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Fovea Hex, "Allure"

This release is a beautiful finish to Clodagh Simonds' beautiful Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent trilogy. It is as fabulous as the short previews available online have hinted it would be. There is a further increase in complexity and power, much like the progression from Bloom to Huge. The sound is less abstract but still ethereal, like a familiar setting enveloped in mist.

 

Die Stadt / Janet Records
 
Like the other two EPs, Allure is painfully brief (although at 25 minutes, it is significantly longer than the others) and is made up of three finely crafted pieces. As anticipated, the vocals throughout are exquisite. The lyrics convey a sense of extraordinary ordinariness, Simonds' knack for taking a normally unnoticed detail and turning it into something magical is strong. When she sings on the title track: "The sun pours in when the morning comes/And the floor's all gold," the effect is devastatingly moving. Allure is not just lyrically impressive, the music carries as much strength and emotion as Simonds' voice does. On "Allure," her words are backed by a gorgeous string arrangement delivered by John Contreras and Cora Venus Lunny. Both musicians playing to the mood of the song, Lunny's virtuosity shining through like the sun in the lyrics.

Lunny's father, Donal, makes an appearance playing bodhran on the following piece, "Long Distance." Simonds manipulates the sound of his percussion into something completely unrecognisable, instead of the throbbing beat of the bodhran, there is instead a dripping rhythmic noise, completely unlike the instrument's distinct character. Surprisingly, Robert Fripp also turns up on this piece. Electric guitar is not an instrument I thought would have worked within Fovea Hex but Fripp does not disappoint and makes it work perfectly. His playing veers between the straightforward and the sublime, a feat he nearly always manages. "Long Distance" is the most dramatic piece to come out of the Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent series, it is a fitting climax to say the least.

Unfortunately, production delays have meant that the bonus disc featuring The Hafler Trio's reworking of Allure is still not ready but will be sent out at a later date. What information is available about it is intriguing: it will be an hour long (much longer than the previous bonus discs in this series) and it will be the last new Hafler Trio work to be made available in a traditional audio format. Aside from already finished works awaiting release and reissues, this is the final audible broadcast from Andrew McKenzie. It is fittingly entitled "An Answer," although I expect like most of McKenzie's work, this answer will be cryptic and some time will have to spent thinking of the right question to go with it. Plans to move The Hafler Trio in a new direction are afoot but what direction this will be is still a mystery.

I cannot express how much I have enjoyed these EPs; each one has been a new exploration in beauty. My one hope is that Simonds follows her own tenet and does not remain silent. Her recent work both with Current 93 and Matmos suggests that she is eager to be heard but it is no surprise that her voice has been strongest with Fovea Hex. As such, I eagerly await further releases from this project and in the meantime, I will enjoy listening and re-listening to Allure as much as I have enjoyed the other two EPs.

samples:

 

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