Jun 29, 2008

the grand hotel

What a nice surprise this record turned out to be. It's on legendary Finnish microlabel 267 Lattajaa, but these fellas are in fact American, and while they do traffic in a similar style as many of those forest Finns we love so much (Avarus, Anaksimandros, Kemialliset, Islaja) they seem to hew closer to the drifting murky, field recording flecked nature folk of the Jewelled Antler collective. But all that makes them sound super derivative, which they definitely are not. Three songs, all woven into one gorgeous sonic patchwork, tangled and gloriously blissed out, beginning with a soft bramble of acoustic guitars, hovering on a bed of blear eyed FX, over the top, sing-songy falsetto vocals coo and croon, sounding not unlike Glenn from Skygreen Leopards. The second track is a strange lo-fi rhythmscape, focused around a martial drum beat, pounding tribal and insistent over a swirling morass of processed vocals, bits of shimmering feedback, murky ambience, and thick swells of subtly melodic whir. The final track, which at 17 minutes makes up the bulk of the record, is a sprawling epic, that traverses all sorts of different sonic territories, managing to make them all sound wholly interconnected. A burst of hiss and damaged FX, synths and feedback, gives way to deep resonant stretches of metallic buzz, which in turn give way to some aggressive acoustic guitar strumming and muted percussion, a creepy haunting Comus-like ritual, before morphing into an ever changing soundscape of glistening melody, rumbling low end, fractured folk, and smeary soft focus abstract ambience, finishing off with an almost peppy sounding outro, all major key guitar, strange percussion, a simple barely there rhythmic pulse, and slithery strands of glimmering fuzzy melody. Wow. The bad news is... we only got a handful of these, and we're not entirely sure we'll be able to get more. But give it a go, fans of dreamy abstract free folk do NOT want to miss out on The Grand Hotel..." Aquarius Records

Jun 28, 2008

mary-anne patterson (rare earth XXI)

Firmly established as one of the rarest records of its time, and never reissued until now, Mary-Anne Paterson's sole album is a beautiful combination of traditional and original material whose echoing production perfectly captures her haunting voice. This first-ever reissue of Me is sure to appeal to all folk lovers, and deserves to elevate Mary-Anne to where she belongs - alongside Anne Briggs and Vashti Bunyan in the pantheon of Britain's leading folk singers.

"Mary-Anne Paterson was a painter, teacher, actress and folk club regular whose only album is delivered in high, pure tones with basic acoustic backing, occasionally enlivened by understated electric guitar and pounding bongos" - Mojo
"Me's contents vary from haunting treatments of traditional material (Black Girl, The Water Is Wide) to beautiful original compositions (Love Has Gone, Reverie For Roslyn). A true rarity and a prime candidate for reissue" - Record Collector

Según parece Mary-Anne que, por entonces, era profesora de teatro viajó a Londres a finales de 1969 para grabar una demo con el fin de recaudar fondos para el centro donde trabajaba. Este viajé acabó germinando en un improvisada sesión de 1970 en la que se grabó 'Me' y en la que la escocesa fue acompañada por músicos callejeros que no volvería a ver. Ella seguiría siendo profesora, además, pintaría, escribiría para la radio y tv y continuó cantando pero, desgraciadamente, no hubo otro álbum. Rescatado de la oscuridad por Sumbeam hacer un par de años, es una pequeña joya del traditional-british-folk, es medieval, es acústico e íntimo, es Shirley Collins, es Judy Dyble, es C.O.B., es una maravillosa voz. Dentro de la tradición que recoge Mary-Anne, el marcado ambiente del medievo se ve aderezado, puntualmente, por flautas, 12 cuerdas, bongos... que le aportan algo de luz, ahí está el acid-folk de 'Black Girl'. Sólo cabe admirarla como una dama más del verdadero folk.

Audio: Love has gone

Jun 25, 2008

seventh sons (rare earth XX)

seventh sons - seventh sons (1964)

Seventh Sons is a folk rock trio (with the add of Frank Evatoff for the flute parts) who released only one album back in the mid 60's. The leader, guitarist & multi-instrumentalist Buzz Linhart provided a lot of materials. He was recognized as the main protagonist of the Seventh Sons typical sound. After the band's scission he launched a career in solo as a guitarist. Historically this is a must despite that great followers will blow away this effort. Simply called "raga" this album is maybe the first experimental rock item which successes to conciliate "eastern" influences, harmonies & elements with basic, standard rock structures. The only track is built around a single theme developed in several sequences, according a large part to acoustic guitar & flute "floating" lines. Rather discreet pop voices are added to the mix. Back to the 60's musical context “raga” figures as an undisputed masterwork in "indo" pre-progressive rock universe.

Más rare earth, el espíritu de esta aldea. Poco, muy poco se ha hablado de Seventh Sons y su único disco. Su nombre, supongo, está insipirado por la tradición y el folclore que acompaña al número 7. Catalogado como el primer raga tocado con instrumentos eléctricos, lo cierto, es que resulta sorprendente escuchar un disco como éste en 1964, adelantado a la psicodelia y a las influencias que las bandas de occidente recogerían de la India. Tanto es así, que no se publicó hasta 1968. Difícil delimitar por donde se mueve la única pista, el evocador y místico 'Raga', conducido por las cuerdas de Buzz Linhart y las infecciosas percusiones de Serge Katzen, una voz que actúa como un instrumento más y la adicción al trío de la flauta de Frank Evatoff ornamenta el viaje y rompe las eternas líneas de bajo de James Rock. Eastern free-folk-psych en clave raga o mejor, libertad en su estado puro.


Jun 12, 2008


talugung - flooded fields (foxglove, 2008)

Someone should start a clan of the instrument builders. and if such a thing existed, talugung (aka ontario resident, ryan waldron) would be one of the leaders of the movement. even though no such organization exists (damnit), there's still this debut album of waldron's fractured exploits. "flooded fields" isn't played on all instruments he's built, though. he accents this with all sorts of random, ethnic instruments - circular xylophones from god knows where, for example - creating a wonderful cacaphony of sound. the proceedings here are choppy and melodic, but underpinned with an organic sense. at times, it sounds like something you might find on a sublime frequencies release, and is also reminiscent of the work of henry kuntz. 100 copies