Review: Gareth Hardwick – Sunday Afternoon

Sunday Afternoon carries all of the traits you might anticipate from a record with such a title – it’s tranquil, undemanding, modestly constructed, minimal in activity, bright and sanguine in mood. There’s a depth to explore here, but it’s not placed out of reach, and doesn’t make any demands for too much conscious effort on part of the listener; the music unfolds on its own accord, and intricacies emerge into the light in a very natural fashion. Basically, Sunday Afternoon will come to you.

A lap-steel guitar and a G-major chord are the two main components here – the former of which becomes lost in the subtle processing that smudges the timbre into continuous drones, the latter of which gradually blooms with an array of colourful overtones.

The first piece seems to work exclusive within the G-major triad up until its closing stages, with the naturally emerging harmonics appearing to follow suit. It cycles softly, lurching ever so gently forward and recoiling again, gifted with the slightest amount of volume variation from the remains of the instrument’s attack. The second piece feels equally as whole and resolved. Harmonically it’s little denser and even a subtle implication of melody is permitted to seep in over time, to the point at which the anchoring G bass note is nearly nudged out of place for the final few minutes.

The record is the result of a single improvised take and was originally released on a limited pressing of 75, tying in nicely with the simple and reserved nature of the music itself. It’s a modestly harmonious work, and whilst subsequent listens haven’t cast Sunday Afternoon into a new light or alert me to anything I didn’t discover first time round, I still return to this one frequently.