Blue–Eyed Hawk
Under the Moon

Blue-Eyed Hawk — Under the Moon (15 September 2014)

Ireland Blue–Eyed Hawk — Under the Moon 
EXCELLENT ALBUM Blue-Eyed Hawk — Under the Moon  / NOMINATED for 8th TAIS AWARDS 2015
•   Vokály Dubliňanky Lauren Kinselly sahají daleko za hranice konvenčnosti a také obratně přizpůsobuje své literární zdroje tak, aby vyhovovaly samotné hudbě, včetně básně od William Butler Yeats's poem Under the Moon: ta dává kapele své jméno a název svého debutu.
•   Taking its name from a line in W.B. Yeats’s poem Under the Moon, Blue–Eyed Hawk is a co–operative quartet that brings a wide open improv sensibility to its melodic and richly textured original material. The band formed in 2011 and creates highly charged and emotive music that takes in rock, jazz, minimalist and electronic soundworlds. Blue–Eyed Hawk’s debut album has been released in September 2014.
Location: London, UK
Album release: 15 September 2014
Record Label: Edition Records
Duration:    56:53
01 Oyster Trails     6:18
02 Somewhere     5:51
03 Aurora 5am     6:21
04 Spiderton     3:59
05 O Do Not Love Too Long     6:56
06 Reflections On the Spiral     5:57
07 Living in the Fast Lane     3:52
08 Intro (For Fathers)     3:23
09 For Tom and Everything     3:13
10 Try to Turn Back     4:24
11 Valediction     6:39
Artwork by Joelle Green.
Δ   Lauren Kinsella: vocals; 
Δ   Laura Jurd: trumpet, synthesizer, vocals; 
Δ   Alex Roth: guitar, effects, synthesizer, vocals; 
Δ   Corrie Dick: drums, percussion, harmonium, piano, vocals; 
Δ   Tom Herbert: bass (4), synthesizer (7).
Δ   LAURA JURD trumpet
Δ   ALEX ROTH guitar, effects
By Daniel Paton | posted on 14 Sep 2014 | Score: ****½
◊   The commercial music industry tends to have a somewhat misguided obsession with debut albums, sometimes to the exclusion of artistic development and progress. This tendency may now have transferred to the jazz world, an area of music generally more averse to hype and promotion. It feels like a risk, therefore, to suggest that Blue-Eyed Hawk’s first album is one that genuinely feels like a fully formed work. It sounds carefully mapped out, cohering whilst drawing influences from a wide range of artistic sources (musical and literary).
◊   This band combines some of the most exciting young musicians in the contemporary improvised music scene. Vocalist Lauren Kinsella and drummer Corrie Dick are musicians with highly individual approaches to their respective crafts. Alex Roth is an innovative and in–demand guitarist, part of an extraordinary musical family and as comfortable in a big band setting as forging new musical paths. Trumpeter Laura Jurd has been hailed as prodigious, although the music on her excellent album Landing Ground is very different from what can be heard here. All four are members of the enterprising Chaos Collective and can also be heard on the excellent Chaos Orchestra album released earlier this year.
◊   Some will no doubt reignite the ‘is this jazz?’ debate on first hearing Under The Moon. Improvisation is in abundance, but it is absorbed more intricately within the lattice of the songs and it is balanced with the equally important role of production techniques and studio interventions. The band have worked hard, with significant contributions from Leafcutter John (Polar Bear) and Tom Herbert (Polar Bear, The Invisible) on the sound and atmosphere of this music. The sonic range is fascinating and exciting. Isolated moments bring to mind the studio enhanced grooves of Tortoise, the panoramic sweep of Aaron Copland, the directness of country songs (Patsy Cline perhaps), the precise rhythmic structures of Battles or Three Trapped Tigers or the expressiveness of Joni Mitchell. Jurd’s trumpet is sometimes treated to sound otherworldly, and the band explore rock dynamics (distorted guitars and insistent, driving drums) to powerful effect. The process has clearly been very much collaborative, with all band members contributing original compositions and all very much defining the group sound. This is not music for jazz clubs necessarily, but it opens out the music to a potentially wider audience without a hint of artistic compromise. This feels like the music that these musicians want to, perhaps even have to make.
