Stations Of The Sun, Transits Of The Moon (DV008)

by United Bible Studies

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Originally Released on Deserted Village as DV08 in 2003 and reissued on Barl Fire in 2006

"A melancholy and intimate set of tunes. For the Stations sessions, the students divided themselves into duos and trios to focus on making short tunes rather than frenetic improvisation which characterizes their live performances."

"Here's a swell surprise, a CD-R reissue of the very first United Bible Studies album, 'Stations of the Sun, Transits of the Moon', this time on the excellent Barl Fire label. UBS is a psychedelic (free) folk/chamber music ensemble and the flagship group in Ireland's revered Deserted Village collective. They combine rainy-day strums and fingerpicking with a more damaged improvised delirium that sounds sort of like AMM gone primitive Irish folk. Undeniably human music that ranges from the luminous frozen snapshots of piano and bows on 'Ice Forms on Obelisk' (these shorter instrumentals really burrow deep) to the expanded electronics, chimes and scrapes of 'Everytime We Find a Dead Viking' which builds magnificently with ominous echo bass reverberating beneath distant plucks, rabid squawking horns and minimal percussive clatter that all meld as an orgiastic feast of sawing, scraping and blowing aural catharsis. 8/10" - Foxy Digitalis

"'Stations/Transits' is a reissue of the debut UBS CD-R on Deserted Village originally released at the end of 2003 and an artefact that probably stayed in stock as long as morning dew on a summer's day. Barl Fire have done their usual pristine packaging job, replacing the stunning colour sun/moon art of the original with iconography from the Rosarium Philosophorum printed letterpress style on high-quality cardstock. In a delicious irony typical of the CD-R micro label scene, this new Barl Fire version is itself already sold out at the source. Seriously, a CD issue is needed at some point. Musically, 'Stations/Transits' finds the mysterious "students" dividing themselves into duo and trios and working mostly (final track excepted) on vignetted aspects of the UBS sound rather than the kind of free-jazz meets hippie-freakout improvisation that characterises their live recordings, as documented by the subsequent and mighty live 'Airs of Sun and Stone' release. Delicate, melancholy acoustic airs are the order of the day, as various permutations evoke landscapes seen from odd angles in strange light. Close your eyes during tracks like 'Backwards across the Burren' or 'Shanaglish Cemetery' and you are instantly transported to the places in question. The complexity of their influence pool - Anne Briggs, Shirley Collins and Vashti Bunyan on one hand, Current 93 and Sol Invictus on the other hand, with the Incredible String Band watching over all - results in tracks that vary from contemplative Faheyeqsue finger-picked guitar instrumentals with flute and harp to others that trade in AMM improvisational space weaving using horns and electronics to fully fledge freak-outs. The one exception to the prevailing exploratory vignette methodology is the 17 minute 'Everytime We Find a Dead Viking', which builds from a barely audible ghost world of sawing drones and plucked notes on banjo and harp through percussive forest folk glades akin to the spaces created by Avarus or Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood to an explosive finale made up of maniacal guitar, distressed cymbals and squonking horn mayhem that screams "we are here, covered in furs and daubed with arcane symbols". Find a copy somehow!" - Terrascope

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released 01 January 2003

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United Bible Studies Ireland

Mostly based in Ireland and the UK UBS have taken on many forms since forming in 2001. UBS is rooted in folk music but has taken many tangents. Live shows throughout Ireland and Britain and the USA have seen them wildly improvise with up to twelve members or play straight trad. "The Dreamlike States Of United Bible Studies" documents their US tour and their folk/exploratory approaches. ... more

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