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Fovea Hex, "Huge"

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This is the second in Fovea Hex’s Neither Speak nor Remain Silent series. It is a logical continuation from Bloom but it is more dramatic and beautiful than its predecessor. Clodagh Simonds, the centre of the Fovea Hexverse, has outdone herself this time; it is truly an astonishing work.


Die Stadt

Simonds' words are concise and dense. These aren’t just lyrics but carefully constructed poetry. On paper they take up little space but on the CD she instils a mighty power in them when she sings. This is especially evident in “Huge (The Joy of Trouble),” which opens the CD. It takes up from where the previous volume left off. Simonds is joined again by Brian Eno but this time Roger Doyle and Hugh O’Neill have been added to Fovea Hex’s ranks. The music is subtle and multidimensional. Doyle and Simonds both play glass which gives a fragile and ethereal sound and complements her vocals wonderfully.

The Hafler Trio’s Andrew McKenzie also makes a reappearance on “A Song for Magda.” This instrumental track (well it features voices but their effect is atmospheric as opposed to lyrical) is positively chaotic by Fovea Hex standards. McKenzie’s doesn’t hold as much sway on this as he did on Bloom. Colin Potter joins the group as a performer here and it is his influence that comes to the fore here. The music keeps shifting; it never stays still long enough for anything concrete to take hold. The only constant in the piece is Percy Jones’ remarkably deep fretless bass.

The final track on Huge, “While you’re Away,” is exceptional. Doyle plays more glass on this piece to create that delicate atmosphere again. Simonds plays a gentle rhythm on her harmonium and a small choir of herself, Laura Sheeran and Sarah McQuaid sing blissfully. The lyrics evoke the freedom and the greenness of the countryside: “I’m with the fox and goose my feet run wild and my tongue is loose.” Further adding to the beauty of the piece are the strings arranged and played by Cora Venus Lunny (daughter of the legendary Donal Lunny). Her arrangement is simply gorgeous. The song finishes with crystal clear recordings of a marsh warbler and a dipper, adding a stronger pastoral feeling to the music. I cannot get enough of this piece.

For the lucky few who got Huge early on, there is a bonus disc called “The Discussion” with McKenzie reassembling the material like he did with Bloom. The result is drastically different to what I encountered on the other disc. Whereas Simonds’ music seems very much to be based on earth, looking up, McKenzie’s reinterpretation of the material sounds like the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey should sound. It is celestial and magnificent.

Reading back on what I’ve written, the above could look like gross exaggeration. Huge is an absolutely stunning release which I urge people to get on board about. The one drawback is its brevity: at just under 20 minutes it is gone far too soon. However, being such a rich composition, it lends itself well to repeated listens.


Last Updated on Sunday, 18 June 2006 15:03  


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