Die Stadt

Bloom, the first chapter of the Fovea Hex saga, was a nice surprise, but Huge exceeds expectations with its alien-morphed traditional melodies and delicate counterpoint. Once again the mail order edition contains a double CD EP, one with three songs (a reductive definition, if you ask me), the other The Discussion, a long, mysterious remix of Huge material cooked up by Hafler Trio. As far as the songs are concerned, their general coordinates remain more or less the same as in Bloom: Clodagh Simonds, her sweetly freezing voice halfway between Nico and Clannad’s Maire Brennan, paints light-grey clouds and mourning solitude highlighted by a beautiful use of found sound and peculiarly mixed instruments. Colin Potter is credited with “shifting and sieving” on the wonderful instrumental “A song for Magda”, with Simonds creating a hypnotic tapestry of psalteries. Better still, one of my childhood heroes, the vastly underappreciated Percy Jones, appears here on “subaquatic fretless bass”. In “While You’re Away”, probably the highpoint of the set, Cora Venus Lunny’s gorgeous arrangement of viola and violin plants a stiletto right in the heart. The title track features Brian Eno on keyboards, and elsewhere Irish composer Roger Doyle (of Babel and Oizzo No fame) deals with glass and treated voices. This is just what the doctor orders when you need escape from reality without making a noise (don’t forget the series is aptly titled “Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent”): try it at the right moment and you’ll be hooked. The recording quality is magnificent, the songs are perfect. What else is there to say?

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