◊   The opening Oyster Trails provides a neat summation of the band’s approach — a foreboding introduction eventually gives birth to aquatic sounding, effects–enhanced drums, shifting guitar textures and a gently twisting, unpredictable vocal melody. ◊   There is an enveloping warmth to the sound. Lauren Kinsella’s Somewhere is in fact Over The Rainbow as you have never heard it before — a near delirious bid for escape amidst a mischievous, gnarly and infectious guitar riff and thunderous rock dynamics. It is both irreverent and inventive in its own right and a brilliant showcase for Kinsella’s unusual, captivating vocal improvising.
◊   One might be forgiven for assuming that Laura Jurd (whose own music so far has been more serene or impressionistic) might be out of her comfort zone amidst this kind of intensity, but she contributes the spikiest, punkiest song of them all in the hyperactive Living In The Fast Lane. Its clipped phrases and punctuating distorted riff are reminiscent of the songs on Acoustic Ladyland’s Skinny Grin album, but it has an energy, enthusiasm and purpose of its own too.
◊   Many of the songs have the reach and directness of pop songs whilst abandoning straightforward forms in favour of a more thoughtful and linear approach. There are three songs that stand out for being disarmingly beautiful and deceptively simple. Alex Roth’s setting of Seamus Heaney’s Valediction is contemplative and affecting, with some deftly handled harmonic shifts that feel very natural. Corrie Dick contributes two songs that are romantic and full of feeling in the best way. Try To Turn Back evokes wide open spaces and dusty highways, whilst For Tom And Everything (inspired by his grandfather) is both mournful and quietly graceful. Songs such as this and Roth’s similarly elegiac, shimmering Aurora 5am have a palpable sense of memory and are delivered with mature subtlety. If contemporary jazz can sometimes feel a little scientific or impenetrable, this is a powerful counterbalance to that tendency.
◊   Whether improvising longingly around the text for W.B. Yeats’ O Do Not Love So Long or developing themes around original lyrics, there is a consistent sense of real respect for songcraft. Melodies seem to be drawn from the sense of the words, and much of the improvisation is strongly connected with melodies and themes. The lack of a bass player (although synth bass lines sometimes seep in where needed) makes the band relatively unusual in both conventional rock and jazz set ups, and it seems to afford the music a strong sense of space, leaving room for textural experimentation as well as melodic development. There is great fun to be had in listening out for the small details and nuances that really make this music resonate. In sum, Under The Moon is one of the most thoughtful and imaginative albums of the year. Fortaken:
Cormac Larkin; Score: ****
◊   All too often, the sonic explorer types forget to bring home the pretty, but not Blue Eyed Hawk. From the off, there’s no doubting that this London–based quartet are from the weird part of the sound forest, but there is real beauty here too. Dubliner Lauren Kinsella’s vocals reach far beyond the conventional, and she deftly adapts her literary sources to suit the music, including the Yeats poem that gives the band its name and the title of their debut for hot UK independent label Edition. Guitarist Alex Roth, trumpeter Laura Jurd and drummer Corrie Dick, with creative input from producers Tom Herbert and Leafcutter John, craft soundscapes that veer from a spacious twang reminiscent of Dave Douglas, to ear–shredding metal more reminiscent of Meshuggah, including a deliciously menacing version of Somewhere over the Rainbow.
By Kieran Bohane, Thursday, September 11, 2014; Score: 4/5
◊   Ever since Lauren Kinsella graced the stage at Triskel Christchurch on a sunny Saturday afternoon with Thought Fox during the Cork Jazz Festival a few years ago, we have been impressed with the band’s joie de vivre. In particular, Kinsella’s crystal–clear delivery stood out and the Dublin singer seems blessed with an inventive curiosity and imagination.
