When it doesn’t come off, its all rather dull and dispiriting, like music for a spa facility in Bracknell. But when it’s done well it can be quite glorious. Fortunately Tom Honey in the guise of GWFAA falls squarely into the second group.
Underneath the Stars, released via the rather good Hibernate Records, is an altogether more mature piece of work than he has produced before (not that earlier work was at all bad). The music feels more assured, more confident.
Tracks like the outstanding Another Way Out are especially beautiful, binding together the electronica with the organic. The use of field recordings of rain, storms, children etc is carefully judged, adding colour without over playing their hand. For me this track suggests the way forward for GWFAA, reminiscent of some of the excellent artists of Erased Tapes, and suggestive of the emotive potential of A Winged Victory for the Sullen or Dustin O’Halloran.
I appreciate that the initial drive for Tom Honey’s music here is to soothe the effects of his tinitus, the need to reach a calm place, and this is achieved with ease across this album. As someone who has been struggling to get a good nights sleep of late, here indeed is music that can put you into the right space and frame of mind (that sounded vaguely insulting and wasn’t meant to be!), I don’t mean dull and boring, much more calming and soothing.
Tracks like Aurora pick up the vibe set by Another Way Out,and helps punctuate the more immersive and ambient tracks around it. The long, closing track Theroux is slow building, meditative track that needed skill and precision to pull off, but creates the ideal, swirling finale to this rather accomplished set.
Tracks from Underneath the Stars and other, previous material can be heard on the Soundcloud site and all the GWFAA material can be streamed (or better still, paid for) on the Bandcamp site. It appears that there may be some live shows in the offing for GWFAA which would be very interesting to see.
Another Way Out – GWFAA