Tag Archives: folk

T E Morris – An Ocean Is Enough To Love

It’s been about a whole five minutes since I’ve mentioned something to do with Her Name Is Calla, so I was sitting here thinking something wasn’t quite right…

Just for anyone out there who hasn’t caught this yet, An Ocean is Enought to Love is the new EP from Calla member Tom Morris (under the moniker T E Morris), with five acoustic tracks, including the lovely duet (with daughter Edie), Thumper.

I haven’t read any reviews for this, nor am I going to write one – I just listened. And, as always, so should you. ūüėČ

You can purchase one of 300 CD copies here (availability is starting to look a little on the low side), or download a digital copy from Bandcamp (dates for the imminent solo tour are also up on the Bandcamp page).



Inga Liljestr√∂m – Black Crow Jane

June is the first, official month of winter in Australia, but it’s been damn cold at night for quite a number of weeks. While I’m not yet at the stage where I need to re-think my negative position on the Snuggie, hearing about the release of a new album by Inga Liljestr√∂m was welcome news indeed – I’ll take her smouldering ember-like voice to warm my nights over a blanket with sleeves any time.

I’m sure everyone has felt that mix of excitement and reserve when a favoured artist releases something new, particularly when – after three years of keeping record – one of their previous albums remains the most played out of my entire collection. Elk is a breathlessly good album, pretty much perfectly capturing in sound the fire and ice sensation of love, desire, intimacy and everything in between.

By comparison, it’s fair to say that Black Crow Jane is a little older, wiser and more incisive than any of its predecessors. It’s also more resolved, even if at times the subject matter is slightly less so, and perhaps surprisingly, it doesn’t have the slightest hint of becoming jaded in the process. Love is still sacred in this world; and if Elk was about moments that sear the heart, Black Crow Jane shows that those experiences can make if fierce, but don’t stop it from having the capacity to remain quietly and beautifully vulnerable at times.

Jazz and blues were always a noticable undercurrent to Inga’s unique, film noir blend of trip-hop, rock and folk; whereas before they highlighted moments of yearning, mourning and wonder, on this album it’s soulful, sultry and sharply seductive. The sheer and intimate nature of previous work made albums like Elk incredibly bold, despite their vulnerability. This album is no less intimate or bold, but there’s a definite shift in where and how such things are shown. This time around, sound-wise, the comparisons to both Bj√∂rk and PJ Harvey (which is not uncommon when it comes to talking about any strong female artist, particularly if their work contains the slightest hint of electronica and/or rock) are not far off the mark; Black Crow Jane has elements akin to the brash, bluesy-rock honesty of Harvey, as well as the playful, curious and occasionally delicately blissful charm of Bj√∂rk, but (of course) is unmistakably Inga Liljestr√∂m.

The entire album can be streamed online via SoundCloud, and purchased in Australia via Groovescooter. It’s also available from France’s Emergence Music, with Euro distribution.



Pillars and Tongues: The Pass and Crossings Track Preview

Sometimes, I sit at my desk for a long time. I listen to music and carefully consider what to say about it. Other times I know exactly what to say, or decide to be swift and reckless, applying no filters to what is written. For this, I thought it best I do both.

Pillars and Tongues are magic.

The Making Graceful is from the forthcoming album The Pass and Crossings, due towards the end of June through the wonderful Endless Nest.

A proper review is to come, but in the meantime you can listen to that song, and I can consider just how exactly I will be able to put into words something that is already distilled darn-near perfectly in its own language.

Then we’ll wait until the end of June.


Jonathan Meiburg – Why I Love My Home

(Songs for Charles Burchfield)

This is a fairly appropriate post for today, as, in other news, I have (finally!) acquired a new home and will be going through the whole moving process again over the next week, which – as much as I hate moving – is more of a relief than I can possibly convey.

That aside, I spotted this release on Bandcamp last week, and considering the various other Meiburg-associated releases – Buteo Buteo, The Golden Archipelago (Shearwater) and the s/t Blue Water White Death albums from last year – were all amongst my favourite albums of 2010, I couldn’t resist the lure of these two tracks.

