‘Ruminantia’ from Horses Brawl(February 14, 2012)
There’s an unearthly, vaporous, almost elemental quality flowing through ‘Ruminantia’ from Horses Brawl, with contributing elements quarried from the depths of traditional and medieval, overlaid on contemporary experimental directions. A plethora of finely crafted music entwines control with improvisation – in the same moment it’s ancient and embryonic, disciplined and liberated.
According to Horses Brawl – that’s Laura Cannell and Andre Bosman - the album was recorded in single takes and minimally mixed to create an intimate encompassing feel. That much is certainly true and it’s an approach that reveals considerable presence. It takes but a second to feel you’re right there with the performance. On ‘Ruminantia’ Laura plays fiddle, hardanger fiddle, recorders and crumhorn while Andre plays guitar, acoustic bass guitar and Indian harmonium. There’s a catalytic interaction between these instruments that’s on occasion gentle and calming, while at others almost quarrelsome and combative. It’s those combinations that make this album inspiring and intriguing.
Among the album’s nine tracks there’s the spirited dance ‘A Trip to Paris’ the lingering beauty of the love song ‘Brid One Bere’ the soft yet insistent engagement of ‘Isabella Dansa Alta’ and the sonorous depth of ‘Magister’.
The musical foundations that Horses Brawl use include English country dance, ancient love songs, medieval estampie dance tunes, plus influences from ancient Greece, Spain and Sweden. Around the structure of those groundworks Laura and Andre build their tunes. Ruminantia defies traditional classification as it deftly moves between musical worlds and times. Go to www.horsesbrawl.co.uk and buy it - it's a treat.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll