Liner Note Author: Nick Talbot.
Recording information: Bristol Uncovered On Star 107.3 FM (11/02/2002); Silent Age Studios, Bristol (11/02/2002).
Before Gravenhurst's Nick Talbot crafted vast yet subtle albums like The Western Lands and The Ghost in Daylight, he specialized in haunting acoustic miniatures that borrowed from British folk and murder ballads. To commemorate the tenth anniversary of Talbot's partnership with Warp Records, the label released this collection of some of Gravenhurst's earliest work, including 2003's Flashlight Seasons and the following year's mini-album Black Holes in the Sand. The foundations of his later work are already in place: Talbot's deceptively breezy melodies give his songs' melancholy a light touch that somehow makes his observations even more affecting. Flashlight Seasons' seven-minute title track reflects the expansive sounds and songs that would define his later work, while Black Holes in the Sand's eerie cover of Hüsker Dü's "Diane" showcases his flair for reinterpreting classic songs. The third part of the set is of particular interest to longtime Gravenhurst fans. Offerings: Lost Songs 2000-2004 gathers previously unreleased songs from the project's earliest days; spanning demos like an extended version of Flashlight Seasons' powerful "The Diver" to more obscure cuts like "Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?," it rounds out the collection's tribute to one of Warp's most unassuming yet consistent talents. ~ Heather Phares