John Richardson is an experienced songwriter whose music combines experimental folk rock, the melodic strengths of the singer-songwriter tradition, sound design, and the artistic ambition and dreamlike quality of psychedelic and progressive rock. His first album, The Fold, is being released on Svart Records on March 31st. Richardson is currently based in Turku, Finland, and performs with his band, Slow Floe, and with friends in smaller acoustic ensembles.
Richardson’s first release was a single going back as far as 1989 (‘Long Man’), which received favourable reviews in the Finnish music press (Rumba, Soundi), but had little commercial impact. He has since appeared as a guest artist on two solo albums by the Finnish doom metal and folk-rock musician Kimi Kärki (Bone of my Bones; Eye for an Eye), and two recordings by the experimental composer and sound artist Petri Kuljuntausta (Visions and Play; Sounds!). His own music took a back seat to these collaborations and a successful career as a writer and university professor, until he experienced a dramatic creative reawakening in the 2010s.
The first result of this awakening was The Fold, an elaborate but poignantly direct song cycle which weaves together elements of biography, reflection on the creative process itself, and surreal fantasy. The album has a cinematic mood with arrangements that range from intimate acoustic reverie to sweeping orchestral passages. In addition to the traditional sound world of acoustic rock, the album features haunting electric guitar lines (performed by Kimi Kärki and Richardson himself), elaborate vocal arrangements (featuring the talented singer and musician Anna-Elena Pääkkölä), string and brass arrangements (featuring Hannes Merisaari and Edie Boon), analog and digital synths, spoken word performances, and unusual instrumental choices, such as the Finnish kantele.