There are some artists who are so elusive that it becomes virtually impossible to research them. Such is the case for Richard Houghten, but after hearing his Sonata De Grillo LP we needed to pick apart the music and find out more.
Richard Houghten is an instrumental musician from Los Angeles, California. With a combination of subtle electronic beats, blissful ambience, and melodious flamenco guitars, Houghten creates a lackadaisical vibe on Sonata De Grillo. Each track breezes by without a care in the world and never out stays its welcome, but just long enough to hook you in. It’s has the feel of a road movie that hasn’t been made yet, but there’s no tense scenes to be set here; just a pure, wholesome homage to the unknown.
The Spanish twang of Saving A Life that opens the album actually lures you into a false sense of security. The finger style guitar playing is used sparingly, giving extra weight to some of the lighter tracks. It is the soothing, contemplative air that emanates from Spinning Wheels of Light and New Mexico that provide that most thought provoking moments. Even if Houghten does like to stay off the grid, with little to no back story out there, the music on Sonata De Grillo makes you wish you were there.
Given that Houghton self-releases mostly everything, it gives him the creative license to do pretty much whatever he wants, but not musically. The vinyl pressing of Sonata De Grillo is limited to just 100 hand stamped copies, pressed on clear vinyl with blue and yellow splatter. Not only that, if you are lucky enough to snag a copy, side B plays from the inside out, and ends with a locked groove. It may be slightly gimmicky, but when you have the means and freedom to do what you want, why not.
On a side note, it’s also worth going on the hunt for All Guitars 1 and 2 by Richard Houghten. They are both albums of cover versions of tracks by Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, DJ Shadow, Orbital, and a number of others. Far more from just carbon copies, these are covers of electronic artists like you have never heard before.
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