Friday, July 19, 2019


Flutes are nice.

So soothing and pastoral…but they can turn on you! You know those late night TV psychological thrillers? Think of the parts that scared you: you knew something was up when the flute notes went ragged.

Byron Coley hates flutes. I think it has something to do with being traumatized by Jethro Tull in his teens. I’d think he’d like Daona, though: they wear animal masks and hang out in the forest just north of North London. Coley wears animal masks and hangs out in the forests of western Massachusetts. David Solomons & Fiona McAlister make up the core duo and for all I know could still be in the forest. England is still pretty good for Wi Fi reception, you know. The duo play everything on the CD you hear, except for the guest spots & drums. There is no traditional rock drum kit on this Mama Heartbeat for YOU! Also, they only use flutes when appropriate, meaning not all that much. This speaks well of them & we’ll talk about those guest spots later.

In this heady mix, late-night suspense soundtracks, latter-day 20th/21st century composers & their electrical technical support staff, thumbprints of Canterbury prog-rock caterwauling , ceremonial aspects of Nico’s The Marble Index , and other less discernible input material combine for a fine evening listening experience. No wait, one more thing: Fiona McAlister may have never, ever performed at the local Maypole dances, but she has an uncanny olde English folk vocal vibe sometimes. They even do a version of the traditional Reynardine. Thing is, they would probably get kicked off the local Pole Dance committee toot sweet if they ever bothered to show up for the fa la la la choruses. It’s all still teddibly English, so adjust your fog machine settings appropriately.

All the material on the disc is written and performed by the duo, with the exception of the aforementioned Reynardine & the standard Lush Life. To the duo’s credit, the relatively straight delivery of the latter is scientifically filtered to create a just off-kilter perception that may have already been there to begin with.

There are a couple of really cool collaborations done presumably through the magic of Internet drop boxes. One is Angel, which features UK free jazz Evan Parker saxophonist doing his thang, and the Third Part of the Night, featuring Edgar Breau doing his. Both of those cats wail swell in their own respective contexts. Bully!

Overall, you get over an hour of listening so I would have to rate this 8 out of 10 black capes.

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