Ralegh Long – Upwards Of Summer

Despite receiving a high degree of critical acclaim from both national press and radio quarters for his debut album, the pastoral singer-songwriterly Hoverance, Ralegh Long experienced something of personal negative reaction. Worn down by the demands of 'the biz' he considered calling things a day. Upwards Of Summer is, then, an album that nearly … [Read more...]

Annie Ellicott – Lonesome Goldmine

For the last five years Tulsa’s own Mark Kuykendall, musician, producer and filmmaker, has overseen a stream of consistently high quality and highly varied ambient/electronica releases on the delightfully below the radar Unknown Tone Records. The Oklahoma polymath’s recent meeting with adept jazz singer, Annie Ellicott, has led to something of a … [Read more...]

Michael Tanner – Suite For Psaltery And Dulcimer

A son of Dorset, the now Sussex-dwelling Michael Tanner has for over a decade been releasing a steady stream of high quality, emotionally engaging and subtly structured ambient-orientated music. An acoustically-wise soundscape artist, best known under his Plinth guise, he has also periodically shapeshifted into The Cloisters and is a member of the … [Read more...]

Kerosene Stars – A Million Little Trees EP

With every review I write I become more and more conflicted with my ability to write them. Here’s why:  words cannot do what music does, and vice-versa.   Historically, I already know about these limitations. Henri Peyre warns, “Every critic and professor with any sense has warned readers and students twenty times over against the temptation of … [Read more...]

Cyril Secq / Orla Wren – Branches

I’ve previously opined on these pages (in my review of the Vic Mars’ excellent album, The Land And The Garden) that ambient is, by and large, in the doldrums. “There’s way too much of it and it all sounds the same,” goes my old-geezer grump. What once took ingenuity and was the product of well-considered aesthetic  choice has been neutered by the … [Read more...]

Interview with Louise Le May

Imagine a world in which Kate Bush had arrived as a fully-fledged grown-up. Okay, very much said in context, that. I mean, without all the embarrassing spandex clad hippy dance moves and a tad less of the middle-class twirly-girl precocity. Just the imaginative sweep, the melodic sensibility and the wonderful compositional talent, instead. Well, … [Read more...]

Louise Le May – A Tale Untold

Back in the good old days (yeah, right) if you hadn’t made some kind of musical splash by the grand old age of, say, twenty-five, it was widely accepted that taking your Dad’s well-meant advice and finally knuckling down to your Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries day-job was probably a wise move. Speaking as one who didn’t get signed by a … [Read more...]

Isnaj Dui – Dioptrics

A singular quality of the great, maverick World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer was to make the complexity of his games appear effortless. In displays of near-Mozartian simplicity all of his moves seemed to happen exactly ‘just in time’, entirely belying the inherent intellectual and creative oomph necessary to achieve such a high level of play. To … [Read more...]

Laura Cannell – Beneath Swooping Talons

In a braver world a work such as Laura Cannell’s second album, Beneath Swooping Talons, would likely be released on an imprint such as Hyperion or even Veritas. Instead, the issue falls to the catholic tastes of the ever eclectic and adventurous Front and Follow. For what we have here is a bold collage of (only slightly) updated early music and … [Read more...]

Anne Garner – Be Life

Anne Garner’s new album Be Life announces itself, on opening song "Your Name" with all the grace and emotional depth of a Schubert Lieder. An elegantly understated, electronically treated, piano motif spartanly but superbly supports the vocal coils of what appears to be as much a meditation as a song. Possessing a faint hint of This Mortal Coil at … [Read more...]