Monday, 17 July 2017

ALISON O’DONNELL - CLIMB SHEER THE FIELDS OF PEACE (Mega Dodo LP, CD, D/L). RICHARD BONE - AGE OF FALCONRY (Mega Dodo CD, D/L).

July sees the release of a couple of strange and beautiful albums from the ever reliable boutique label Mega Dodo……………….

Irish Folk singer Alison O’Donnell really should need no introduction, but for those of you new to her music here’s a brief biog………….. Born in Dublin, Alison O’Donnell recorded her first single, 'Feeling High', in 1968 for Simon Napier Bell’s SNB label at the age of 15 with the cult Progressive Folk-Rock band, Mellow Candle. They signed to Decca's Deram label in the early 70s and gigged their only album Swaddling Songs extensively in Ireland and Britain, appearing in concert with the likes of Genesis, Thin Lizzy, Donovan, The Chieftains and Steeleye Span before splitting up in 1973. Now considered a Folk Rock classic, Swaddling Songs was “rediscovered” during the Psych/Acid Folk revival of the mid noughties which led to a renewed interest in her work and an invitation to join Irish Wyrdfolk outfit United Bible Studies among various collaborations with the new breed of twisted Folk artists including a fruitful meeting of minds with English Psych Folk band The Owl Service. Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace is Alison O’Donnell’s first proper solo album since 2009s Hey Hey Hippy Witch (a much under rated record that features contributions from various members of United Bible Studies, The Owl Service, Circulus and musicians from Mellow Candle) and is a collaboration with Dave Colohan from Raising Holy Sparks and mixes Folk and Electronica with remarkable effect. Although Folktronica is a genre that you would not immediately associate with Alison O’Donnell, as with her previous albums, Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace is at turns unpredictable, chilling, heart-breaking and exhilarating as acoustic guitars and snaky synths combine with O’Donnell’s vocals to send shivers down the backbone; it easily stands shoulder to shoulder with her best work. Deeply atmospheric and stunningly beautiful, Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace is Folktronica it best. Stripped down to stark and unfussy arrangements, the beauty is in the their simplicity, giving plenty of space to Alison O’Donnell’s wonderful voice in the mix, the songs have an ethereal quality not a million miles away from the pastoral psychedelia of United Bible Studies and Kate Bush at her more daringly experimental moments. Sometimes sounding almost like devotional music from a time before electricity and at other times having a more quirky, modern feel this is a collection of some of the finest Folk based songs you will hear all year.

Also new from Mega Dodo is Age Of Falconry by American Electronic musician Richard Bone. With roots in experimental Electronica, Richard has been releasing solo records on his own Quirkworks label since the early 90s and Age of Falconry is Richard’s first release with Mega Dodo. Richard’s versatile compositions walk the edge of combining the abstract with contemporary Electronica. His music steps out of the ordinary, transforms into unusual shapes and spheres, the latter ranging from hypnotizing and a bit foreboding to free form compositions with quirky elements occasionally lurking underneath. Age of Falconry has a haunting beauty at work on many of its tracks, juxtaposed with a cheery warmth, both elements sitting comfortably next to each other despite their polar opposite natures. It’s an album that mixes together many of the strands of modern Electronica………..the opening track, ‘Queensberry Wilde’, is a beguiling piece of Folktronica, where elsewhere there are hints of Eno’s Music For Airports and Apollo albums and elements of Ambient soundscaping and minimal Krautrock compositions. Tracks such as the haunting ‘A Shooting Star Was I’ and ‘Winged Persia’ are Eno-esque in their construction while other tracks like ‘Mabuhay!’and ‘Damfino’ sound like they have come from one the fantastic early 90s Ambient collections that labels like Warp and Leaf used to put out. There is a darker side to Richard Bone’s work as exemplified by the weird and glitchy ‘Urgent Curious’ and the brooding ‘Apotheosis’ which are in stark contrast to the lighter compositions on the album. If you are a fan of 80s/90s Ambient music, this is a record you need to check out.

Both albums are out NOW……………..Alison O’Donnell’s Climb Sheer The Fields Of Peace is a limited edition vinyl and CD release while Richard Bone’s Age Of Falconry is a limited edition CD release only. Available from all good record stores and on line outlets with copies also available directly from the Mega Dodo store or bandcamp page here https://megadodo.bandcamp.com/merch


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