Boomkat Product Review:
Hands-down, 2021’s most watchable series closes with a haunting finale, pitching Cannell & Ellis in moonlit harmony and folkwizened dissonance that shivers the timbers, we tell thee.
Initially conceived at the back end of 2020 with a live performance-free calendar ahead of them, string virtuosos and singers Laura Cannell & Kate Ellis embarked on what has proven to be a highly rewarding endeavour with their monthly ‘Sounds’ releases. They had only recorded together a few times at the start of the series, but have found an uncommonly gorgeous, mutual voice over their release arc, drawing on the rich histories and vernaculars of British and Irish folk and medieval musicks and revitalising them with a intuitive, ever-evolving tekkerz that make their combined centuries (millennia, even?) of inspiration feel immediate yet enduringly timeless.
After roping in some class guests (Stewart Lee, Rhodri Davies, Milène Larsson, Chris Watson) along their winding path, the ‘December’ instalment wreathes a crowning glory for the series, with its wide open wave off ‘Fare Thee Well Together’ depicting Laura’s vocals in the middle of a frozen soundfield, warmed by godlight choral harmonies and piquant birdsong, with Ellis’ cello coda sending us into a swoon. ‘In Memory & Light’ and ‘We Curcled The Sun’ they return to hearty, hearthside forms of swirling instrumental string dialogue, aching for a visual analog that will soon enough etch itself on the mind’s eye (but, where are the film call ups for these two?), and ‘For The Equinox’ locates them cementing the series’ mythologic and natural world impetus skyward, searching, eternal with something that sounds like it could have appeared on a Folkways set from a parallel path where this outlier island ended up backpedalling into detachment from progression and some kind of dark future run by robber barons and… Oh wait a second that sounds too familiar.
Get the whole series and do it in one over the winter months for best rewards.