In the Rheidol Valley

by Michael Tanner & Sharron Kraus

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1.
00:38
2.
05:53
3.
04:19
4.
00:51
5.
06:25
6.
02:58
7.
02:43
8.
05:33

about

As the albums title suggest the whole thing was recorded in Rheidol Valley which is situated in mid to western Wales between  Aberystwyth and  Devil’s Bridge. The Rheidol Valleys environment is a mixture of river, waterfalls, ancient oak forests, farm land and moorland. The pair utilize for the album field recordings of water, animals, walking and general outdoor sound- these field recordings are seemingly left untreated, and only edited/ arranged in a effective manner around  the improvised folk instrumentation or left to play out in real time under the pairs folk textures.

The  instrumentation thoroughout the album is sparse and often quite barren in it’s feel/ vibe. The pair utilize a mixture of: strummed, picked & plucked  acoustic guitars and possibly banjos, bells, ritual drums, and buried/ wavering  females vocals. The improvised music is  often angular, discordant, ritual and often quite creepy in it’s feel, and it summons up to me images of quiet, ancient & chilling pagan ceremonies taking place under waterfalls, by grazing sheep or in mossy clearings in ancient oak forests. Yet  for all the uneasy and fear here there are also odd moments of poignant and crystalline beauty like “valley 4” the last track on side B, which finds the pair fading in and out a haunting/ melodic twin stringed composition over a backing of distant waterfall and bird song recordings

The album offers up eight tracks  in all which last between just under a minute to nearing the six and a half minute mark a piece. Only the  first short intro track is purely field recording based, and from there on in each track is a mixture of often distant/ buried field recordings & the pairs ritual/ wavering  improvised folk compositions.

So to sum up “In the Rheidol Valley”  is a creepy, often discordant, and unsettling  record with that’s flecked with odd moments of  melodic/ felt folk beauty . For fans of barren & uneasy acoustic music, and  vocal-less  improvised folk matter.

credits

released March 3, 2011

Sharron Kraus: Voice, Dulcimer.
Michael Tanner: Temple Bells, Autoharp.

Released on vinyl with silk-screened sleeve by Morc Records.

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about

Sharron Kraus Sheffield, UK

Sharron Kraus is a singer, musician and songwriter who both defiantly recasts and tenderly cherishes the folk traditions of England and Appalachia. Her songs tell intricate tales of rootless souls, dark secrets and earthy joys, the lyrics plucked as sonorously as her acoustic guitar. ... more

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