This is the debut album from musician/songwriter Knomad Spock, interweaving influences from folk scenes across the world, combining with spoken word poetry, found sounds and a vocal style that complements the genre fluid music of the ten tracks.
To get an idea of the scope of the album listen to opener ‘Papillon’ as you watch the accompanying video of deserted post-industrial London buildings. The song is easy-paced and mellow, the sparse instruments weaving around the main bass note before a new musical section heralds the yearning of repeated lines ‘….if we can make it through the winter….if we can make it through the storm…’. Contrast this minor epic with the pastoral springtime optimism of ‘Gift’. The video is as refreshing as the mandolin that shines through on this timeless and airy folk.
The urgency and abrupt percussion of ‘Egypt’ is countered by the gentle, haunting swing of ‘Spirit Level’ and the longer free-form part whispered meditation of ‘Know’. Just when you think the collection is moving into ambience and dreamier territory the unpredictable ‘Poles’ breaks all the genre rules. The Dylanesque opening falls apart after key lyric ‘…and the oceans laughed when she said I can swallow you whole…and I’m in the middle…’ and turns into a wandering dissonance of orchestral sounds and wayward vocals.
After that shining avant-garde diversion the album plays out with more surprises; first the time bending symphonic fireworks after the fuse-burning introduction of ‘Ballad’ and then the final evocation and reminiscence in the spoken word, piano and natural sounds of ‘Maps’, bringing this creatively rich collection to a close and staying in the listener’s mind for long after.
Originally from Australia and now based in Berlin (via South Korea), Eilis Frawley uses drums and electronics on this new EP as soundboards for her spoken words. With experience of playing in many bands and interweaving loops and effects with her own virtuoso performances she has created a unique fusing of musical ideas and challenging lyrics.
‘Human’ starts with a distant chiming keyboard motif and pensive thoughts, ‘….how do you know if you have reached your potential….potential is best kept as exactly that….something on the horizon but is never reached…’ alternating with a pulsing driving fuzzed beat. Eventually the two themes clash and bond.
The lusher tones of ‘Gone’ soon explode into a percussion workout; it sounds like you are listening to two accidently overlaid tracks trying to escape each other. As on all of the EP, there is something about the clear vocal delivery that makes you hang on for the next line; these pieces are overflowing with ideas.
‘Darkest Truth ‘ is a very harrowing recollection over an unrelenting industrial backing, while ‘Broken Ankles’ is a hard hitting ecological lament. ‘Louise’ is a sad tale but lightened by a delicate touch modern jazz accompaniment.
The martial drumming introduction of ‘Stats’ heralds a litany of depressing numerical facts, delivered with angry resignation. Pre-released, this is a pivotal track on the collection.
As the mainly instrumental ‘End’ plays out, you realise how good this fiery drumming, atmospheric keys and addictive words would sound in a live performance, but while we long for those distant times this EP is an excellent listen.