‘Quick Sparrows Over the Black Earth’ by Laura Cannell "... something wonderful awaits"(April 11, 2014)
I first discovered Laura Cannell’s music through experimental folk and early music duo Horses Brawl, since then she has embarked on a solo career and in July 2014 will release ‘Quick Sparrows Over the Black Earth’. Now, I’ll be the first to admit this album may not enthral everyone but it is without doubt one of the most haunting and mood evoking albums I’ve heard in a long time. Recorded in single takes in a medieval church in Norfolk, England it consists of experimental inventiveness based on fragments of 5th -14th century melodies with their sources woven into an exploration of innovation.
Known for her researches into ancient music and the creation of new music through entwining a seamless web of improvisation employing atypical instrumental techniques, Laura uses fiddle, ‘overbowed fiddle’ and double-recorders to create an album that transcends beauty and takes on an almost spiritual from.
Opening with the spectral ‘Entrance To The Vault’ layered textures of sound swirl around your ears before evolving into the striking ‘Radiant Shaking Leaves’, which holds imagery alternately dark and light. The lingering melancholy of ‘Song of Repentance’ hovers steadily suggesting a wayward spirit waiting to fall, while ‘Unveiling Shadows’ recalls an altogether unsettling theme that walks wraithlike around the room. The sheer presence of this music with offerings like ‘The Drowned Sacristan’ and ‘The Fiery Spirit’ works to conjure images and narratives that slide from sombre to blithe, visions so powerful that you may keep glancing towards the door.
As I said, perhaps not for all, but for those willing to join the path something wonderful awaits.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll