Boomkat Product Review:
Un-bloody-missable highlight of Cannell & Ellis’ eminently watchable series of folk and classical string improvisations, unexpectedly looking eastward for one of its strongest, most memorable editions - including a Stewart Lee guest vocal, to boot and reliably mindbending contribution from Rhodri Davies.
Without explanation their ‘August’ instalment sees the duo appear to depart their Irish and Anglian locales to grip sitar, and possibly a shruti box, alongside their cello and violin, to play within alternate tuning systems and project their sound far away from here. Their vocals are also more prominent than ever, accompanied on one piece by Stewart Lee, who previously guested on ‘The Feral Lands Volume 1’ in 2020 and lends a shadowy, lowkey contrast to the dreamier airborne textures on one of the EP’s highlights.
Nose to tail this one’s just achingly beautiful, delivering a quiet shock of just intonation tuned string cadence underlined with luxuriant bass tones in ‘Woven Branches hide the Sky’ that layer and ooze into more Gaelic sounding tones, before they foreground more flickering melodic sitar figures against humbly shy folk vocals in ’Stone Walls’, and land on the mind’s eye with masterfully bittersweet string and organ (?) tunings in the weepingly gorgeous, even cathartic centrepiece ’The Invisible Hour’ - one of the most striking pieces of music we’ve heard this year.
Lee’s vocal narration, mixed low into into the bowed sitar and helical duet of ‘Spend the Day with Me’ helps bring us back to earth somewhat, and ‘Wings were in my head as I walked’ polishes us off with an instrumental elision of traditions that highlights an ancient common musical language between East West.
My head is burning from this one. 100% essential if you ask us.