Thursday, September 28, 2006
The Memory Band - Apron Strings CD
***The Memory Band began life at the turn of the century, the progeny of one-time Gorodisch electronicist Stephen Cracknell, his computer and a lot of imagination. In addition to releasing Gorodisch records on the Leaf label, Cracknell founded the legendary Trunk label (reissuers of The Wicker Man soundtrack) and spent a short stint playing bass with Badly Drawn Boy.
The group's second album, Apron Strings, is a sublime blend of acoustic folk and homespun electronics. While many tracks were recorded live in the studio, others were created from loops recorded and manipulated by computer. Machines haven't completely paved over the hedgerows, however; alongside Cracknell, Apron Strings features the very non-machine-like talents of singer Nancy Wallace, violinist Jennymay Logan (of the highly respected Elysian Quartet), well-travelled violist Rob Spriggs and drummer / rocket scientist-in-residence Rhys Morgan. Adem, Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) and Simon Lord (Simian, Garden) also turn in sparkling cameos.
The songs mix arrangements and bastardizations of traditional pieces-- a summery take on the trad "Blackwaterside" as beloved of Anne Briggs and Burt Jansch; a genuinely moving take on Irish folk gem "Green Grows The Laurel"-- with original compositions and unlikely cover versions (Carly Simon's "Why" and Ronnie Lane's "The Poacher"), to make an album both modern and timeless, completely unconstrained by most people's ideas of "folk music."
Apron Strings is released via the gentle might of Dicristina in North America and Peacefrog In Europe.
Stephen Cracknell known through previous work as Leaf recording artist Gorodisch and as a former member of Badly Drawn Boy
A 21st Century take on Penguin Cafe Orchestra...i.e. beautiful and pastoral music