Fionn Regan – The Meetings of the Waters
There’s a rumour that Fionn Regan was thinking of giving up music for visual art. And five years on from his previous release, things are undoubtedly different this time around. There’s been a relocation eastwards. Those who follow him on Instagram will have already noticed plenty of Japanese references. Here, the cover art seems to reflect such a mood. He’s also set up his own record label, Tsuneni Ai, which means ‘Always Love’ in Japanese. Indeed, the new album finishes with a 12-minute ambient track of the same name. Taking up nearly a third of the record as a whole, it puts us firmly in Jim O’Rourke territory, another Japanese exile. This track is a radical departure for an artist who previously looked towards mid-60s Dylan or early-70s Nick Drake for his influences. Yet, whether it’s a bold new move from a restlessly creative artist or a musical distraction from someone whose head perhaps isn’t in the game any more is a matter of discussion. Because even after a five-year absence, The Meetings of the Waters seems more like a stop-gap offering than a mature piece of musical reflection. The title track would be at home on any of his previous albums. A couple of other tracks also work quite well. And there are some reassuringly Reganesque chord changes on ‘Euphoria’. But it’s all a far cry from The Shadow Of An Empire or 100 Acres Of Sycamore, his two classic albums from the early part of the decade. Rather than charting a new course, Fionn Regan seems to have reached a crossroads with his new record. He has to figure out what sort of sound he wants to make, indeed he has to decide what sort of art he wants to create. Let’s hope he makes the right choice.