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Album Review

Cannell,Laura/Lee,Stewart/Ellis,Kate/Wright,Polly/Allan,Jen – "These Feral Lands – Volume 1" – [Brawl Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/14/2021   A Library, CD

Spoken word strung over strings. Violinista Laura Cantrell who leads this project and label had previously recorded violin improvisations, called Buzzard A through H. Other sounds and importantly, recited words are then stretched over the dry bones of those improvs previously left for dead, and like a bog man come alive stepping out of the peat, the resulting movement catches our ears, eyes and breath. The words are steeped in history and lore, monsters stagger forth; men, wolves and professional wrestlers cast shadows over the spoken sections and down the side of the Wrekin (a hill in Shropshire, England). There is more than dirt in that hill, and plenty of fecund soil in These Feral Lands. I am not just talking about “Vessel” and its 20000 year old golem summoning. I was quite be-warlocked by (erstwhile comedian, but here he comes across like a one-eyed gin-soaked prophet/professor!) Stewart Lee, but the tracks with the ladies bewitch as well, often with looped recitations. The sliding strings weave a tense web of active drone to preserve the words. In my mind “Black Shuck” refers to the virus du jour, but apparently it was some dangerous beastie the size of Winston Churchill stalking those unaware in the English countryside.
-Thurston Hunger

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