Micronations –  Andrew Howie (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

35297812_2657005187645537_884040986915766272_nMicronations sounds like the result of a computer achieving a sentient state and then as a result leaving the IT world to become a folk musician. Its a wonderful clash of worlds, of the organic folk sound and the hushed and clinical inner workings of what a computer might be singing to itself when it thinks no one is listening. For folk music this is, but it is folk music embracing and perhaps even predicting the future, and the result of the meeting of that ancient and the organic form with the cool, technological driven potential next chapter is both intriguing and beautiful.

Andrew Howie, armed only with his trusty compact synthesiser, converted songs originally written on guitar and piano into, ambient an reworking of their original or, for want of a better word, folktronica. There is a hushed gorgeousness to the songs from pulsating opener Memory Verse to the washed and brooding Look At Her Go and from the claustrophobic depths of Pick Axe to the shimmering dream-pop grooves of Fragile.

Micronations reminds us that the instruments are merely tools, means to an end and if the songs are good enough then they will stand on their own two feet whether built from acoustic guitars or synthesisers. It is safe to say that Andrew Howie has created an album that is both fragile, gentle and beguiling yet robust and striking in its beauty.

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