Auckland: 8pm Thursday 28 October - w/ Alastair Galbraith @ The Classic, 321 Queen St.

Wellington: 9pm Saturday 30 October - w/ Claypipe & Our Love Will Destroy the World @ Happy. $10.

Dunedin: 8:30pm Friday 5 November - w / Alastair Galbraith @ Dunedin Public Art Gallery. $10.

Christchurch: 8pm Saturday 6 November - w / Rachel Shearer & Velvet Hour @ Harbour Light, Lyttelton. $10.

Richard Youngs is one of the most acclaimed, chameleon-like explorers of modern music, traversing a diverse set of distinctive and multi-instrumental forms that encompass avant-folk, psychedelic drone, progressive minimalism, lysergic pop, and rock concréte. The stark, unyielding minimalism of his piano-oriented 1990 debut, ‘Advent’, prompted The Wire’s Alan Licht to list it alongside works by Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Phil Niblock, and Tony Conrad as a revelatory favourite of rare minimalism, while Youngs’ subsequent and prolific collaborations with Simon Wickham-Smith as R!!!&S!!! are widely seen as opuses of mind-altering cosmic abstraction, with one critic describing them as ‘Throbbing Gristle reimagined as Zen garden desk accessory’.

From the carnivalesque kazoo-psych and warble of ‘New Angloid Sound’, the heartbreaking candour of ‘Sapphie’ - featuring just Youngs’ plaintive voice and a classical guitar, and likened to a hybrid of Galaxie 500 and Nick Drake - the desolate a cappella of ‘Summer Wanderers’ and gorgeous pastoralism of his collaboration with Tirath Singh Nirmala, to the ‘ecstatic house’ of 2009’s ‘Like A Neuron’, the intrepid, curveball pop of ‘Beyond the Valley of Ultrahits’, and the cyclical, stream-of-consciousness and hymnal ‘Under Stellar Stream’, Youngs’ music remains as evocatively beautiful as it is perennially mutable.

While recording with an array of various collaborators, including Jandek, Vibracathedral Orchestra, Neil Campbell of Astral Social Club, Alastair Galbraith, Matthew Bower of Sunroof, and Makoto Kawabata of Acid Mothers Temple, and appearing on a slew of labels such as VHF (Jack Rose, Pelt, Aethenor, Sandra Bell) and Table of the Elements (John Cale, Fennesz, John Fahey, SunnO)))’s Stephen O’Malley, Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, Rhys Catham, Faust), Youngs has been reticent as a live performer, playing only a handful of occasions between 2006-2008, at Thurston Moore’s All Tomorrows Parties in 2006, and alongside Jandek and Heather Leigh Murray on European tours.

It is thus a rare and special opportunity to witness in person what Melody Maker has described as the ‘grand-meister of contemporary British improv, spiritual son of Eddie Prevost and Maddy Prior; gentle manipulator of English hymn-notics and religious incantations; protégé, challenger and radicaliser of folk, blues, rock, minimalism and improvisation’.