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(47:31; Wise Queen Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Orchid House 5:19 2. Valley 5:18 3. Incantation 5:43 4. Hungry Ghost 3:57 5. Bloodfox 4:26 6. River 4:45 7. Chapel Bell 4:42 8. The Lake 4:45 9. Twisted Tree 4:19 10. Lifeboat 4:17 LINE UP : Talitha Rise - vocals, piano, keyboards, guitars, bass, percussion, harmonium, psaltery Martyn Barker - drums, percussion, guitarett, guitars, bass, keyboards, synthesizers, psaltery, vocals with: Helen Ross - violin Ella Partington - fiddle Arnulf Linder - cello, bass Juldeh Camara - fiddle Mark Prentice - bass Jon Farey - French horn Rory McFarlane - bass Ian Burdge - cello Vincent Greene - viola Calina De La Mare - violin Julia Singleton - violin Peter Yates - guitars, EBow
Prolusion. UK project Talitha Rise was the artist name chosen by singer and musician Jo Beth Young when she made her debut as a recording artist. She released one EP and one full length album under that name, prior to switching to Rise and then to her birth name as her artist name of choice. "An Abandoned Orchid House" dates back to 2018, was released through the label Wise Queen Records, and is the sole full length studio album released under the Talitha Rise moniker.
Analysis. It is a very distinct style of music that is explored on this album, and while folk music is at the root of everything here, and really without all that much of a progressive content, the main association I get when I listen to this production is that myths and legends may well have been just as important as the musical style in terms of defining the moods and atmospheres explored. Because this is an album experience that comes with more of an otherworldly feel than anything else. Folk music elements are central throughout of course. While I'm not an expert by far I believe I can hear inspirations from both old English and Celtic folk music in the landscapes explored here, with the piano and the acoustic guitar providing many important lead motifs and a minor plethora of additional instruments emphasizing the more folk music oriented aspects of the material, alongside the perhaps more occasional use of vocal melodies with a presumed folk music origin. Some elements of acoustic rock are a part of the experience too, and on an occasion or two the songs do walk inside of a more defined progressive folk rock context too. With perhaps a bit of an associated affiliation for the compositions that use orchestral inspired overlays. The essential part of this album are the vocals however. Young opts for a tone and timbre with more of a naive sounding quality in most of the songs here, which gives the songs a striking mood and atmosphere, and opts for a strong use of her voice rather than a more distinctly powerful one, with the vocals being more tight and hard than rich and full. On the occasions where she choose to go for a less naive sounding mode of delivery the effects are of course all the more striking for it. But it is the use of vocal harmonies, vocal reverbs and backing vocal effects that transforms this album into something else. The striking and haunting landscapes conjured up by this use and display of the vocals are of the kind that makes you look for fairies and elves in your immediate surroundings and the kind of sounds you easily could imagine would entice a nearby unicorn. This isn't a feature in all the songs of course, but it is a presence in the greater majority of them. I also note that on some of the compositions with a bit more of an Earthen feel to them, associations towards good, old Clannad was a dimension that was very much present. All of which should give readers a fairly good indication about the type of music, moods and atmospheres I'm trying to describe here I would guess.
Conclusion. "An Abandoned Orchid House" is the kind of album I suspect the greater majority of those who love a more joyful and western oriented variety of fantasy fiction will love and treasure. This is music that really sends your mind over to a different world, moods and atmospheres that comes with properties one might describe as magical. As such this is a solid and high quality production through and through. For those more concerned about style and form: If an amalgam of English and Celtic folk music traditions with a bit of rock music elements added to the proceedings are of interest, and you have a soft spot for such music revolving around the lead vocals, this album should be right up your alley.
Progmessor: February 2023
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