Fovea Hex

 
    • twitched sa...
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    • 22 jun 2006, 07:41

    Fovea Hex

    Hi

    I just read the review for Fovea Hex's latest record Huge over at brainwashed. Does anyone know if this album and its predecessor Bloom is any good? Based on the review and the clips I must say its promising, but its hard to find any meaty info about the "group" and the albums...

    Cumcakes for everyone
  • PITCHFORK REVIEW

    Rating: 7.6


    In the early 1970s, Irish singer/songwriter Clodagh Simonds was a founding member of the progressive-folk cult favorites Mellow Candle, and later went on to perform with Thin Lizzy and Mike Oldham. As with many of her folk-rock contemporaries, Simonds has been long absent from the recording scene but has seen a recent surge of interest in her earlier work, as exemplified by Stephen Malkmus' 2003 cover of Mellow Candle's "Poet & the Witch".

    Intriguing though it's been, however, there's nothing in Simonds' past history that could've adequately foretold the remarkable appearance of her new project, Fovea Hex. Featuring contributions from such heavyweights as Brian and Roger Eno, the Hafler Trio's Andrew McKenzie, and film composer Carter Burwell, Fovea Hex represents a startling confluence of talents and styles, and the group's first release is uniquely possessed of an icy, sapphire-like radiance. This three-song EP is the first installment of a proposed trilogy entitled Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent and brief though it is, the record exhibits a sterling assortment of ambient, high-density drones, all of which are subtly bound by Simonds' songcraft and crystalline, folk-derived vocals.

    Assembled and mixed by McKenzie via a ghostly construction of harmonium, viola, zither, and "disappeared piano," the deceptively active arrangements achieve a frosty mood somewhere relative to Nico's The Marble Index, Current 93's apocalyptic folk-drones, and the unflinching winterscapes of Burwell's Fargo soundtrack. But despite Fovea Hex's assembled instrumental firepower, Simonds unquestionably emerges as the central figure on these performances-- particularly on the near-acappella opening track "Don't These Windows Open". Conducted by McKenzie's invisible hand, here Simonds' multi-tracked chorale is as gracefully split and clarified as sunlight mirrored off the polar icecaps.

    Yet though all appears tranquil on the surface, on Bloom there are unseen forces at constant work to undercut Simonds' lyrics with ripples of doubt and anxiety. "Cry for your father/ Don't these windows open?/ How could he hear us?" she fervently sings on this first track, sounding determined not to lose her cool in a crisis. Later on, amid the gorgeous dunes of "We Sleep You Bloom", she again conjures indistinct external spirits, "Way down beneath the battlefield/ Down there beside the fire...as we sleep you bloom," leaving ambiguous the nature of these unnamed forces that "bloom in a petrol rainbow dark." And throughout these performances, Simonds tempers her passions with an elegant measure of stoic restraint, aided by the exceptional vocal harmonies of Brian Eno, Laura Sheeran, and Lydia Sasse.

    So potent, in fact, are Fovea Hex's joint creations that the album's brevity becomes its primary drawback. Simonds has a voice that one could happily drown in for hours, and obviously guys like McKenzie, Burwell, and the Enos would benefit from further opportunity to stretch their collaborative limits. So it's good news to learn that the next chapter in the Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent series is due later this spring, and a minor impatience to anticipate the day when the entire work is available to be absorbed as a whole.

    -Matthew Murphy, March 24, 2006

  • I've heard (at least a version of) the first track, as it appears on "The Wire Tapper 13".
    If that is any indcation, I'll buy the album, short as it may be...

    In other news...The new Current93 album (Black Ships Ate The Sky) kicks some major ass.

  • Its funny as hell to hear the words "kicks major ass" mentioned in terms of what Current 93 has done or does.

  • Heh... true. I loves me some C93, but I can't picture myself ever using the words "kicks [major] ass" in reference to them or any of their songs.

  • I do have to admit that 'Black Ships...' is a seriously okay album.
    And to mingle myself into discussions about kicking ass... Marc Almond sings the opening-track. That is enough ;)

    Remember to say "thank you" for the things you haven't had
  • Yeah, nothing says kicking ass like Marc Almond.


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