Happisburgh –  Broads & Milly Hirst (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There is an art to making understated music. As any musician worth their salt, sea salt in this case, will tell you, playing is easy, it’s knowing where to leave the gaps that is the harder discipline to master. And if you take that skill set to the most virtuosic levels, you end up with music as glorious as Happisburgh. This single sees Broads and Milly Hirst teaming up and is a calling card for an album to follow. And collaboration appears to have had a strange effect as bringing more people into the circle seems to have made for more space rather than more music and the whole thing is a masterclass of restraint and delicacy.

This chiming, not to mention charming, piano instrumental manages to do so much with so little and it is in the lingering atmospheres between the notes which creates the substance of the song as much as the playing itself. The equivalent of negative space in art, you need to listen beyond, between and behind the music to hear the whole song, just as you might be drawn to the voids between the colours of a piece of art to full understand what the artist is trying to depict


Happisburgh is a wonderful blend of melancholic moments and happy reflections. It seems to ooze nostalgia but never tries to take the listeners hand, the nostalgia, the reflection, the memories found here are the ones that each listener brings with them. In a way the music is just a conduit for you to look back on your own past, a sonic aide memoir if you like and a gorgeous piece of almost emptiness held together by the deftest selection of musical textures.

 

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