This is a real gem of a record that manages to capture a sense of time and space that leaves you in awe. There are not many contemporary releases that can be so accurately pinpointed as to belonging to these fair isles. From reading the liner notes its clear that these tunes would have never of manifested onto this 10” without the folk renaissance of the 1960s, where passionate people such as Shirley Collins and The Watersons pulled up tunes from our forefathers that were no doubt pulled up from their own forefathers and so on.
Like some kind of organic human time capsule, this repetition and regurgitation of melodies, passed down through the ages for the sole reason that they inspire the listener, creates this fascinating filtering system, which allows for mutation. Yet the basic skeletal structure of the song remains. Growers of the almost sacred plant, the orchid, are said to microwave their seeds in order to inspire new mutations and exotic creations, so we shouldn’t expect humans to treat songs any differently. Yet despite a few natural mutations these reinterpretations are not too far off from where they came from.
Forty years after the 1960s folk revival, these few songs are a welcome addition to the endless path, which was started well before audio could be recorded. The word ‘folk’ is described as being ‘of the people’ so really, all music is folk music as long as there’s a group of people playing and listening to it, but I’d say that this is folk music in the warm earthy human sense, that attains a joyful raw aesthetic that even the prolific Alasdair Roberts would be proud to achieve.
These four stunning tracks were originally recorded for what was to be the third Scatter album. But after the band scattered themselves into other projects (Alex Neilson – Trembling Bells, Chris Hladowski –The Family Elan, Hanna Tuulikki – Nalle and Two Wings), it was agreed that they should enter the world under the singer’s name.
As the extensive liner notes written by Alex Neilson admit, these tracks were largely realised by a collaboration between the brother and sister team, Chris and Stephanie Hladowski. Let’s hope the world gets to hear more from the alliance of these talented siblings.
Released on Sheffield’s inspiring Singing Knives label renown for improvised ethnic noise clatter, this EP is a welcome calm in the storm, beautifully decorated with embroidery by Hanna Tuulikki.
The third song Andrew Lambie is where these musicians really get it together. A rasping drone track that subtlety floats into a warm quiet space that you won’t want to leave. There’s such a magnificent atmosphere that not even the falling microphone heard near the end of the track can disturb it. Get this track in your ears and watch time warp into a very welcome slow.
Review by: Harry Wheeler