Boomkat Product Review:
Using Welsh mythology to guide her process, Flora Yin-Wong juxtaposes phantasmagoric sonic elements - scorched earth noise, evocative field recordings, spiraling vocals and dubbed-out drones - to catalyze an isolation soundtrack that sounds completely rooted in Celtic history.
Undertaking an artist’s residency in an isolated cabin outside Machynlleth, north Wales, Yin-Wong's focus on acoustic ecology and the relationship between listener/environment is compelling. Machynlleth is home to The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) which investigates practical solutions to a carbon free future. Flora surveyed the area with the mind’s eye of her field recorder, capturing an impression of its uncanny landscape, often pocked by the scars of industrial mines, and wove those recordings with inspiration from a modern adaptation of The Mabinogion - the earliest set of Welsh myths - and vox by Berlin’s Rachel Lyn, evoking a dreamlike play of greyscale tonal contrasts rendered with subtly psychedelic use of natural and manufactured reverbs.
'Hanging A Thief' starts us off slowly, searing resonant dub chords into mic-rattling foley noise and spacious environmental recordings. It sounds like a mystical presence attempting to make itself known through sheets of rock, flickering in-and-out of view. On 'Unhappy Disclosures', she changes pace, using dissociated piano and string sounds to shimmer like watery pools underneath foggy clouds of vocals. 'Willow Bends' features Berlin-based DJ and composer Rachel Lyn, who speaks slowly over reverberating dark ambient groans that emanate from damp, cavernous depths. "These ancient and contemporary currents, carrying their secrets from up-stream," she murmurs.
Yin-Wong's understanding of the "acoustic ecology" theme is inspired, she's come up with music that sounds as contemporary as last year's ace "Holy Palm", but feels rooted in a past that bubbles beneath our feet. On the final, title track, vocals loop and swirl around clanging metal and searing feedback - like medieval church choirs singing folk songs in an abandoned factory as it disintegrates. Beautiful and ugly, all at once.