fri 28/04/2017

CD: Trappist Afterland – Afterlander | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Trappist Afterland – Afterlander

CD: Trappist Afterland – Afterlander

A beautiful collection of new songs that comes dressed up in old clothes

This is music that needs to be heard by many more people than have so far had the chance
Treading a unique musical topography

Now, I don’t know about you, but if someone holding some tiny cymbals invited me into a room on the promise of hearing some devotional chanting to an oud-led raga accompanied by tablas, I’d probably also expect to find shaved heads, free dahl, and an awful lot of orange.

In fact, far from the world of the Hare Krishna percussive parade, Trappist Afterland hail from Melbourne and tread the same musical topography as The Incredible String Band, Sandy Bull and, more recently, Six Organs of Admittance. On this, their latest album, they have found a home on small independent Sunstone, whose output to date has been tirelessly consistent. Initially pressed on a frighteningly limited run, there are already rumours of a repress and digital release – just as well, really. Consider this something of a “heads up”.

With its themes deeply rooted in the religious, Afterlander is a collection of new songs dressed in old clothes. This is no casual copyism however – there is original elegance and modern grace in this sartorial choice. “Lucifer Mosquito” and “Saint Peter & the Rainbow” are full of powerful percussive drive and beautiful modal moments, but ones that conjure a sense of tradition while facing resolutely forward.

It’s not all momentum however. There is much reflection here, as the satisfyingly recurring motifs throughout indicate. “Where the Willows Weep” and “Black Dog Coast” contain musical echoes of each other that help to form both a convincing voice and a pleasing sense of continuation and completion. Meanwhile “A Jar on Mystics” is a more contemplative moment which, along with the like of “Hillsong Leeches”, has a delightful drone that links and solidifies, creating a careful coherence.

It’s difficult not to make comparisons, but Trappist Afterland are much, much more than the sum of their influences. They are part of a new wave of folk music that has, in truth, been happening for years now and has nothing whatsoever to do with the bleached, inconsequential pop peddled by Mumford and Sons and their ilk. In short, this is music that needs to be heard by many more people than have so far had the chance. Over to the label bosses…

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