An aural antidote to Portal, and more music by a lady. In this case it's Riz Maslen, and her 2001 album on Ntone. Some of her other work has been more in the vein of trip-hop/electronica with kitchen sink additions of samples and live instruments, but this one embraces the acoustic and organic side to superb effect. There are guitars, harmonicas, wheezy organs and a wonderfully fuzzy and warm envelope of sound. These tracks veer from soundtrack stlye, to post rock, folk, psychedelic 60s rock and beyond, and are remarkably evocative of hazy summer, the countryside, and something just beyond my comprehension that is everso slightly tinged with melancholy. There are many moments of beauty - 'Cornershop Candy', which presumably features Maslen's own (very nice) tremulous vocals, with a deeply reverbed and harmonic guitar backing, along with sepulchral rumblings and mystic ambience creating a raga-like atmosphere. Indeed, much of the feel and pace of the tracks is raga-like, as 'Cornershop Candy' fades into the similarly brilliant 'Train To Katoomba', which is embellished by some 70s cosmic keyboard flourishes. 'Still' actually uses some sitar, along with ethnic percussion; calling to mind eastern tinged folk, but with some backwards loops on top, and a wonderful chant.
There are plenty more high points on this gorgeous album. It will keep your brain warm in winter.
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