Friday, September 19, 2008

After the goldrush #47

Donovan Quinn might still be best know for his work in the brilliant Skygreen Leopards combo, but given the way his solo music has developed in recent years that might very well have changed when it’s time to wrap up his career. Donavan Quinn & the 13th Month (Soft Abuse) finds insistent strumming and naked vocals floating right across psychedelic folk waters and like you would expect Quinn is rarely in a hurry, taking his time to suck out of the very core of his elegantly crafted folk songs. File somewhere between Dylan and the most structured side of the Jewelled Antler repertoire and you’re in the right ballpark.

On The Fabric of Folk EP (Static Caravan) we find The Owl Service and Alison O’Donnell deliver just that. This is folk at its very purest thrown into the folk rock kettle, which probably won’t come as a surprise for some of you given O’Donnell’s previous involvement in the legendary Mellow Candle. Two of these five tracks are willful renditions of traditionals and they are both just incredibly infectious in a folk rock kind of way. This a combo with the legs knee deep in ‘70s folk rock but it’s still very much here and not just a revival of what once was. More folk on the same label is presented on St. Just Vigilantes’ Pastor of Oaks, Shepherd of Stones but what we have here is decidedly more galactic and kaleidoscopic, although for most of the time keeping things on a structured note. Repetitive acoustic patterns make their way through drifting and scraped segments creating a folk approach that to a high degree is about damaged enlightenment. Far-reaching meditative ambitions and blurry aural photographs of delicate folk scenes make up this recording that will appeal to fans of The Tower Recordings, Beta Band as well as Grandaddy.

Antony Milton and Anthony Guerra should be familiar names to regular Broken Face readers but if you’re new to all this then I am sure their elegantly packaged debut album, Ash Field under the Paper Wings moniker (PseudoArcana/Black Petal) will win you right over. We're served four epic electric guitarscapes that includes sequences of ominous drones, crystal clear under-water guitar ceremonies and minimalistic sound layers that unfurl one after another before drifting off into feedback-laced trance-states. To describe these primal recordings as being all about minimal resonance would be a grave mistake, as they also tend to glide through squealing guitar episodes and then right into repetitive aural decay. As a matter of fact I’d go as far as to call this an improvised masterpiece that definitely gains from turning up the volume.