For Folk’s Sake review by Becky Varley-Winter
This debut from dreamy Minko is a departure from electronica (“I packed away my samplers and synthesisers and went to live by the sea in Cornwall and filled the room with acoustic instruments,” she tells us), and her arrangements show a subtle experimental bent reminiscent of Julia Holter, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Andrew Bird.
Minko is obsessed with “amalgamating sounds”, setting a clear, insouciant voice against cool, softly-layered backdrops of multiple instruments (she lists piano, guitar, ukelele, glockenspiel, flute, organ, the noise of grasshoppers…).
Sybil of Delphi is apparently the first installment in a chain of more than fifty songs. There’s depth and variety in the four on display here; the title track weaves doomily poetic lyrics against a gentle backdrop of lapping waves and whistling, while ‘Lemon Psyche’ is more sixties, all glamorous languor, sipping cocktails by the pool.
‘I Am The Bridge’, meanwhile, is the most carefree, meanderingly childlike, with a hum in the background that gives its naivety and nostalgia a crystallised, clear-eyed edge; the end of the song becomes haunting.
‘I Dive Again’ takes a bleaker turn, swells of piano mimicking Einaudi and the deep grey sea, which is a presence throughout the EP.
My song ‘Lemon Psyche’ opened ‘The Hello Goodbye Show’ on Resonance FM last Saturday. Its a great Saturday lunchtime show with lots of experimental left field music, so worth a listen. Its the first song on the link below 🙂
‘One Snowflake’ is a spoken word poem to music, using a Fender Rhodes and an Indian drone instrument, the shruti box. The video is a collaboration with Nick Duffy which explores the nature of performance in short films. It started out as an experiment on a mobile phone a few years ago. I wanted to see how good the video quality was so I put on one of my favorite obscure 60s songs, Flowers by Ferris Wheel (impossible to find on vinyl), and danced away.
Just recently I found this bit of bogus footage and we decided to play with it. We filmed the sequence onto tape and put it back onto digital which altered the texture dramatically. We also extracted the music. It was interesting at this point because without without the blended synchronizaton of motion and music it became more documentary in style, a sort of memory from the past, rather than a dance. The mood changed to something more haunting and nostalgic without the music.
This disjunction between the dancer and the music creates a feeling of two places in time; past and present, and induces a feeling of memory and nostalgia as if looking back at the footage at a later time with reflective eyes and observing this lost fragment of happiness from the past.
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My album is now ready and my final job is to work out the order of the songs. This is the fun part and I have decided to use good old paper and pen and scissors to get me inspired, alongside the music itself. But the only danger is the temptation to record yet another song! Which I keep doing and I actually know now that you can’t write forever. You have to stop and pull it all together into a complete whole that has a start and finish and is accessible by someone who is new to your territory. It is a kind of curating or choreography – taking the listener through a sonic emotional journey through a spectrum of feelings and sounds. I hope to take my listener to places they know and places they don’t – into deep delving underwater spaces and then to light sunny playful ones and back again, all the while keeping their ears fascinated and fed with curiosities. So, back to work…
Here are a couple of the pages from the ‘liner notes’ of my single. I always loved the liner notes of albums, reading about the songs or who played what. The trouble with buying mp3s is you don’t get this part unless it is added as an extra. But I think it’s a great tradition and we need to keep it alive even if it is a digital pdf!