Friday, November 4, 2011

The Dreamlike States of UNITED BIBLE STUDIES - FEF2 - SOLD OUT

Having being asked to play at the seventh Terrastock Festival in Louisville, Kentucky, United Bible Studies embarked on a three-week tour of the USA alongside Oxford-based folk singer Sharron Kraus. This cassette is compiled from recordings of those 2008 shows. 

This is arguably the most comprehensive UBS release to date, representing both the psychedelic, improvisatory side of the band as well as their roots in traditional song, along with some surprises, such as an ethereal version of John Dowland's Flow My Tears. It's also unique due to the prominent presence of the aforementioned Kraus, and marks the first UBS appearances from Michael Tanner (Plinth, Mark Fry) who has gone on to become a key member of the band. David Colohan, Richard Moult, Áine O'Dwyer, Gavin Prior, and Tuula Voutilainen complete the core lineup, and guests include Jesse Poe and members of Khouetek and Talbam. The album ends with sax colossus Paul Flaherty being coaxed onto a New Haven stage for a visceral 14-minute blowout. 

This eclectic, sprawling, ragged album works as a reflection of the tour in microcosm. It contains 16 tracks in 83 minutes, and includes a download code (including extra artwork). Cover art by AntimonyMedia. 

RAISING HOLY SPARKS - Beyond the Unnamed Bay - FEF1 - SOLD OUT

David Colohan has operated under the name Agitated Radio Pilot since 1993. The development of a new approach based on field-recordings, shapenote singing, loops and synths, and coloured by an interest in Hasidic mysticism, prompted the winding up of that project and the adoption of a new identity: Raising Holy Sparks. 

The debut release 'Beyond the Unnamed Bay' features a pair of side-long suites made up of songs and instrumentals. The well-crafted balladry of Here Begins Our Lasting Joy will be familiar to fans of ARP's World Winding Down album, while the lengthy The Depths of Bailey Point follows on from the abstract and atmospheric works found on The Lunar Arcane and The Days and Hills Grown Old. However the synth-pop stylings of As Far As We Can Go presents Colohan's songwriting in an unexpected new context. 

The album draws together the strands of Colohan's earlier music into a more cohesive whole and a richer sonic palette, aided by Vicky Langan (Wölflinge, United Bible Studies) and Declan Q Kelly, with guest appearances including Stefan Neville (Pumice), Richard Moult and Audrey Ryan. The cassette includes a download code, and the cover art features the RHS logo designed by Oscar Strik.