There’s more than a nod to dreampop and shoegaze in this music, but Lisa Masia and Marina Cristofalo are clearly too in love with the raw and ragged sound of a distorted electric guitar to tame it to the extent that might imply. Some of Wish You Were A Pony is downright heavy! This is pop music, but not lowest-common-denominator, mass-market pop; it’s pop because it’s all about simple, accessible melodies, infectious, danceable rhythms, lush, inviting soundscapes, and, well… fun.
This three track EP seems to be Septic Trauma’s entire recorded output. A shame, as I could happily listen to a few dozen tunes in this vein. Many heavy rock bands lay claim to terms like ‘technical’ and ‘progressive’, but few have any reason to do so. Aside from the sheer ridiculousness of using a term like ‘technical’ to describe a style of music, most of the metal thusly classified makes no more taxing technical demand on its performers than that they should play fast and stay in time, which quite honestly is something any well trained monkey with a floppy pick can manage.
Robb Appleton is a harmonica player, and his diatonic harps are a prominent voice on this album, but The Wood doesn’t sound like a harmonica album. In fact, it sounds more like an album made by someone who decided to get a harp player in because they wanted that sound. Instrumentalists have to play to their strengths when they record an album as leader, but rarely do they assemble a production to which their voice sounds such a natural and integrated complement.
Folk music, as a widely shared conceptual category, is largely defined by a sense of authenticity: it is culturally specific music, and it is valued by many (or most) of its fans for its truthfulness to a particular sort of shared experience. This is not usually the personal experience of its listeners, but of the social context of its production: the values and narratives that it encodes are those of a non-industrial, rural, orally constituted community, founded on ties of family and residential proximity. This is all very well, except that this sense of authenticity…
Heidi Harris works with a palette of folk and Americana pigments, but she doesn’t paint quite the pictures you might expect. Folk music is a collective aurality, the sonic expression of an orally transmitted tradition, and as such, it daubs its canvases with the colours of communal experience: even when it trades in specificities, perhaps the transportation of a loved one in punishment for a minor crime, it is a shared misfortune that is lamented, and it is its similarity to the experience of other participants in the music that is important.
This is an entertaining and individualistic album, that makes you laugh one minute, with its absurdist, science-fiction tinged humour, and then, while your mouth is still open, slaps you with something altogether less superficial. This is music with something to say, and it says it without going to either extreme, of ramming it down your throat with bespoke dissonances, or of speaking in clichés. datapuddle is a collaboration between stevepuddle and lextrical, whose Deletia I have recently reviewed: all those lower case names!
Deletia opens with ‘Lunchbox D’, which begins with an obviously electronic backbeat; this is joined a bar later by a saturated, analogue sounding synth melody, and simultaneously by a guitar. This sets the pattern for the album: it is a predominantly electronic construction, but it is a highly organic one, and stylistically it looks toward guitar music at least as much as it does toward electronic music.