Sarah Louise

★★★ Night­time Birds And Morn­ing Stars

Mojo (UK) - - Filter Albums - David Shep­pard


Am­bi­tious fourth from North Carolina folk ex­per­i­menter. Sarah Louise Hen­son’s pre­vi­ous al­bums have demon­strated her fa­cil­ity for wyrd Amer­i­cana and 12-string ex­tem­po­ri­sa­tion, with spring 2018’s Deeper Woods LP bring­ing her crys­talline vo­cals more to the fore. Night­time Birds And Morn­ing Stars dou­bles back on that tra­jec­tory and heads left, its eight en­velop­ing es­says fea­tur­ing live 12- and 6-string gui­tars ma­nip­u­lated and looped into ca­pa­cious sound­scapes, only oc­ca­sion­ally topped off by vo­cal salutes to na­ture and the mys­te­ri­ous heav­ens. Opener Day­break has in­ex­orably blos­som­ing lay­ers of am­bi­ent gui­tar, the even­tual vo­cal en­try akin to the first shafts of sun­light sud­denly il­lu­mi­nat­ing the dawn hori­zon. Things turn more ab­stract on An­cient In­tel­li­gence, with its wildly skit­ter­ing, pro­cessed note clus­ters and dis­tant, word­less ul­u­la­tions, while the ti­tle track seems to be sum­mon­ing the very uni­verse with its eerie e-bow drones and shards of fin­ger­picked gui­tar, like Rob­bie Basho reimag­ined by Alvin Lucier.

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