Rebsie Fairholm | Seven Star Green

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Seven Star Green

by Rebsie Fairholm

Dark and haunting English psych-folk piped straight in from the underworld.
Genre: Folk: Psych-folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. The Cursing Song
4:32 $0.99
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2. Our Captain Cried
4:00 $0.99
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3. Molotov Spongecake
5:01 $0.99
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4. Let No Man Steal Your Thyme
3:24 $0.99
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5. Perigee Organdie
4:45 $0.99
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6. Pavane
5:12 $0.99
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7. Minstrel Boy
6:12 $0.99
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8. Central Line
1:24 $0.99
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9. Love Is Pleasing
2:14 $0.99
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10. The Bitter Withy
5:27 $0.99
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11. From A Coffin
5:58 $0.99
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12. Lyke Wake Dirge
4:57 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
REVIEW by David Kidman, of fRoots magazine

Rebsie Fairholm - Seven Star Green (Sonic Spongecake)

The cryptically-titled Seven Star Green is a real sit-up-and-take-notice gem which has landed on my desk out of nowhere. This latest (second) release from somewhat reclusive English psych-folk artist Rebsie sometimes seems so wilfully weird (even mildly intimidating, especially on first acquaintance) that it might stem less from the “cornfield edge” of psych-folk that she professes to inhabit than from the alien crop circles within.

But challenge is a good thing of course. No two tracks sound alike, for Rebsie effectively raises two fingers to genres (and listener expectations); yet the album’s unity is provided by Rebsie’s haunting, mesmerising singing voice - ethereal and breathy but solid-textured (a hint of Hope Sandoval perhaps), at once soothing and disturbing. It’s couched in compelling, and sometimes quite radical, musical settings that form a well-defined presence: a purposeful ambience that can’t be tagged merely ambient. Textures (created in collaboration with Rebsie’s “alchymical muse” Daniel Staniforth) are both adventurous and sophisticated, layers carefully nurtured from a slew of “synths and midi instruments”, cello and assorted guitars (acoustic, classical, electric) yet neither swamping nor compromising the vocal input.

The disc’s opening and closing salvos are outstanding, beginning with The Cursing Song (from the pen of R.J. Stewart), a sinister incantation set to a richly stately chordal pulse with sparky, exotic touches. This is followed by Rebsie’s atmosphere-drenched, sombrely gull-bedecked rendition of Our Captain Cried (the first of the disc’s six distinctively visionary interpretations of traditional songs). The closing bookend is a powerfully dark triptych: a compulsively dramatic tribal-trance take on The Bitter Withy with a spine-tinglingly eerie tintinnabulating coda, leading to the intensely fragile, emotionally charged pleading of From A Coffin (by Rebsie’s songwriting friend Miriena Jayne) and closing with Lyke Wake Dirge – here a sweeping processional through the Imagined Village accompanied by distorted electronic ghosts (and a completely different treatment to the pastoral one on the recent Owl Service EP The Bitter Night, to which Rebsie contributed vocals).

Between those extremities, there’s a lush Let No Man Steal Your Thyme (illustrating Rebsie’s “impulsive creation of orchestrated folksong”), an exquisitely delicate guitar-and-cello-flecked Perigee Organdie (replete with hushed poetic imagery), and a flawlessly harmonised rendition (in French) of a 16th century Pavane, after which a chilling (post-holocaust?) version of Minstrel Boy brings discordant synth drones, treated vocals and dramatic percussion effects, capped by a blistering, swirling prog guitar solo (Dick Langford).

Rebsie also tosses us unsuspecting listeners a couple of serious curveballs, in the form of her own Molotov Spongecake (an ominously edgy Magazine-Eurhythmic-style confection set to a slow-chugging B52s riff) and a (priceless) breezy electropop jingle in praise (honestly!) of the Central Line penned by London-based beat poet Praveen Manghani. All in all, a proudly, determinedly wayward yet often startlingly original record: one that won’t prove at all easy to ignore should it come your way.

www.rebsiefairholm.co.uk

David Kidman December 2009

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Reviews


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John Stebbe

Great album!
Singer Rebsie Fairholm combines an understated yet passionate vocal style with a love for modern settings of folk tunes of the past. Especially moving is "Our Captain Cried," a ballad about a young woman saying goodbye to the sailor who has just captured her heart. Not all is pain and sorrow on this album, however, as seen in "Central Line," an upbeat synth-based transportation song. And exquisite is the word for "Perigee Organdie," with gorgeous acoustic guitar and cello. "Perigee Organdie" is a samba-like tune which Jobim would have been proud to claim. Rebsie's voice speaks across the miles and the years, direct to your heart. She will move you -- don't pass this one up!
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Jude Cowan

Psych Folk Masterpiece
A wonderful album from Rebsie. I became aware of her music this year and I'm very glad I did. This album is both traditional and modern. It's very well produced and arranged. Very moving, and impressive mix of stories and moods through some ambitious and thoughtful instrumentation. Rebsie's spirit, optimistic, tuneful, sympathetic, thoughtful, intelligent moves throughout some very diverse pieces.
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