Boomkat Product Review:
The North Sea is the recording moniker of Digitalis Industries supremo Brad Rose, who over the last few years has been bringing together some of the most consistently compelling artists in the field of avant-garde psychedelics, artists such as Hush Arbors, Tom & Christina Carter, Gown and James Blackshaw.
It would be perfectly reasonable then to deduce that Rose must know a thing or two about this particular strain of underground music, and "Exquisite Idols" (Rose's first solo album proper) demonstrates this amply. This isn't the first time Rose has appeared on Type, many of you will remember his monumentally far-out collaboration with fellow folk-drone travellers Rameses III (on last year's "Night Of The Ankou"), but Exquisite Idols is an entirely different proposition which centres around experimental approaches to traditional song structures.
The work of Keith Wood (aka the aforementioned Hush Arbors) would actually provide a close reference point for this album. Rose and Wood share a similar approach to skewing the traditional and re-spinning it as something eerily otherworldy. Take the 15th century styling of 'We Conquered The Golden Age' for example: it absorbs the archaic drone of Tara Burke's Fursaxa recordings and incorporates it into upbeat, half-murmured outsider-ish song craft. 'Take It From Me Brother Moses' condenses this idea even further -with two short minutes of banjo-led, goodtime Americana all recorded with a hazy, homespun quirkiness.
"Exquisite Idols" is not entirely divorced from Type's customarily experimental mindset: 'Eternal Birds' is filled with creaking, elongated chords, clattering percussion and lo-fi field recordings, while 'Cover Me With Knives' sets gamelan-like percussion against swirling noise loops. Not only does "Exquisite Idols" weigh in as another fine addition to Type's increasingly broad catalogue, it's a reminder of what made this new wave of folk music sound 'free' in the first place. Magic.