Charles Burchfield, just for those who haven’t heard the name before (myself included, but I’ve been doing a little research), was an American artist born in 1893 (d. 1967). I didn’t know that I was already familiar with a few of his pieces prior to looking them up recently, so I have to say I love that music can lead to these other discoveries because the work I recognised have been pieces I’ve happened upon over time and thought were just beautiful. There’s been many more, though, that I haven’t seen before at all, and I’m truly enamoured with quite a number of them. Here is just one example of the wonderful art Charles Burchfield produced:

The following is an excerpt of the words on Bandcamp by Jonathan Meiburg in regards to the songs on this release:

I was invited to perform at the opening of the Whitney Museum’s exhibit “Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield” last year. I’d never heard of Burchfield before, but loved the whimsy, darkness, and grandeur of his giant watercolors, and wrote this pair of songs as an attempt to evoke some of his paintings in sound, since Burchfield often tried to depict sounds in his paintings.¬†

Whimsy, darkness and grandeur are all things Jonathan Meiburg and co. seem to have a strong command on, and the result is something that actually feels a little at the mid-point of Shearwater and Blue Water White Death. The second track – The Moth and The Milky Way – reminding me occasionally of Song For The Greater Jihad, the lead single from Blue Water White Death. Each song is based on specific paintings, though, with the first track – Hymn To The Valences – based on Two Ravines and The Song of The Telegraph, while the second is based on The Sphinx and The Milky Way (pictured).

Meanwhile, Shearwater recently performed a 3-hour concert featuring tracks from The Island Arc (i.e. the albums Palo Santo, Rook and The Golden Archipelago). Now there’s a performance I would have done just about anything to attend, had it been within the realm of possibility. Ten tracks from that performance have been made available on Bandcamp as well, and while I haven’t grabbed them yet, I certainly will be soon.

Both releases are available via the same Bandcamp profile, but you can click here for Why I Love My Home, or click here for The Island Arc Live.


April’s Swag – Free (& Legal) Music Downloads

April's Swag - bite-sized, but very tempting (and even a bit delicious)

Once again, there’s been so much going on this month that I’ve spared little time to dig up the best bits from the nether regions of the internet. Lucky for us both, I don’t have to look very far to find something worth bringing to your attention – to recap those I already have:

After that, I suggest sinking your teeth into these:

Heinali and Matt Finney – Plainsong
Shoegaze/Drone/Ambient | 15MB – 320 kbps MP3
You may have caught the recent Conjoined review over at [sic], if not, this duo blend heavy shoegaze-drone a la The Angelic Process/Nadja, with spoken word vocals. These guys have got quite a few things in store for this year, with another album set for release later this spring on Paradigms Recordings titled Ain’t No Night – keep your eyes and ears out for more info soon, as there’s some seriously good stuff going on with that. Currently available for free download on Bandcamp right now is their take on The Cure’s Plainsong and Radiohead’s Creep. To top it off, from May 1st, Dreamcatcher – a half-hour soundtrack over two movements (Lucifer 1 and Panopticon), which recently accompanied a photo exhibit – will go up as a ‘name your price’ download, with all funds raised going towards financing another album later this year; some very absorbing work all-round.


Wild Dogs In Winter – Homba*
Post Rock/Ambient | 120MB – 320 kbps MP3s
Released last year but only just recently brought to my attention, this nicely done 10-track album has more than enough weight to grab – and keep – the attention of Blueneck, I Like Trains, Our Ceasing Voice and Her Name Is Calla fans. Available on Bandcamp as a digital download (or purchase the CD).


Sleepy Sun – Marina
Psych/Stoner Rock | 14MB – 320 kbps MP3
If you know me, you know I can’t get enough of these guys and their particularly sparkling blend of hazy psych/stoner rock. To celebrate their upcoming US tour, Sleepy Sun have made a live version of the single Marina available for free download, which you can grab here.


Other Lives – For 12
Folk/Rock | 6MB 192 kbps MP3
It was nice to see this new track go up on RCRD LBL the other day, as I’m quite fond of Other Lives’ self-titled debut. (Not so nice to see RCRD LBL decide to go the same direction as Daytrotter and disallow direct downloads without registering for a user account – they better not introduce a poorly functioning, site-specific “download manager”). Slightly more old-school psych-folk in this track, but very nice indeed – grab it here.



NeTE – Greatest Non-Hits 1 LP
Industrial/Gothic/Lo-Fi – 73MB 128 kbps MP3s
Some of you may remember my Australian music special from a while back, and briefly mentioning I couldn’t recall any Australian goth bands I was into during the 90’s. Well, while I was trying to jog my memory, I happened upon a site called Shame File Music – a label dedicated to experimental Australian music. Long story slightly shorter, I grabbed this collection of tracks, and while I can’t say I heard them back then, I can say there’s some stuff here worthy of a listen now. Grab them from Internet Archive.



