House And Land - House And Land [LP]
House and Land is the duo of Sally Anne Morgan (fiddle, shruti box, banjo, vocals) and Sarah Louise Henson (vocals, 12-string guitar, shruti box, bouzouki). Sally and Sarah started playing together after Sarah opened for The Black Twig Pickers for whom Sally plays the fiddle. While the duo initially formed through a mutual appreciation of shared traditions and hand-hewn practices, they both also viewed their pairing through the lens of their shared love of modern, experimental and minimal music. ''We honor what two voices and bodies can do in one moment in time. It totally shapes our sound.''
On House and Land, the duo showcase a variety of Appalachian music styles, incorporating elements of drone, microtonality and minimalism, each often drawing connections to nature, and linked to music across a spectrum that evokes trance and other spiritual states, which can also be seen in artists like Agnes Martin and composers such as Eliane Radigue and John Luther Adams. The material on their debut is drawn from traditional southern hymns and Appalachian ballads that originated in England and elsewhere hundreds of years ago. Microtonality is as essential to certain Appalachian vocal styles as it is to a Tony Conrad composition and the often spare adornment to their singing puts these complexities on full display.
House and Land's music is less adorned and certainly less processed than much popular music today. The hand-hewn quality transports the listener to another time the way a Shirley and Dolly Collins recording can. The themes are universal and the songs intergenerational. ''Home Over Yonder,'' for example, came from the singing of Frankie Duff of Lexington, Kentucky, who passed away in January 2017 at the age of 102. While there is a temptation to view this music nostalgically, this would be a mistake. This living music is constantly being rearranged. The obscure songs on this album, like many well-known traditional songs, are in a state of nearly constant evolution, a testament to their continued significance. Naturalistic and entirely modern, the music of House and Land continues this tradition with its own contemporary and beautiful interpretations.
1. Wandering Boy
2. Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah
3. False True Lover
4. Listen to the Roll
5. The Day is Past and Gone
6. Home Over Yonder
8. Rich Old Jade
9. Feather Dove
10. Unquiet Grave
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