The term “thin places” comes to us from the Celts, who used it to describe those special locations where the membrane between the natural and supernatural seemed particularly thin and porous — where this world and the one beyond almost seemed to overlap. Or, as Eric Weiner put it, “Heaven and earth, the Celtic saying goes, are only three feet apart, but in thin places that distance is even shorter.”
It’s only fitting that Young Hierophant (aka Andrew Horton) use the term as the title for his latest collection of electronic music. For starters, “electronic music” usually conjures up futuristic, sci-fi visions and seems the very essence of cutting edge. Horton, however, looks to the past, relying on “vintage wood-grained equipment” to generate his tones while drawing inspiration from classic horror soundtracks and ’70s educational films. (This aesthetic even carries through to his Good Glass label, which devotes itself to “handmade electronic music created through slow, traditional craftsman process.”)
As for the music, it’s appropriately haunting. Horton references the Ghost Box label, whose discography is full of music that evokes otherworldly places, and The Thin Place would, indeed, fit quite nicely alongside The Advisory Circle and Belbury Poly on your next Spotify playlist. But what strikes me, especially compared to previous Young Hierophant releases (e.g., 2016’s The Night Office) is how listenable, and dare I say, poppy, The Thin Place sounds. (Which is not a bad thing.)
Indeed, closing song “Kim Fathers” even goes so far as to evoke old school acid and house music with its bubbling synths and head-nodding beat. But, as is my wont, “Sylvan Dread” is the song I keep returning to. It’s infectious and groovy, but also very atmospheric and just a wee bit creepy (what with the ceremonial bells and spectral synth lines). In other words, the perfect song to listen to whilst getting lost in the dark, foreboding woods.