‘Little Hinges’ by Qristina & Quinn Bachand - an altogether enthralling soundscape(January 27, 2015)
The discernible and deliberate schism half way through this album will either pull rabid ‘folk is sacrosanct’ traditionalists into folk’s expansive potential or confirm their belief in ‘folk-heretics’ and alienate them entirely. I’m not sure which will prevail. Canadian musicians Qristina & Quinn Bachand have that precious sibling-founded connection that makes them symbiotic artists. In this case, Qristina (she of the captivating voice and luscious fiddle) and Quinn (player of almost everything keyed and stringed) and their album ‘Little Hinges’ evidence that unique interdependence and synergy.
Following on from their previous work, the divergence that is ‘Little Hinges’ takes their accomplished musicianship to another level. There’s strong-rooted tradition alongside an integration with elements of investigative jazz, adventures into progressive folk and journeying with ambient samples and sound bites. The brief opener ‘Introduction’ teases a foretaste of what’s to come with its sampled electronica before the duo of jigs in ‘Reunion’. There’s their inspired take on Si Kahn’s powerful ‘What You Do With What You’ve Got’ and Qristina’s voice adding a potent grieving tone to Dominic Behan’s sorrowful tale ‘Crooked Jack’, which includes a loop of late lamented jazz drummer Josh Dixon, to show off the strength of their abilities.
And then, ‘Little Hinges’ offers a miasma of recorded sound bites to lead away from the obvious ‘traditional’ side of the album into the more ‘explorative’ second half. It begins with the echoing ‘Hang Me!’ before the ethereal and haunting ‘Jimmy’s Fiddle’ morphs into the faintly psych overtones of ‘Saint Nothing’. Legacy is perfectly blended with innovation as ‘Never Goodbye’ mixes its threads of sorrow and wonder, while their revisions of the more usually-titled Wife of Ushers Well arrives with‘Three Little Babes’ to take the traditional into an altogether enthralling soundscape. You can find Qristina & Quinn here: www.qbachand.com
Contributing to the captivation on ‘Little Hinges’ are Qristina Bachand (vocals, fiddle, glockenspiel) Quinn Bachand (acoustic, electric and bass guitars, electric bouzouki, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, Hammond B3, percussion, fiddle, tenor and clawhammer banjo, pump organ, Casio keyboard, tambourine, bodhran, vocals) Joby Baker (drums, percussion, Celeste, whistling, upright bass, organ) and Josh Dixon (drum loop).
Reviewer: Tim Carroll