Gown is the solo guise of Nanaimo native, Andrew MacGregor. I first became aware of his recordings earlier this year when he went on a trek from British Columbia to Western Mass with his partner, Christina Carter. MacGregor and Carter did a lot of duo sets during that tour, and it makes sense. Gown traverses similar territory as Carter on her solo releases - fractured, emotive guitars and distant, bellowing vocals. It's a good combination.
"For You" is made up of two long tracks. The first, "Of You," clocks in at around 20 minutes. Built around a foundation of methodically plucked acoustic guitar, Gown reaches a trance-like state on this piece. MacGregor's voice floats through the murky composition like a lost firefly, giving off light every so often in hopes that he'll be found again. Minimal percussion is present throughout, but midway through the ritualistic feeling of this piece picks up. More percussive elements (though still sparse) are brought into the mix and MacGregor's chant-like vocals become fully hypnotic. Hand claps add to the primitive feeling, as if he's singing in a cave amongst the archaic paintings. This is a great track.
On "For You," Gown is different than when I saw him live earlier this year. His singing is more controlled and in a lower register. "Tides," the second track, is a continuation of the first track. This time, MacGregor swaps out the acoustic for an electric, but the sound is in the same vein. His playing is crisp. Each note is carefully chosen and well-defined. "Tides" employs less vocals than "Of You," but the end effect is just the same. As he plays each bar, you are washed away completely.
Gown is an exciting new project. MacGregor's wordless vocals create an entirely new world unto themselves. He doesn't need to use any defined language to affect the listener. "For You" is the perfect introduction into his world.
7/10 -- Brad Rose (28 June, 2006)