Morc Records / Belgium / 2011
As the albums title suggest the whole thing was recorded in Rheidol Valley which is situated in mid to western Wales between Aberystwyth and Devil’s Bridge. The Rheidol Valleys environment is a mixture of river, waterfalls, ancient oak forests, farm land and moorland. The pair utilize for the album field recordings of water, animals, walking and general outdoor sound- these field recordings are seemingly left untreated, and only edited/ arranged in a effective manner around the improvised folk instrumentation or left to play out in real time under the pairs folk textures.
The instrumentation thoroughout the album is sparse and often quite barren in it’s feel/ vibe. The pair utilize a mixture of: strummed, picked & plucked acoustic guitars and possibly banjos, bells, ritual drums, and buried/ wavering females vocals. The improvised music is often angular, discordant, ritual and often quite creepy in it’s feel, and it summons up to me images of quiet, ancient & chilling pagan ceremonies taking place under waterfalls, by grazing sheep or in mossy clearings in ancient oak forests. Yet for all the uneasy and fear here there are also odd moments of poignant and crystalline beauty like “valley 4” the last track on side B, which finds the pair fading in and out a haunting/ melodic twin stringed composition over a backing of distant waterfall and bird song recordings
The album offers up eight tracks in all which last between just under a minute to nearing the six and a half minute mark a piece. Only the first short intro track is purely field recording based, and from there on in each track is a mixture of often distant/ buried field recordings & the pairs ritual/ wavering improvised folk compositions.
So to sum up “In the Rheidol Valley” is a creepy, often discordant, and unsettling record with that’s flecked with odd moments of melodic/ felt folk beauty . For fans of barren & uneasy acoustic music, and vocal-less improvised folk matter.
Edition of 270 copies