The Rowan Amber Mill | Midsummers

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Folk: Psych-folk Folk: Acid Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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by The Rowan Amber Mill

A new and exquisite take on pastoral psychedelic-folk, with echoes of The Wicker Man and natures elements.
Genre: Folk: Psych-folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sumer Is a Cumen In (Olde and Moderne)
The Rowan Amber MIll
2:36 album only
2. Sumer Is a Cumen In (Medievale Carnivale)
The Rowan Amber MIll
1:21 album only
3. Greenwood
The Rowan Amber MIll
6:14 album only
4. Blood and Bones (2009)
The Rowan Amber MIll
4:00 album only
5. Corndolly
The Rowan Amber MIll
3:10 album only
6. The Paper Owl and Golden Hare
The Rowan Amber MIll
3:39 album only
7. Spinning and Singing
The Rowan Amber MIll
3:23 album only
8. Sumer Is a Cumen In (Darke Instrumentale)
The Rowan Amber MIll
2:05 album only
9. Midsummers
The Rowan Amber MIll
3:01 album only
10. Blood and Bones (2008)
The Rowan Amber MIll
4:50 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Midsummers - sleeve notes.

Over a period of 18 months, 20 songs were written. In the process of selecting which songs to record for a CD, it became apparent that, unconsciously, many of the songs included consistent seasonal and pastoral themes. From the 20 songs written, these ones, threaded around feelings and elements of Summer, form Midsummers.

Sumer Is A Cumen In: An English rounds song composed sometime between 1280 and 1350, marking Spring’s end and the approaching Summer. Its appearance at the climax of film ‘The Wicker Man’, is one of the most evocative uses of a song anywhere in cinema. It’s such a great song that we recorded three entirely different versions of it.

Greenwood: A song conceived as part of an alternative soundtrack to the film ‘Valerie and Her Week of Wonders’.

Blood and Bones (2009): A new (very different) version of a song that originally appeared on our download-only release ‘folk devils and moral panics’, and the pysch-folk compilation ‘Beyond The Pale’. An extended 2009 version will appear on a darkly folk compilation near the end of 2009.

Corndolly: The making of Corn Dollies from the last sheaf of the harvest is a custom dating back to Pagan times. This song was originally going to be called either ‘Countryman's Favour’ or ‘Corn Maiden’ - both of which are forms of Corn Dollies.

The Paper Owl and Golden Hare: This song was inspired by, amongst other things, a beautiful old folk art tile (thanks Lori) of an owl, an extremely tatty old hare, and partly from the ‘The Owl Service’ novel and its 1970s children’s TV adaptation.

Spinning and Singing: An updated version of another song
appearing on ‘folk devils….’. Written somewhere between Trumptonshire, a Canterbury Tale and three (derelict) windmills surrounding an oft-remembered and still familiar village.

Midsummers: Marking the journey from the end of Spring, through
the death of Summer with the burning of the fields, and the start of Autumn (which is another story, another set of songs in fact).

Midsummers reviews:

Review by - The Shadows "I was waiting quite impatiently for this album to come. I discovered THE ROWAN AMBER MILL though MySpace, and have been listening to their preview songs many a times the last year. There is something in their psychedelic, pastoral folk that I find very, very attractive. Can't put my finger on what though. I just get the feeling that this is so very special every time I hear it. And I love Kim's haunting, somewhat deep vocals what that they do to lift the sound high above ground.
So, ”Midsummers” is the simple title. The CD comes in a simple cardboard digipak with a sticker on, holding all the artwork. From a little tray inside the packaging you can find a sheet with the titles of the tracks and some information about each and every one of them. I'd say the design and the artwork is amazing.
And I'd say the same about the music. It's hard to categorize and hard to describe, but to call this neo-Wicker Man music would be pretty fair I think. It's mysterious, darkly crafted, psychedelic folk with lots of interesting and unexpected turns taken. Yet, at the same time, it's all so very obvious.
The instrumentation is a strange blend of today and yesterday. I especially fancy the hollow sounding flutes in ”Sumer is a Cumen In” , a fantastic song that appears in several different dresses through out these 10 tracks.
I also LOVE the ninth track, the title one called, you've guessed it, ”Midsummers” , that seems to summarize the album by throthrowing out short clips from each track over the sounds of a flickering fire.
Too bad the album is over pretty much just after it starts. Yes, it suffers from shortness, but then again, see it from the bright side; that way nothing is stopping you from playing it again and again and 10 times per day!
I'd say that THE ROWAN AMBER MILL is for me today, what THE OWL SERVICE was for me last year. And their album later appeared when I summarized 2008's best albums. That statement should hopefully leave you exited enough to go look for this album. And I'm pretty sure you'll agree with me when I say that THE ROWAN AMBER MILL might just be one of the most promising folk acts to date. ”Midsummers” is beautiful, interesting, intriguing and a wonderful craft.
Score: 88%" .

Review by - (in their July 09 rumbles section) reads:
"Regular readers will remember us applauding the ‘Beyond the pale’ psych-folk compilation earlier this year, and in particular a contribution by The Rowan Amber Mill, which we described as “intense and magnificent, a hypnotic banjo adding menace while an incessant drone nags away at the back of your mind”. The song was ‘Blood and Bones’, and appears again in a considerably reworked form on the band’s CD-EP ‘Midsummers’ on which the trio of Stephen Stannard, Kim Guy and Terry Stacey gambol through a collection of English folk song, from the traditional (the 14th century ‘Sumer is a Cumen In’, a version of which appeared as the climax to the movie ‘Wicker Man’), to the contemporary (the superb ‘Spinning and Singing’, featuring gorgeous harmonies and pastoral slide guitar) via ‘The Paper Owl and Golden Hare’, a jaunty flute-driven folk song inspired partly by the novel The Owl Service and the 1970s TV adaptation. Although unrelated, if you are already a fan of folk-psych outfit The Owl Service you’ll love these guys too. Top marks for packaging as well – my copy came in a hand-crafted card cover (makes note to self: write and ask them where they found the parts to craft this, as it’s truly exquisite)" .

A review by Fatea Magazine: "Some songs become so associated with an event that people forget to perform it, "Sumer Is A Cumen" is such a song, forever linked to "The Wickerman" so power to The Rowan Amber Mill for reclaiming it on the mystical and majestic "Midsummers" album, an album of English folklore and themes. You can almost smell the cut grass in the hay meadow, watching the windmill turn in the breeze whilst enjoying a countryside picnic and yet at the same time be reminded that nature can be dark and beautiful as well as pretty and faye. This album catches both aspects.".



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