First off let me say that this group headed by Nicky Francis are a true artists. I am thrilled my first full length review is of their full length The Tower at Hunter’s Moon. I’ve decided to make it like a first reaction piece so I will be attaching a link to a past post I did for track four “Luna Di Luna” where you will be able to find my initial review and a music video.
- “Amherst Road” birds chirp softly as a small group walk to the sounds of a soft stringed instrument performing solo. Perhaps the walking is occurring on “Amhurst Road” as the song picks up around the two minute mark as a harmonic joins circling through panning and playing bluesy licks. A fiddle all of a sudden jumps in, it goes from feeling like ‘good ole boys’ to river dancing. The song consistently picks up, it feels like the start of a journey.
2. “Maid Malou Fetch the Wood” the song starts softly the ominous melody occasionally bursting into a full run. The instrumentation is impressive, it is left of center from what an average music listener might be used to but it is in a lot of ways more artistic. “Maid Malou Fetch the Wood” is a controlled work of chaos. The dynamics are exciting and the pace is exhilarating. I think I’ve been on the journey long enough to encounter some turbulence.
3. “Eye Of The Hurricane” the storm has passed and the listener is save from the last dark tones. The lyrics are poignant and introspective in a way that causes tender and nostalgic thoughts with a little spice of existentialism. Between the minimalist arrangement and layers of “Amhurst Road” but not quite as fleshed out as the two surrounding tracks.
4. “Luna Di Luna” https://itsnotrecords.com/2018/09/12/the-quill-demonstrate-impressive-musicianship-and-songwriting-in-luna-di-luna/ (initial review)
5. “Eskimo” flowing and minimalist, featuring a high pitched repetition on the upbeats and a soft vocal timbre. The violin playing cues the start of the more dramatic remainder of the song from around the two minute mark. The male lead is joined by an ever present female lead. Words cannot do justice how far the dynamics of this song go. It starts so small and humble and ends so grand and vast it shocks the listener that they’ve committed less than ten minutes to such a journey.
6. “Breathless” this piece is thirst one that is mostly gentle and mellow from start to finish. It seems I am truly out of the first storm for a brief pause before what I’m sure will be a grand finale. My prediction is that The Tower at Hunter’s Moon is written similar to a three act play.
7. “The Tower” the rhythmic pattern is running and vivid imagery of stairs are cause by the repetitive moving melody. It is a long instrumental before you find minor and soft group vocal part that reminds me of some pieces from Tim Burtons “A Nightmare Before Christmas” as we come up on Halloween.
8. “Ruby Fruit Sweetheart” is a bit of departure from the rest of the record as it is more blues than the psych-folk. A highlight is the distorted harmonica solo right at 4:30.
9. “Dovedale” is a true outro, it summarizes the songs while introducing fantastically fast comping of the harmony. “Dovedale” like a lot of the songs on this record is very lengthy at 9:00.
I think the biggest takeaway I had from listening to The Tower at Hunter’s Moon is that this isn’t a release that has a polished radio single but is a journey similar to a theatrical work. The songs are lengthy and for someone who has been conditioned to 3 minute commercials this will require a block of time to sit down with. However if you’re also looking for background I’ve found this writing very enjoyable but I’d highly suggest you get some edibles, light a candle and incense, and put this on and just relax. You will feel like you are listening to the record version of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.
If you’re interested in hearing an interview it starts at 2.32.20 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06lmwx7)
FROM THE ARTIST Nicky Francis —-
The Tower at Hunter’s Moon’ is a journey through the myths of duality via large scale sonic architecture and meta poems. Tapping into shamanic archetypes, protagonists and pulses of nature these anchors act as eyes and guides to this inner and outer inquiry. From the quiet and contemplative to the riotous and chaotic, the record aims to explore deeply the mystery of what ripples one casts out without knowing.
PR FROM LGM Records——
A long time project, The Quill are led by Nicky Francis formerly of the now disbanded
Goldheart Assembly and the current drummer of Mono Club. Francis began seeking
musicians to flesh out his catalog of songs with his in-house producer/guitarist Dan Bell and a tribe of devoted and talented collaborators all of which have an invaluable and unique sonic contribution to the sound. The group includes the likes of Lyla Foy, John Herbert and James Dale (of Goldheart Assembly), æmma, Ben Gunnery (fiddle), classically trained violinist Louisa Wood, Alex Mattinson, Rylan Holey, Lee Vernon (harmonica) and a core rhythm section of Ash Hall, Drew Wynen, Ben Davis and Riccardo Castellani. This line up will bring forth The Quill’s music at a special London show in conjunction with 2018’s Hunter’s Moon on Wednesday the 24th of October at Bush Hall.