◊   Blue–eyed Hawk is veering toward the arty; but, to paraphrase Mr Spock, it’s jazz music but not as you know it. If you’re into labels then art–rock would be OK, but you’ve got to factor in inspirational, highly original and throw in foot–tappingly fabulous for good measure.
◊   In short, it’s a breath of fresh air, and Kinsella’s voice, while working her Bjork-like weirdish word–jazz alongside Laura Jurd’s delightful trumpet, is both absorbing and downright entertaining.
◊   Standout tracks are the opening ‘Oyster Trails’, written by Kinsella and beautifully introduced amid a backdrop of electronic wizardry before the wonderful drumming of Corrie Dick paves the way for Kinsella’s lyrics. These have her wondering what legacy and impact we humans will leave on our planet.
◊   It’s the perfect introduction to an album where the sounds are a diverse mix of jazz-punk fused with the more traditional ballad coupled with some glorious digital gizmos.
◊   Also worth mentioning is the treatment of ‘Somewhere’ [Over the Rainbow], where we enter punk(ish) mode, and in a delivery not too far from the French/Benin singer Mina Agossi, Kinsella manages to kick little Dorothy to touch. So too is the wonderful Corrie Dick’s ‘Try To Turn Back’.
◊   This debut from the Hawks is neither fish nor fowl and will not easily be categorised but that’s its brilliance: inspirational music drawing on a myriad of influences created by a bunch of extremely talented and musically articulate individuals. — Under The Moon is on general release from September 15.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved / Fortaken: 
By BRUCE LINDSAY, Published: September 12, 2014 | SCORE: ****
By Mike Collins
Review by Hugh Cochrane
About Lauren: Vocalist, Improviser, Composer
♠   Lauren Kinsella is a London based vocalist and composer originally from Dublin. She has performed in venues across the UK, Hungary, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Norway and India. She sings and composes in many groups including Blue–Eyed Hawk, Thought–Fox and SnowPoet with bassist Chris Hyson.
♠   She collaborates in duos with Swiss drummer Alex Huber, Loop collective pianist Dan Nicholls, and in a trio with cellist Hannah Marshall and trumpeter Nick Malcolm. She has released albums on WideEarRecords and Diatribe to critical acclaim and is the featured vocalist on ‘Island Mentality'; the Chaos Orchestra’s debut album. She performs with leading improvisers on the UK and European Jazz scenes including Yves Robert, Mark Sanders, Julian Siegel, Mark Lockheart, Chris Batchelor, Liam Noble and Hans Hassler.
♠   Her work continues to be reviewed in several countries including the USA, Germany, the UK, France, Norway, Switzerland and Ireland and hailed as a ‘gifted young singer’ (John Fordham, Guardian) her music is broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Jazz FM, RTE Lyric FM and BBC Radio Scotland.
♠   She was awarded The Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize 2013 and teaches jazz voice at Leeds Conservatoire’s undergraduate programme.
♠   On this site, you can hear some music that Lauren writes and read about upcoming gigs and current projects that she is involved in. For booking information and general enquiries, please get in touch via the email link on this site.
Lauren Kinsella:
◊   Taking its name from a line in W.B. Yeats's poem Under the Moon, Blue–Eyed Hawk is a London–based quartet that brings a wide–open improv sensibility to its melodic and richly textured original material. The band — featuring four of the UK's most hotly tipped young performer/composers — formed in 2011 and creates highly charged and emotive music traversing art–rock, jazz, minimalist and electronic soundworlds. Performance highlights in the last year have included the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall (broadcast on BBC Radio 3), the EFG London Jazz Festival at the Southbank Centre, and dates in Stockholm, Dublin and Rotterdam. Blue–Eyed Hawk's debut album "Under the Moon" will be released on Edition Records on 15 September 2014 — please check the "Concerts" tab for tour dates. Blue-Eyed Hawk gratefully acknowledges support from PRS for Music Foundation (, Jazz Services Ltd ( and Arts Council England (
◊   ‘So brilliant. Everyone in the room was spellbound’. Georgia Mann, BBC RADIO 3
◊   ‘What is exciting about a band like this is where it might go. There is a sense both of the individuals being able to speak with authentic voices and being able to contribute to the whole. There has been a river crossed in creating a band aesthetic and a band sound, which can, and hopefully will, go further. The quality of the collaboration — they all appear to get on well, to genuinely want to build and develop something — appears to have put in place the ideal foundation for longer spans, whether they be story–telling though words, or more elaborate compositional structures. They have created the right basis from which to develop. To coin a phrase, watch this spaciousness’. LONDON JAZZ
◊   “Blue–Eyed Hawk singer Lauren Kinsella stole the show. Juggling her abstract consonants and double–shuffling her syllables, she blended brilliantly with the instrumental players, turning on a dime where necessary. Hers is a fascinating style and it deserves to be recorded..” Jack Massarik The London Evening Standard  //
Under the Moon
poet William Butler Yeats, #18 on top 500 poets.
