'Let's kick off with At the First Sign of Frost, which was originally self-released on cassette in 1997 and was later reissued as a CDR on the Deadslackstring label. It has been unavailable for a goodly while now but can now be downloaded for free from the Deserted Village Last Fm page. This is a trend to be wholeheartedly applauded, as there is nothing that puts one in the right frame of mind for further exploration than elements of an artist's unobtainable back-catalog being provided for free. An atmospheric and relatively low-tech set of recordings, the 17 songs and instrumentals on Frost recall the heyday of the cassette Portastudio underground, with delicate observational folk-noir that sits nicely alongside the best output of key 90s labels like Xpressway and Siltbreeze. Alastair Galbraith and the Kitchen Cynics especially come to mind. There are moments when distressed drum machine parts head off at a tangent to the main proceedings like startled sheep, but Colohan was a gifted songwriter even at this early stage and ultimately that carries the day. That and the occasional surprising course change like the blistering eight minute psych-rock instrumental workout "Forgotten Heroes of Aviation", which could comfortably sit on an early Flyte Reaction LP.' Tony Dale, Deep Water Acres.
'Having already achieved legendary status on the cassette underground, Agitated Radio Pilot’s limited-edition long-playing record is the debut release by Northern Irish label Dead Slack String. This seventeen song cycle was recorded on a four-track in the midlands in 1997 by David Colohan, a well known figure on Dublin’s improvised music scene, but this album finds the pilot navigating a path through eerie, melancholic space-age folk. And some damn fine lyrics: “I’m in car with three complete strangers driving from Aachen to Berlin, but is any distance to great to travel when you need to find out how old friends have been?” All too often “lo-fidelity” is a byword for musical anemia and reckless recording, but the ’Pilot uses his primitive technology to its full potential, crafting battery-powered gems like the Can-on-caffeine groove of “A history of faked moon landings”, the sci-fi Satie wistfulness of “Silent movie star” and the fragile musings of “Cut Adrift”. Orbiting a different world to that of the static singer-songwriter scene, Agitated Radio Pilot may be a voice in the wilderness but outsider music has rarely sounded so warm.' Keith Wallace.
released 22 November 1997
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