percussion, claps, samples and an all-inclusive 'etc.'.
Recorded at Tŷ Drwg, Grangetown, with engineer Frank Naughton, it is imbued with the sense of creativity and adventure you get when someone has full control of realising their own ideas. In totality it could be described as psychedelic / funk rock; look hard enough and the smorgasbord of influences has buried in it traces of Prince and Frank Zappa, a tint of the Orb, as well as skilfully used samples, and rougher edged indie guitar; all put together throughout with a compelling musical inventiveness. It is not always immediate, it takes a few listens in places to catch the mood, but it is more than worth the investment.
Much of it does work straight off - the clever indie pop of Deinasoriaid ('Dinosaur') and O Angau (almost imperceptibly haunted by the happy ghosts of The Style Council); the layered, upbeat but discordant funk disco of Therapi (which, reaching into the past, reminds me strongly of Jah Wobble's Take me to God album) and the laidback grooves of Sothach and the last track, Fy Mhocad Cefn.
Some of it is more intricate, needing a bit more time to assimilate, for example Jupiter Gravity is a complex, part instrumental with samples and simple refrain, an atmospheric sketch of sci-fi funk.
Complex, imaginative, crammed with ideas and sounds, Alun Gaffey's first solo offering is an engrossing listen; music from a party you wouldn't want to miss.