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Grave Blessings
     

Grave Blessings

by Unto Ashes
 
The accomplished blend of dreamed-of past and modern times that Unto Ashes has made its calling card continues with Grave Blessings, another moving and at times surprising combination of musical strands. The core duo of Michael Laird and Natalia Lincoln again find a way to suggest they're not so much recording a new album as

Overview

The accomplished blend of dreamed-of past and modern times that Unto Ashes has made its calling card continues with Grave Blessings, another moving and at times surprising combination of musical strands. The core duo of Michael Laird and Natalia Lincoln again find a way to suggest they're not so much recording a new album as channeling something mystic and strange -- yet like role model Current 93, their feet are firmly planted in the present. This can be seen in their choice of cover versions this time out -- reworking the Cure's elegant "The Drowning Man" into a female-sung understated death-folk string-tinged medieval dance, but tackling Flipper's doom-punk classic "The Way of the World" as a gently sung flute-and-guitar ballad is absolutely inspired, equaling Stone Breath's marvelous reworking of Pailhead's "Man Will Surrender." That this can fit on an album that starts with a musical interpretation of a 13th century French poem ("Tous Esforciez") and wraps up in part with part of the "Carmina Burana" seems appropriate. Lincoln's main singing counterpart and partner is Mariko, whose solo moment of glory appears near the end with "Lesson," which calls to mind the cool beauty of This Ascension at their best. The resultant blend of their alto and soprano vocals as well as Laird's, often in counterpoint, is easily the heart of the album; one can imagine the three doing this as an a cappella effort if they so chose. At the album's simplest, such as "Emptiness," with accompaniment provided mostly by Laird's acoustic guitar, the power of the singing is extremely clear, but the blend on the fuller arrangements is no less enthralling. Along with other entrancing digressions as the instrumental "The Turning," a showcase for Lincoln's piano work, and the murky, dank collage of "Four More Years" -- presumably a non-tribute to a certain 2004 election winner -- Grave Blessings is another powerful release from this astonishing group.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/12/2005
Label:
Projekt Records
UPC:
0617026017228
catalogNumber:
172

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Unto Ashes   Primary Artist
Catherine Bent   Cello
Natalia Lincoln   Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Alto (Vocal)
Katherine Burke   Guitar
Ericah Hagle   Soprano (Vocal)
Mariko   Vocals
Michael Laird   Dulcimer,Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Cello,Drums,Vocals,Tenor (Vocal),Hurdy-Gurdy,Hammered Dulcimer,Appalachian Dulcimer

Technical Credits

Maddy Prior   Arranger
June Tabor   Arranger
Simon Gallup   Composer
Laurence Tolhurst   Composer
Sam Rosenthal   Graphic Design
Hoashi Mariko   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Natalia Lincoln   Arranger,Composer
Qntal   Composer
Susanna Melendez   Composer
Michael Laird   Arranger,Composer

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