Aldous Harding — Aldous Harding
Ξ•Ξ První charakteristikou je hlas: Hanna Claynails Harding. Možná by některé posluchače mohl odradit, ale pro ty, kteří se netají sympatiemi k Vashti Bunyan, Karen Dalton nebo nověji Beth Gibbons (Portishead), to bude lahůdka. Je to styl zpěvu ozdobený váhou každého slova se stejným důrazem. To je jak z jiného světa. Trochu mystické, znějící disciplinovaně a odhodlaně. To může být dost intimní, královská disciplína hudby má i zde podobu písně. Jedná se o speciální album v tom smyslu, že jeho ladné a jemné vlastnosti vytvářejí silně emotivní zážitek z poslechu jen pozvolna. Harding používá známé hudební formy k vytvoření něčeho zcela elektrizujícího a uchvacujícího (a to jsou ty vlastnosti, které nutí posluchače opakovaně hluboce rozjímat nad celkovým smyslem toho, co děláme). Nebo takhle: je zde povzbuzení k činnosti, ke změnám. Nejsilnější moment přichází s No Peace: dotek křehké hranice, když mluví o člověku, žijícím v malém domku poblíž pláže, je tu klid pro mnohé téměř nedosažitelný..., ethereal.
Ξ•Ξ “Well i wuz thinkin it n then u said it”.
Location: Lyttelton, New Zealand
Album release: 2014
Record Label: Lyttelton Records
01. Stop Your Tears 5:39
02. Hunter 4:30
03. Two Bitten Hearts 6:25
04. Titus Groan 5:18
05. Beast 2:40
06. No Peace 5:38
07. Merriweather 5:09
08. Small Bones Of Courage 6:16
09. Titus Alone 5:17
For those who like: Jolie Holland meets Nick Drake
Personnel: Hanna Claynails Harding
Ξ•Ξ Aldous Harding has been wowing and amazing audiences around New Zealand for the last 3~5 years. This self titled album is her debut album release and Lyttelton Records is very proud to be able to offer you something very special that will no doubt become a true classic.
Ξ•Ξ Aldous has never written a song called ’1984′. She has, however, written many songs of quiet strength that have been ringing through the hills of an astounded Lyttelton for the past few years.
Ξ•Ξ Her music has been the best thing that has ever happened to wayfaring loners that shuffle into bars at the wrong times of day.
Ξ•Ξ She has been the saviour of those falling in home~cooked opium furrows.
Ξ•Ξ She has kept sailors in check with cheek and a strong~songed tongue.
And now she will be all yours for an album length period of time, and you may have your picnic and feast upon the music. So lucky one, close your eyes. Turn your nose towards water. Settle in. Listen to this one closely.
By Chris Familton; 3rd June 2014; Score: 8.5 / 10
Ξ•Ξ Folk music comes in many styles and levels of intensity from brisk strumming and foot stomping to plaintiff torch song but it’s always at its best when stripped back to its essence — words and accompanying raw instrumentation. On her debut album Lyttelton’s Aldous Harding (real name Hannah Harding) has a direct line to the heart and soul of folk with her sparse and deeply affecting collection of songs.
Ξ•Ξ Co~produced by singer~songwriter Marlon Williams (with engineer Ben Edwards), this is an album that carries the greatest weight when played late at night when ones daily distractions have momentarily gone and there is time for full immersion in the music on offer. The first striking characteristic is Harding’s voice, perhaps one that might deter some listeners, but for those with any affection for Vashti Bunyan, Karen Dalton or more recently Beth Gibbons (Portishead) there is much to revel in here. Harding’s singing style is affected, ornate and considered with each word given equal emphasis. It is both mystical and otherworldly while sounding disciplined and determined. It can be breathy and intimate as it is on ‘Two Bitten Hearts’ or bright and dancing on the sprightly ‘Beast’.
Ξ•Ξ Thematically, Harding pulls from organic matter. Her songs reference tears, groans, hearts and bones giving the songs a primitive and sometimes primal feel amid the love and heartache. The most powerful moment comes with ‘No Peace At All’ which presents Harding laid emotionally bare, her voice on the brittle edge of fragility as she tells of a soul living in a small house near a beach, with peace unattainable. While much of the album is intense and dramatic there are moments of beauty. ‘Merriweather’ in particular features Williams on vocal harmonies with sweet swelling strings giving it a bucolic warmth.
Ξ•Ξ This is a special album in the sense that its graceful and subtle qualities form a powerfully emotive listening experience. It uses familiar musical forms to create something quite spooky and entrancing and it is those qualities that will repeatedly draw listeners back for more.
Ξ•Ξ “With her impossibly fragile, quavering voice and a batch of mesmerizing songs, New Zealand singer/songwriter Aldous Harding has delivered a self~titled debut album that is so far into and so far beyond what might be described as traditional folk music that it both transcends and transforms the genre. On the surface, Harding (actual name Hannah) creates mystical and mysterious songs that sound like they’ve been dusted off from the 60’s era folk vinyl crate at some U.K. flea market.
Ξ•Ξ But spend the time and dive a bit deeper and the tracks, like the devastatingly mournful and intimate “No Peace,” become extended, haunting journeys into heartwrenchingly personal territory.
Ξ•Ξ Aldous is the daughter of the sadly underrated Canterbury singer~songwriter Lorina Harding, but she has found her own way with music. The sound is mostly sparse, with fingerpicked acoustic guitar, and the occasional supplementation of violin, ghostly choir and spooky theremin.
Ξ•Ξ Her accent is so strong that she appears to be singing in some ancient, witchy dialect, and it perfectly matches the dark~woods flavour of the songs.”
Ξ•Ξ Une voix étonnante chargée d’émotions en provenance de Nouvelle~Zélande. Recommandé.
By Shane Gilchrist
Ξ•Ξ The debut album from Canterbury singer~songwriter Aldous Harding (aka Hannah, the daughter of veteran folk troubadour Lorina Harding) might sometimes seem a little emotionally frail, melancholy even, yet there is an assured hand behind the compositions.
Ξ•Ξ Seven of the nine songs here span more than five minutes, requiring the listener to settle in for a ride along a largely folky path that is strewn with meditative reflections (Two Bitten Hearts, Titus Groan) and highlighted by lurching push~and~pull rhythms, tight finger~picking and Celtic~influenced textures, the latter extending to Harding's ethereal vocal stylings. Ξ•Ξ http://www.odt.co.nz/
Interview, New Zealand National Radio: http://lytteltonrecords.co.nz/news/