Benjamin Finney’s work has been reviewed on our blog in the past, as he’s really a fine guitarist, but it finally dawned on me whose work seems to influence and inform his playing. John Fahey. No doubt about it. He has the American primitive sound mastered so well that he’s able to mold it however he wishes. Fahey was utterly brilliant at that. Expect Benjamin to have that same legacy one of these days.
When I see music tagged with the term ‘neofolk‘, I expect to hear something like Death In June, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud or Current 93, not this. I’m not entirely sure where jì lú hail from in China, but the label who released this disc, Raflum, hail from Sichuan, home of some seriously good food. If you remember the Japanese psychedelic band Ghost, fronted by guitarist Masaki Batoh, this might be a corollary. It’s exceptionally psychedelic, and has the feel of the Incredible String Band on even more acid, feeling more placid. This is gorgeous.
I have to admit that I’m a bit jealous that I haven’t heard anything this good in Beijing yet.
Dutch label Seja Records graces us with a magnificent new release by Swedish neofolkers Fatal Casualties. It’s amazing to thing that Stefan Ljungdahl and Ivan Hirvonen have been performing off and on as Fatal Casualties for 30 years now, as the current release is perhaps the freshest, most vibrant music they’ve put out in more than a decade. It’s hard to even consider this neofolk, because it uses so many other genres as a touchstone. One can hear post-punk, goth, dark electronic music, a bit of a soundscape here and there. Ivan’s vocals top the aural cake off beautifully. Kudos to the engineer who managed to balance the sounds perfectly.
This album was released in 2016, but as I came around to it only recently, I’ll gladly consider this a new-ish release. Well worth your time.