If you've already had enough of youngsters named Connor making great indie music, then you should probably stop reading here. Having released his first EP of music at the ripe age of 15, one Connor Kirby-Long built up a small following from his website and subsequently started work on a follow-up. That release is Handwriting, and despite the super lo-fi (supposedly the release was recorded using only one beat-up microphone, a computer, and a single PC speaker) indietronic aesthetic, I have to admit that I'm won over.
Part of what's so intriguing about releases by younger artists (like the other Connor, Patrick Wolf, and others) is that they aren't afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves. While it sometimes makes for either cringe-worthy lyrics or sonic experiments that just don't quite work, it often makes for a unique experience as well. Whereas established artists overthink things to death, sometimes younger ones simply let it roll and that exuberance carries some weight all by itself. Such is the case with Handwriting, a great little release that works in most places and is good enough in others to make you look over the mis-steps.
Drawing influences from Fennesz, David Sylvian, and even Jim O'Rourke, Handwriting is 13 tracks of fuzzed-out guitar-based electronic music that plays like it's filtered through colored glass. The opener of "Man From The Anthill" mixes beautiful washes with quiet vocals and twangs of guitars before the whole things is swallowed in a dense processed squall. "Daylight And Delight" lopes along with stuttering drums and more sheets of filtered guitars, sounding like a lost Flying Saucer Attack track while "Megan's Present" takes a more standard first half before exploding into a shimmering, beautiful second section that feels almost exuberant.
As mentioned above, the album gets a bit bogged-down in places, as on the *ahem* somewhat aptly titled "Crapstone," but completely redeems itself in plenty of others. "A Little Secret" pushes the noise boundaries a little more with squelched vocals and spluttering beats alongside gorgeous guitars and a nice piano melody while "The Stoned Night" again shows his great skill with layering warm textures. Handwriting is an excellent debut from an artist who is obviously quite talented. Here's hoping for more from him in the future.