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'The highly prolific David Colohan and Richard Moult, both mainstays of wyrd folk collective United Bible Studies as well as solo composers in their own right (and in the case of Colohan also of Raising Holy Sparks and Agitated Radio Pilot), are quickly becoming the foremost progenitors of modern experimental folk. Emerging during the dying embers of 2015, the extraordinary 'Branded by Constellations' quickly sold out at source (the fine Fluid Audio label) but is still available for download and directly from the artists themselves at Bandcamp. The haste in which this release was eagerly devoured speaks volumes for the sheer beauty and preternatural quality of this recording as well as, it is hoped, ever growing recognition for both composers. Following their previous collaborative album, the gorgeous 'Hexameron', both parties offer something different for this work; each takes a solo turn on an extended, piece of folk infused chamber music. In the words of the artists themselves the album as a whole 'celebrates selflessness in the face of an insurmountable tide' and there is something defiant within each song; something of standing alone against the unstoppable and uncaring elements.
David Colohan presents his piece first, the vast and melancholy 'As the Stars Change Places with the Falling Snow'. Recorded entirely by Colohan in Ballymahon, Ireland during the summer of 2015, this piece opens with a Celtic sounding wail from a resonating harmonium. Waves of warm analogue keyboard strings and organ swirl around this proclamation, blanketing it in a soft Popol Vuh/ Tangerine Dream haze. As this intro fades the wailing horn returns, the sound of wind slowly lapping around delicately placed piano notes. It is as much the space within and between the music that stands out and helps create the image of a seemingly endless stretch of deserted land under an infinite sky. Crystalline and mournful melodies drift into focus as murmured voices float by, the keyboard lines layering and intertwining to create a genuinely moving and evocative work which has something very old at heart; this feels like music that has been around for centuries, within the stone and earth beneath our feet and far out into the distant sky above. Colohan's work often evokes such a feeling; both earthy and spiritual, this is true folk music. Indeed, there is something sacred sounding about this work that reminds this listener of a similar sense felt when listening to the work of Richard Skelton; there is a reverence for nature in the melodies and sound that echoes the slow, steady, melancholic glacial slide of the clouds, the waves and the day turning to night.
Moult's piece 'A Moorland Shrine/The God of Disappearances', recorded on the Isles of Skye and Harris, enters with keening strings and woodwind with shards of beautiful sound reaching skyward. This is then joined by reverberating and cascading piano notes, merging to produce a slice of gorgeous chamber ambience. Within the beauty minor chords twist and contort, suggesting a level of tension and a sadness at this music’s heart. Call this modern classical, Avant-garde or indeed experimental folk; arguably this music belies description yet its emotional impact is certain. This piece is truly heartbreaking and transportive, to be listened to with your eyes closed. Next, the pace increases and the piano becomes more urgent, dramatic drones whirling past into the darkness. A baritone choir heralds something ominous, a coming storm or desolation as the sounds darken and the drone work becomes deeper, more sonorous and more like a glistening, slowed down choral work. The scale of the sound conjured here is massive and carnivorous; the strings and drones echo and reverberate as if through an infinite emptiness, becoming a dark orchestra of their own.