Under The Moon
I HAVE no happiness in dreaming of Brycelinde,
Nor Avalon the grass–green hollow, nor Joyous Isle,
Where one found Lancelot crazed and hid him for a while;
Nor Uladh, when Naoise had thrown a sail upon the wind;
Nor lands that seem too dim to be burdens on the heart:
Land–under–Wave, where out of the moon's light and the sun's
Seven old sisters wind the threads of the long–lived ones,
Land–of–the–Tower, where Aengus has thrown the gates apart,
And Wood–of–Wonders, where one kills an ox at dawn,
To find it when night falls laid on a golden bier.
Therein are many queens like Branwen and Guinevere;
And Niamh and Laban and Fand, who could change to an otter or fawn,
And the wood–woman, whose lover was changed to a blue–eyed hawk;
And whether I go in my dreams by woodland, or dun, or shore,
Or on the unpeopled waves with kings to pull at the oar,
I hear the harp–string praise them, or hear their mournful talk.
Because of something told under the famished horn
Of the hunter's moon, that hung between the night and the day,
To dream of women whose beauty was folded in dis may,
Even in an old story, is a burden not to be borne. 
Under the Moon: The Unpublished Early Poetry
by W.B. Yeats, George Bornstein (Editor)
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Scribner
Year: Published/Written in 1904 
♣   While working on a facsimile edition and transcription of W. B. Yeats's surviving early manuscripts, renowned Yeats scholar George Bornstein made a thrilling literary discovery: thirty–eight unpublished poems written between the poet's late teens and late twenties. These works span the crucial years during which the poet "remade himself from the unknown and insecure young student Willie Yeats to the more public literary, cultural, and even political figure W. B. Yeats whom we know today." "Here is a poetry marked by a rich, exuberant, awk-ward, soaring sense of potential, bracingly youthful in its promise and its clumsiness, in its moments of startling beauty and irrepressible excess," says Brendan Kennelly. And the Yeats in these pages is already experimenting with those themes with which his readers will become intimate: his stake in Irish nationalism; his profound love for Maud Gonne; his intense fascination with the esoteric and the spiritual. 
♣   With Bornstein's help, one can trace Yeats's process of self–discovery through constant revision and personal reassessment, as he develops from the innocent and derivative lyricist of the early 1880s to the passionate and original poet/philosopher of the 1890s. 
♣   Reading–texts of over two dozen of these poems appear here for the first time, together with those previously available only in specialized literary journals or monographs. Bornstein has assembled all thirty–eight under the title Yeats had once planned to give his first volume of collected poems. Under the Moon is essential reading for anyone interested in modern poetry.
The Hawk by William Butler Yeats
'Call down the hawk from the air;
Let him be hooded or caged
Till the yellow eye has grown mild,
For larder and spit are bare,
The old cook enraged,
The scullion gone wild.'
'I will not be clapped in a hood,
Nor a cage, nor alight upon wrist,
Now I have learnt to be proud
Hovering over the wood
In the broken mist
Or tumbling cloud.'
'What tumbling cloud did you cleave,
Yellow–eyed hawk of the mind,
Last evening? that I, who had sat
Dumbfounded before a knave,
Should give to my friend
A pretence of wit.'