Kevin McCormick - Sticklebacks
Smiling C follow their reissue of Kevin McCormick's 1982 album, Light Patterns, with a deep dive into the home recorded material made between '84-'87. This is music broadly comprised of the same inspirations that fuelled that album, utilising heavily treated and delayed guitar to channel the spirit of John Marytn, Terry Riley and Erik Satie into translucent, dreamstate pieces. Comparisons to Vini Reilly are unavoidable, and not just because McCormick was based in Manchester (how great to hear his spoken word vocals on the opening track), and the spectre of those other post-punk avant-guitarists Maurice Deebank and Will Sergeant loom large enough, too (Themes for GRIND actually came out in the same year as Light Patterns). You might even consider these songs in the same breath as The Same's equally obscure home recorded oddity, Sync or Swim. It's not exactly poor company to be keeping, though judging by McCormick's biography, i wonder if he was paying much attention to their work? More likely is they were all listening to the same records, various ends of Krautrock/Berlin School and their French equivalents (Richard Pinhas et al), modern composition and minimalism then aligning with DIY practice. Sticklebacks sounds remarkably fresh and well-formed, especially given it's remained unheard for close to 40 years, and it's a moot point as to whether it was ever intended for anyone beyond McCormick anyway. Too late to worry about that now, thankfully, as it's a collection that easily competes with the standard set on Light Patterns, for which great credit must also go to Smiling C for getting it together.
LT01: 70% wool, 15% polyester, 10% polyamide, 5% acrylic 900 Grms/mt