Both pieces on this release complement each other; Colohan's gentler, sadder, windswept elegy and Moult's turbulent and lovely storm clouds. Both are essential and unlike anything else you will ever hear. Each piece runs to almost twenty minutes and yet neither feel stretched, overdone or overlong; rather they build, unfold and uncover new layers of emotive and truly affecting music. Look up, seek out these constellations and gaze upon them.' Grey Malkin, The Active Listener
'Admit it, this is quite something else. Poised, measured, elegantly majesty and distractively alluring. We’d like to say that now we understand the effect that snakes hold upon their prey or why moths feel inexplicably drawn to the kitchen light, it’s something unsaid, innate and within us to be attracted and mollified by the bitter sweet lonesome melancholy of the sea, its endless, tireless yet persistent and insistent ebb and flow. I mention this because for 13 minutes we’ve been similarly engaged, mesmerised and lulled by ‘as the stars change places with the falling snow’ a teaser track from a forthcoming set for fluid audio entitled ‘branded by constellations’ by David Colohan and Richard Moult. With its sighing seafaring inclines and drifting opines, this bruised beauty emerges from the fog, caught in its trailing wash memory echoes are stirred from its deep to momentary gasp with freedom before returning once more lost and forgotten into the darkness, the intricate melodic detailing and the sense of space afforded instil a bleakly resonant and tearfully stilled statuesque aura throughout that fleetingly nods to Roy Budd’s solemn ‘get carter’ score and chimes with the lonesome spectral beauty occasioned on releases by Yellow6 and David A Jaycock.. '
'David Colohan and Richard Moult are no strangers, not to me, and not to each other. They’ve collaborated before, on Agitated Radio Pilot tracks, once as a duo on Hexameron, and often as part of United Bible Studies. Here, they offer something of a split album, although the two clearly settled on a shared vision, stopping just short of actually working on each other’s contributions. Side Colohan — “As The Stars Change Places With The Falling Snow” — is a calm sea, floating accordion and autoharp notes, subtle analog synths, snatches of waves gently crashing and radio voices. It would fit in with some of the best ambient works from earlier Agitated Radio Pilot albums, but is not out of place among Colohan’s more recent work as Raising Holy Sparks either. Side Moult — “A Moorland Shrine / The God Of Disappearances” — is slightly darker, stemming from the side of his work that takes its classical base material (piano and strings) and distorts it into something primal. Here we really feel the sound/water wave analogy collapse back into itself, especially near the end where the piano tones stretch, collide, ebb, and flow.' Evening Of Light
'Due tra i più sensibili ricercatori di memorie sonore legate ai luoghi e alle tradizioni recondite delle isole britanniche si incontrano per descrivere un tratto di percorso, solitario e condiviso, guidato dalla sola fioca luce delle stelle.
David Colohan e Richard Moult, entrambi animatori dello straordinario collettivo United Bible Studies, racchiudono in “Branded By Constellations” due lunghe composizioni, realizzate separatamente ma unite dall’idea di un itinerario di ricerca sonora in bilico tra folk arcano e neoclassicismo, sintetizzata da ambientazioni cinematiche e contemplative. L’opera consta di due brani di circa venti minuti ciascuno, profondamente radicati nei luoghi nei quali sono stati composti e registrati, dei quali sono deputate a cogliere l’ambiente naturale e l’immanenza delle trasformazioni che lo hanno prodotto.
Il primo “lato” del lavoro è appannaggio di Colohan e il suono che la anima proviene dal cuore profondo della sua Irlanda: l’incedere della sua “As The Stars Change Places With The Falling Snow” è ovattato come l’immagine che vi dà il titolo, avanzando attraverso una serie di risonanze in loop sospese su decadenti note d’organo e modulazioni d’archi intrise di uggiosa malinconia.
Più strutturato in senso classico-cameristico è il brano di Moult, “A Moorland Shrine/The God Of Disappearances”, guidato per lunghi tratti dalle onde armoniche del pianoforte, calde e salmastre come il whiskey dell’isola di Skye, dove sono state registrate. La sensazione ancestrale del viaggio e quella della sicurezza dell’approdo ricorrono lungo tutta la pièce, la cui seconda metà svapora verso un’ambience dal fascino spettrale, che vibra sulla tensione delle corde degli archi, come una deriva dolce e austera.
La combinazione dei due brani rende l’itinerario di quaranta minuti di “Branded By Constellations”, ancora una volta, uno spaccato sonoro dal fascino alieno, che travalica il tempo delle vicende umane per attestarsi sulle diverse coordinate del tempo storico e di quello naturale, incarnando un’idea pionieristica del viaggio e trasformandola in senso figurato e mentale.' Music Won't Save You
'De Ierse muzikant David Colohan (Agitated Radio Pilot, Raising Holy Sparks, Taskerlands, United Bible Studies, Meitheal, Gorges) en de Britse muzikant Richard Moult (United Bible Studies, Far Black Furlong) werken in meermaals samen. Niet alleen in United Bible Studies maar ook als duo, waarvan hun gezamenlijke album Hexameron uit 2013 een schitterend wapenfeit is. Nu brengen ze het splitalbum Branded By Constellations, waarop elk een track van om en nabij de 20 minuten brengt. Ze weten beide een fraaie kruisbestuiving van drones, folk, neoklassiek en ambient te serveren. Het is muziek die je als een spannende film beleeft en mede door de lengte van de tracks niet als reguliere muziek. Maar hetgeen de heren hier brengen is dan ook van een andere klasse. Zoals altijd op Fluid Audio is dit verpakt in een fantastische hoes met allerlei frutsels erbij, die de muziek extra franje geven. Wat een ongelooflijk meesterwerk(je) is dit weer.' Subjectivlisten.nl