*These are available as ‘name your price’ downloads. For Bandcamp releases, you are able to enter any amount, including $0. For Mamaleek’s Kurdaitcha, voluntary donations (via PayPal) to support the artists can be made through the Enemies List download page linked above. As always, though I know times are tough, I encourage sparing a few bucks where and when you can to support the artists making the music you enjoy.

Pillars And Tongues Daytrotter Session (3rd March, 2011)

I had something of a full circle moment the other day when I saw Pillars And Tongues had a new Daytrotter Session available (recorded back in Spetember last year, available to download March 3rd).

I had not long discovered Daytrotter when I took a quick listen to their debut session from February, 2009. Back then I was intrigued just enough to bookmark it, promising myself I’d come back later and take a proper listen. It took me a few weeks to do so. In a odd coincidence, I chose March 3rd, posting about it the same day simply because I thought it very necessary to tell everyone about it.

That day I was instantly enamoured – the kind of enamoured where you can’t help but insist absolutely everyone must hear it too, and inbetween that insistence you spend many other moments listening yourself and finding as much else as you can – information, music, whatever is out there.

This time around I wasted no time in acquiring the session, though I have spent the better part of a week listening to it before ultimately, once more, finding it very necessary to tell everyone about it.

Most people, including myself, tend to perplex a little over describing the music of P&T, (believe me, there are good reasons I haven’t linked to my first post!), but the most common summary is folkish drone (or vice versa – droneish folk). Others tend to veer a little towards the metaphysical; I’ve seen mesmerising, spiritual and even holy used. For the time being, I’m going to continue with my original position, but tone it down somewhat and simply suggest it’s music you need to hear.

Check out both sessions here.



Clara Engel – Secret Beasts


Ah, “categories”, how I do have a love/hate relationship with thee.

Once in a blue moon they’re totally, like, my BFF. Many other times, much like the language I just used, they’re a particularly jarring thorn in my side, begging careful attention in order to understand, but ultimately the desire to abandon completely. Especially so when something takes a step beyond the aural plane and lands a foot in the visual, such as Clara Engel‘s Secret Beasts. Then, as has been well documented, I veer towards genres generally relegated to the cinematic over the musical. Let’s try for neutral ground and simply say performance art.

I’ve been here before, trying to convey – in words – the free-form element in a recorded piece of work. That impression you sometimes get that the sound you are hearing, have heard, will suddenly, somehow, go in a different direction than it did last time. Logic dictates that the music, once recorded and in your possession, will forever maintain a single, unchangeable state. But art can, and often will, defy that logic and fluctuate somewhere between memory and sensory perception, allowing you to alter its forms and direction.

It’s interesting to note in this brief documentary that Clara mentions her work remains somewhat unfinished, referring to them as sketches rather than perfected pieces. Perhaps in the absence of that refinement, (for lack of a better word, for what is refinement other than the selective stripping away and/or re-shaping of work), in retaining a more original, unchanged state, the argument could be made that the work is more complete. Or, at the very least, with their forms generally untampered with, they are a little more free to traverse multiple lines – and you can’t¬† err by colouring outside the lines if the lines themselves have not been made finite.

I can, however, outline a few things myself. Secret Beasts draws on contemporary jazz, blues and folk influences, with a sound that is most succinctly delineated as avant garde when taking into account the underlying vocal work, choral arrangements and general ambience. On the straighter edges, the music is brassy, often owing more to Clara Engel’s vocals than the instrumentation, the former being a dominant but not overblown presence, the latter occasionaly deceptively more subdued that you might first realise.

Beneath those two elements lurk the less linear moments, not necessarily requiring but inspiring interpretation on behalf of the listener¬Ļ. I’ll keep it concise and defer going into detail on where I went visually when listening to these songs, but I will say that I imagine they’d lend themselves very well indeed to a variety of visual arts – they managed to set me a stage where a veritable cast of different things emerged and…I’m going to use the word behaved over performed – performed infers a more scripted presentation for rather than an action with.

This gives me the idea that had they been ‘perfected’, the songs could well have revealed, rather than inferred, the titled Secret Beasts. The real question, though, is perhaps whether or not those moments where you sense that there is something more or different about to happen, leading you to take that nuance, draw it out from the music and into your own world, comes from the music or from yourself – or more to the point, whose Secret Beasts are you really meeting?

Along with other work, you can find Clara Engel’s Secret Beasts at Bandcamp.




1: I maintain this happens on some level with all music, hence why I also insist that I never talk about what a musician wrote (or played), but rather about what I heard, which are often two different creatures.