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 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

Jahrtal - William Blake [Ahnstern - 2009]

‘William Blake’ is the second album from mellow and soothing Germanic tongued male & female folk duo Jahrtal. The album sees the band releasing yet another very rewarding, mainly soothing, relaxing and summer evening hazed collection of folk  tracks that are primal based around acoustic guitar, harp, banjo and a mixture of male and female vocals. Though the album does see the band expand their sound pallet from the first album with jazzy flute edges, a few rougher electric guitar textures, subtle electronics and few more new sound textures and other genre hints- but none of this ruins or changers drastically the projects hazy, mellow and warming folk craft.

The album is subtitled Lieder Von Unschuld Und Widerfahren(Songs of innocence and happening) as it takes it’s lyrics and influence from two of  William Blake’s more know poetry collections 'Songs of innocence' and 'Songs of Experience'; with the band using the German translated version of the poems for the songs lyrics.

The album is split in two with the first five tracks being subtitled 'Songs of Innocence' and this half of the album is more typically mellow, relaxed and plan tuneful. It brings to mind the adventures of a playful child roaming endless and fun filled mid-summer days as they: building camps, play poo sticks and running with a multitude of different and frolic with forest animals in long grass or shady forests- really painting a sonic feeling of an A. A. Milne(who wrote Whiney the Pooh) or Mary Tourtel(who wrote Rupert the Bear) story. The second half of the album which is of course entitled 'Songs of Experience' changes tone slightly; through it’s still predominantly mellow and tuneful it adds in more thoughtful, sombre and experimental edges; with at times quite a discordant tinge raising in many of the tracks chiefly from electric guitar textures.  So there’s a nice contrast and change of tone between the two half’s which very much gives you that defined split you’d often got  when albums were written for a vinyl release.


A very pleasing, laid-back and childhood story tinged collection of warming and tuneful male and female sang Germanic folk which shows the band experimenting with new sonic textures and moods, yet never losing their golden, rich and rewarding edge which made their debut  album so worthwhile.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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