Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Songs of Green Pheasant - S/T

.....If the Nuggets box set were a compendium of near-forgotten 60s and 70s British folk songs, music by Songs of Green Pheasant would fit seamlessly. Despite being recorded in 2002 in a kitchen on a 4 track by Duncan Sumpner, an artist and teacher from Sheffield in England, the songs have a “just-unearthed” quality of breathy distance. The sound is more tapped-in than tacked-on to a tradition of metaphysical song cycles which stretches from madrigal to Garfunkel (and Simon). The more current elements, such as the drum machine rhythm and shimmering drone of “The Wraith of Loving,” are soon assimilated and bathed in the same atmosphere that sustains Sumpner’s echoing vocal harmonies. A subtle psychedelic current supports the acoustic foreground with recorder and hushed electric guitar tones providing elemental space. Sumpner is slated to collaborate next with Adam Davenport of Vibracathedral Orchestra, likely stretching further beyond these traditional boundaries. But these songs are perfect for imagining endless spring fields outside farmhouse windows and star-filled nights out on windy plains. As an introductory musical statement, Songs of Green Pheasant is pure without being purist (or puerile).


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