Δευτέρα, 1 Ιανουαρίου 2007

a legend already


A number of our friends into the psychedelic end of folk music were raving about this EP before we had heard it. In a moment of curious synchronicity, on the very evening we were checking out, the band got in touch to talk with us about distributing the music through our service. Thank goodness they did because this is one of the best examples of modern psychedelic folk we have heard. The EP consists of six songs that left us wanting more straight away.
Named after a book by Alan Garner and BBC TV series that takes Celtic myths and updates it to tell a story of a girl on retreat in Wales who discovers strange secrets to her family, the band themselves are every bit as curious. Delightfully there is little information on the CD cover so we should focus our attention on the music which is led in its creation by Steven Paul Collins.
The EP starts with the title track [Wake The Vaulted Echo]. Commencing with a slow ritualistic drum beat evocative of The Wicker Man’s ‘Gently Johnny’ there is then a creeping series of piano notes, acoustic guitar and shaken tambourine. There is a mixture of rural idyll and imminent danger, another time, another lore, comforting yet sinister. Then suddenly amazing Pink Floyd like electric guitar soar over all as childrens’ bells and chimes tinkle in the background. It’s unsettling and innocent at once, like all the music we had wanted to hear compressed into two minutes.
Next we come to the hypnotic mid-tempo folk-rock of ‘The Two Magicians’ which suggests the enticing possibility of The Albion band on magic mushrooms. There is traditional sounding violin, pulsating bass, droning sitar and a lead vocal from Dom Cooper of the The Straw Bear Band. It’s actually got a tight rhythm too, you could at a push on the more progressive post-Mod dance floors try dropping this. This is one of those tracks that works so well, is so ‘right’ that you’re smiling on the train, disturbing the people opposite with a leery grin.
Interlude I is an instrumental with sitar and picked guitar. It has a hazy late 1960s feel, then a processed ethereal female vocal is woven through the psychedelia. Next comes a great version of ‘Fine Horsemen’ performed by Anne Briggs on her album ‘The Time Has Come’ and by Lal and Mike Waterson definitively on their ‘Bright Phoebus’ album. This version is sung by from Rebsie Fairholm and balances the innocence of Anne’s version with the intense version by Lal and Mike Watersons. The use of synth keyboards, bell lyre and washes of cymbal all add to the air of mystery.
Interlude II’ has swirling guitar that reminds of Shirley Collin’s banjo sound and ominous piano. ‘By The Setting of the Sun’ is the final track and by far the longest at ten minutes. It starts with a traditional sounding female vocal then a slow guitar refrain with electronic drone underneath evoking Current 93. Bell Lyre emphasizes each bar as natural sounds from the environment are placed as a sort of rhythm. There is an air of finality, doom in the music. Sitar enters and we hear the sounds of a field more clearly. Towards the four minute time, the piece stops and a slow mellow psychedelic rock piece starts. Electric piano notes hang suspended expectantly in the air over a minimal drum beat. Electric guitar enters playing slow but piercing notes, like Ben Chasney playing with Pink Floyd. Distant male vocals enter singing across the ether from Steven. Then the piece briefly becomes a jazz based upright bass and sitar drone instrumental. At the end a flute plays a plaintive note calling out to the brethren over that stark minimal drum that opened the album.
In a short time we have been on a journey, one more complete than many artists achieve over their career. Theirs is an arcane but welcoming musical world, come join us in our game.
Σε 100 αριθμημένα αντίτυπα με χειροποίητο εξώφυλλο. Σπάνιο και πολύτιμο. Και τα 6 κομμάτια θα υπάρχουν από σήμερα και για τις επόμενες τρεις ημέρες εδώ.

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