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Myrkur: Mareridt (LP, Relapse Records, September 2017)

This is a lot of fun from Amalie Bruun. It’s basically a cross between Scandinavian black metal and vaguely Celtic folk. She sings, mostly in her native Danish, with a style that ranges from a the more full-throated end of folk up to a melodramatic Kate Bush — and, just occasionally, a nice bit of shrieking […]

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Jessica Moss: Pools Of Light (LP, Constellation, May 2017)

A fascinating and powerful solo work from the Silver Mt Zion violinist. Each side is a continuous piece in four movements. The A-side, Entire Populations, combines densely layered strings, at times of a sort of middle-eastern-ish folk-ish flavour, at others of a spiky neo-classical, at times densely layered, at others more stripped down; Pt. II is […]

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Mike Cooper: Reluctant Swimmer / Virtual Surfer (LP, Discrepant, February 2017)

Here’s one to file under “strange but strangely wonderful”. The first 11 minutes of the A-side is Reluctant Swimmer, an ambient experimental thing which seems to be done on a prepared guitar, all scrapes and bloops and rattles: it sounds oddly like you’re inside some kind of arcane machine but in a much softer, more […]

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Lau Nau: HEM. Någonstans (CD, Fonal, July 2015)

There are some records I like because they challenge me. There are some records I like because, from the first notes, I feel like I’m at home. This record falls into the latter category. Which is not to say it’s uninventive, ‘cos it’s far from that… just that this combination of modern classical, ambient effects, […]

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The Woodbine & Ivy Band: Sleep On Sleeping On (CD, Static Caravan, March 2015)

This album finds the Manchester-based collective (I count eleven members, plus guests) exploring the wilder edges of the folk world, and pretty great it is, too. Musically, there are elements of proggy psychedelia, brassy big-band soul jams, bluesy rock stomps — alongside some rather lovely melodic folk. Naturally, the instrumentation reflects this range, and alongside […]

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Peter Broderick: Music For Confluence (CD, Erased Tapes, November 2011)

Peter Broderick’s talent in a wide range of styles is hugely impressive, but it makes it hard for me to get a handle on his œuvre. What’s he going to come out with next? Well, I think I’d place Music For Confluence somewhere on an axis between the gorgeous orchestral sweep of Float and the rich Americana […]

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Sanso-Xtro: Fountain Fountain Joyous Mountain (CD, Digitalis, April 2011)

Melissa Agate pairs gentle, woozy drones with delicate melodies on a range of tinkling chimes, slow-mo accordians, folky guitars, and the like. The effect is a very sweet kind of psychedelia. Of course, too much sweetness gets cloying, and I do find her occasional vocals tend to tip things over the edge into tweeness. But […]

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Peter Broderick: Home (CD, Bella Union, October 2008)

I previously knew Broderick mostly for his wonderful Float, a modern classical masterpiece. This is very different: gone are the lush strings, gone the cinematic beauty. In are vocals, layered choral harmonies, acoustic guitars, home-made clay whistles, and (whisper it) proper songs. That said, this is not a conventional folk album. The production is too knowing […]