Wow, the first post for quite a while coupled with my first e-zine for some time too – it must be a leap year (although I’m a bit late for that too). Anyway here goes…
Unreliable Narrator is the latest e-zine project directly replacing my previous attempt An Fleghes Hager-Na Yu Canjeons. Why? Well you can read all about it within the pages of the zine which you can download from here or from Bill Burn’s excellent eFanzines.com.
The first issue also contains some stuff about Moore & Bolland’s The Killing Joke and letters of comment for the last An Fleghes zine.
In my ezine An Fleghes Hager-Na Yu Canjeons #2, I reviewed a fantastic gig at the Penryn café bar Miss Peapods involving the Bristolian musical duo The Hand. Here’s the opportunity to listen to a track yourself now.
To recap, The Hand are an acoustic duo featuring Rachael Dadd and Wig Smith. Both sing, play ukulele and assorted other string instruments; Wig also plays the African instrument the kora.
This is beautiful acoustic music featuring two complimentary voices singing in harmony, with improvised percussion and sympathetic fingerpicking and strumming. The Hand met when Rachael and Wig were working on the ferry boats around Bristol’s Floating Harbour and the lyrics of this song On We Skip seems to feature images from this time. As someone who lived there for five years, I now think of this song rather than anything by Massive Attack or Portishead when I think of Bristol. One of the things I love about it is how delicately it all fits together, with simplistic fingerpicking, tumbling impressionistic words and an intimate atmosphere. Listen closely, and if I’m right you can hear someone being shushed quite in one of the instrumental breaks. I suspect the track was recorded live in one take, which makes the musicianship even more impressive, and also gives the song a lovely organic feel.
I bought this at the Miss Peapod’s gig straight from the merch stand, and since then I’ve been meaning to purchase more from Rachael’s own website. There are some lovely homemade looking CDs there, as well as some great photos and videos. This all gives me hope. Why? Recently various cultural commentators have been talking up “the end of the music business” as illegal downloads and online sales have destroyed their traditional sales models. Often they neglect to mention that the same technology is freeing talented musicians to record what they want outside the record label system, and for the music to reach its own natural audience without the need for the involvement of restrictive middlemen. I like the way music has become more democratic – small is beautiful, and the diversity of different music available now is something I couldn’t have dreamt of even 10 years ago. The Hand are a shining example of how great music can thrive while giant record labels are busy trying to bolt the stable door long after the horses have gone.