Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree (UK Folk)

"The Mildew Leaf" (2004)

Review by Mark Coyle:
Released by Deserted Village who have no contact with the artists, this album is an enigma. It documents travels by a UK folk band around the UK, northern France, Channel Islands and the isles and captures their performances in both English and Gaelic.

It's a highly traditional sounding release but one with a feeling of strangeness running through it's heart as all the best folk music does. There is a feeling of authenticity, of getting back to the music's source, of pretence stripped away. Those searching for lost music that carries on their enjoyment of The Wicker Man soundtrack would do well to look here, the same feeling of strangeness and innocence rises amongst the songs.

'In Aimsir Bhaint an Fheir' introduces banjo and guitar supporting a heady baritone male vocal singing in Gaelic. A Gaelic pipe or possibly flute adds counter melody over the top and gradually accordion is woven in. It's already a magical concoction, enticing and vibrant in its mixture of old and new. As more countermelodies are added on piano and guitar, it swells to become a beautiful and moving ode. This gives way to a communal non-accompanied version of the traditional song 'Spencer the Rover' and then into 'La Bon Marain', a deeply evocative folk ballad starting with sultry flute and guitar. This song has excellent female harmony vocals over the male baritone lead that further enhances the atmosphere.

'The Blackthorn Tree' is a banjo and massed vocal song before the unaccompanied vocal of 'Twa Corbies'. 'Is Lomaidh Coisceim Fads' is another Gaelic ballad with haunting siren harmony vocals. As you listen, you feel some connection to something unknown is being made; it's a haunting listen. 'Sweet Thames Flow Softly' is a song in the round of vocals and sounds like a hundred years old field recording. Peter Ackroyd, the author would adore this seemingly magical invocation of the river's powers in support of love.

Last song 'Time To Go Home' comes too soon and sounds the most conventional of them all at first, although of course this is relatively. Here the sound is like a forgotten seventies soundtrack, the group are together, massed male and female vocals, horns calling, whip rhythms, hand drums, swirling fiddles, nature animals. It moves from delicate ballad to ritual incantation in thirty seconds and ends the album on a somewhat unsettling note.

This is wonderful, important music, the kind we established this site for. It's very inexpensive and absolutely essential for fans of the genre.

"The Cat's Melodeon" (2005 EP)

And this 3inch CDR has all the magic, truly there. Based upon traditionals mostly, I think, the music is worked out with in a way I've rarely heard before. There are often comparissons possible with a group like C.O.B., especially through the melancholy, warm male voice, the banjo which plays its own melodic layers, the sweet and sad flute, and the female vocal arrangements, which are especially rewarding and original on “Tralawney”. The arrangements are never overloaded but always expressed very effectively and with some flow, with some vocal arrangements that are completing the warm singing, some 12 string guitar, and melancholic finishing touches by flute or violin. A must-have.


Anonymous Bannermike said...

These both look really interesting. You are constantly coming up with the most amazing and obscure folk music. I love it all. Many thanks for sharing all this wonderful music, and for having the best blogspot in the world. Cheers!

22 September, 2006 00:28  
Blogger vinylhed said...

These are very strange and lovely records. Thank you for letting me hear them. I don't know what I'd do without you Lizardson.

22 September, 2006 00:54  
Blogger A Pound for a Brown said...

Greattt Posttt !!!

22 September, 2006 06:04  
Anonymous tjd9 said...

Thank you thank you thank you.

26 November, 2006 13:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this re-post.
nice music indeed.

29 November, 2006 17:41  
Blogger Dustin Bowlin said...

Simply delightful. These sounds evoke a history and environment as rich and beautiful as could be hoped for.

01 March, 2008 02:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All download slots assigned to your country (Thailand) are currently in use. Please try again in a few hours or install the Megaupload Toolbar for immediate access"
I've tried 'again in a few hours' a hundred times in the past year, but the slots are NEVER available.
Could you please post this on RapidShare so I can hear it without being forced to download an unwanted toolbar?

17 June, 2008 01:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

amazing country with its congs so rich ... from shillong

11 July, 2008 15:06  
Blogger The Irate Pirate said...

endlessly inventive. many thanks, L'son.

27 November, 2008 04:52  
Anonymous Shane said...

Both of these EPs have now been re-released on CD as part of a 2CD set, along with another disc of previously unheard Magickal Folk music.

Find out more or buy from


21 January, 2010 23:56  
Blogger Sage said...

Love it - thanks

07 December, 2011 01:42  

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