Soon to be reissued on vinyl by Golden Pavillion.
'For many readers, Michael Tanner (Plinth) will be the entry point for United Bible Studies, a collective that also includes Richard Moult and Áine O’Dwyer and has been active for over a decade. For most of the last ten years, the collective has demonstrated a love for medieval music and mythology, operating in the same general vein as Dead Can Dance, although painting with a different tonal palette. With 2010′s The Gascoigne Observatory, the collective seemed to make a shift, concentrating on extended studies in the Richard Skelton vein, while continuing their love for traditional instrumentation. Spoike, recorded for a 2009 festival, combines Tanner’s bowed loops and glass harmonica with the sharper tones of piano and harp, adding guitar, tin whistle and voice for a well-rounded production.
In its folk-like moments, “The Shore That Fears the Sea” in particular, one can hear echoes of such Dead Can Dance favorites as “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”, but despite such resonant vocal segments, Spoicke is primarily an instrumental album. The two set pieces, the 17-minute “Black Matthew 1″ and the 15-minute “Hazlehurst”, are lyric-free, the second incorporating sparse vox only for the delivery of notes. “Black Matthew 1″ unfolds like a candlelit improvisation section, a vat of swirling elements eventually coalescing into an astonishingly convincing concoction. In the closing third the drones begin to dissipate, allowing the listener to concentrate on the purity of notes and chords. “Hazlehurst” seems altogether more composed, the piano setting the stage for an array of other instruments and guests to enter. By the full finale, the piece evolves into a small symphony, expansive in both participation and tone. After a decade, United Bible Studies continues to present its best work, an indication that even more mesmerizing works are yet to come. (Richard Allen - A Closer Listen)
released November 2, 2014
Recorded by Berry Kamer and VPRO
David Colohan: Voice, Lap Steel Guitar, Tin Whistle, Electric Guitar
Richard Moult: Piano
Aine O'Dwyer: Harp, Voice
Gavin Prior: Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar, Electronics
Oscar Strik: Percussion
Michael Tanner: Guitar, Bowed loops, Voice, Sampled Glass Harmonica
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