Top Bar
Musique Machine Logo Home ButtonReviews ButtonArticles ButtonBand Specials ButtonAbout Us Button
SearchGo Down
Search for  
With search mode in section(s)
And sort the results by
show articles written by  
 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Various Artists - John Barleycorn Reborn [Cold Spring - 2007]

This highly enjoyable and varied double disk compilation of Dark English folk and beyond is named after one of the oldest know English folk songs John Barleycorn which was first written down in 1588. The 32 tracks enclosed mix both traditional, quirky and the avant-garde song craft, using traditional themes, melodies and instruments along side  more modern elements to build their own tributes to Englandís dark nature and  itís distinctive seasonal changers.

The two disks are subtitled Birth and death, following the season changers, festival and superstition's /old ways. John Barleycorn's story is told through the seasons in three separate tracks, thereís also a track about the Wickerman and various seasonal based pagan events and festivals. I think the thing that impressers most here and will surely appeal beyond the normal Folkie crowd  is thereís  little of twee/ sentimental, nice folk edgerís here- the tracks lyrics are full with macabre imagery, death and ill content. Musically thereís often the feeling of dread and sinister intent hovering even in the seemly tuneful, buoyant and merry songs- like death itís self leering out through beautiful flower stems. It nice that most of the bands are unknown(to me at least) there's no Current 93 or Death In June, as one may expect on this type of thing. The discs comes with a sixteen page booklet full of short written pieces about dark folk,folk customs and Englandís old  dark nature in general. Itís a pity it couldnít have been a bit longer to included the background behind each track- but this can be all downloaded in a 25 page PDF file from the projects site, along with a third disk of material too!.

As for favourite moments I have quite a few and thereís only three or four tracks here that doing nothing at all for me. Some of the many worth a mention would be;the opening rendition of John Barleycorn by The Horses of the Gods- with urgent acoustic guitars strum & banging  marching  drum work and joint folky vocals- all having a sinister  insistent air about it . English Hereticís Hippomania- with  eerier/ weird sawing violin work and electronic textures, and later on  electric guitar work, with disturbing spoken word dialogue detailing occultic  ites around May day. Quickthorn Ė Pew Pew  with its beautiful yet slightly creepy mix of harp and recorders and later on joint mournful male vocals. Venereum  Arvumís Ė Child 102: Willie and Earl Richardís Daughter- which is husband and wife haunting  rendition of an old ballard about Robbin hood- using joint male & female singing, drones, bells & drums, kemence, crwth & wood flute.

Certainly the most consistent and rewarding compilation to come along this year- wonderful packaged and put together -  like all great compilation  it has created a long list of projects I must hear more of.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Roger Batty
Latest Reviews

Various Artists - John Barleycorn...
This highly enjoyable and varied double disk compilation of Dark English folk and beyond is named after one of the oldest know English folk songs J...
230921   Death Screams - Death Screams...
210921   Bourbonese Qualk - The Spike
210921   Renaldo and the Loaf - Hardly...
210921   No One Heard The Scream - No ...
200921   Yves Charuest / Benedict Tayl...
200921   Jean D.L / Rutger Zuydervelt ...
170921   Dave Phillips - Humanity Is T...
170921   Joseph Lanza - Easy-Listening...
170921   Various Artists - Separate Pa...
170921   Funuke Show Some Love, You Lo...
Latest Articles

Tine Surel Lange - A Great Ear F...
One of the more creative and distinctive sound-art/ manipulated field records to appear in recent times was this year’s Works For Listening 1-10. Relea...
070921   Tine Surel Lange - A Great E...
170821   theNightproduct - Walled Nois...
210721   Martyn Bates / Kodax Strophes...
150621   David Gregory - In The Land O...
270521   Root Cellar, Monolithic Torme...
120521   Patrick Picard - Geek-bound...
150421   Dosis Letalis - Walled Noise ...
170321   Shatraug - Into the Finnish B...
170221   Mark Polonia - Of gore-bound...
100221   Danny Hyde - Coils of an Arab...
Go Up
(c) Musique Machine 2001 -2017. Celebrating 16 years of true independence!! Mail Us at questions=at=musiquemachine=dot=comBottom