Sparse, haunting songs in the British folk tradition of June Tabor with experimental drones & atmospherics that remind me of the quiet side of Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love" LP. A wedding between Gaelic/Celtic folk music and "Hearts of Space" new age music. Several dark Christmas carols. Perfect for NPR radio fans.
Favorite track: Cutty Wren.
Burd Ellen have announced their second studio album Says The Never Beyond. The record is a collection of carols and wintersong that occupy the liminal space between sacred and secular, connecting to the deep seasonal traditions of Britain and Ireland. Available on LP, CD or digital release via Bandcamp
Burd Ellen is a project featuring Debbie Armour (Alasdair Roberts, Green Ribbons,) and Gayle Brogan (Pefkin, Electroscope). The duo uses innovative instrumentation, drone and sound-wash to support detailed vocal work and create a unique sonic atmosphere. For Says The Never Beyond they have continued their long-term collaboration with Jer Reid (Sumshapes, Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra), bringing him out from behind the studio desk to play guitar on most of the tracks. The album also features contributions from Scottish Album of the Year Award nominee Rachel Newton (The Shee, The Furrow Collective) and Luke Sutherland’s (Long Fin Killie, Bows) current project Rev Magnetic.
Scheduled to go in the to studio over the summer, lockdown restrictions meant that the album was recorded remotely across Scotland and pieced together by engineer Jim McEwan (barkbarkdog studios). Debbie Armour says of the process: “I was in a period of what felt like grief for the record I thought we were going to make. It took me weeks to get to the point where I was ready to track the vocals, and many false starts beyond that. I can’t quite believe how magically it has grown in to this big, swirling thing we’ve all made together. Jim and all the musicians who’ve worked on it have been so, so patient with me and so open-hearted to the changes
and challenges. I could not be more thrilled with the outcome.”
Of the song choices she says: “Winter songs are the joy of my repertoire. I love the very old, very earthy carols and ritual songs. There’s real emotional weight to them, and an immediacy in their conjuring of the landscape. When we made the final decisions about what to include,
I also noticed how many of the songs talk about the quiet joys of Mary’s motherhood. I have adored spending so much time with my children this year, and have been reflecting quite deeply on my own mothering so it’s not a huge surprise to see it come up in the work. But it definitely wasn’t a conscious choice.”
5* Top 10 Folk Albums 2020, The Guardian
Top 10 Albums 2020, Folk Radio UK
"This is a gorgeous and imaginative seasonal record" - Terrascope
released November 27, 2020
burd ellen are:
debbie armour - vocals
gayle brogan - vocals, violin, Lyra 8, Korg Volca FM, Dark Energy, zither, field recording
jer reid - guitar (1,2..4.5,6), bowed cymbal (1), piano (6)
rachel newton - harp (4)
rev magnetic - programming & additional recording (8)
debbie’s vocal recorded by jim mcewan at solas sound
other recordings made remotely by gayle, jer, rachel & luke
mixed & mastered by jim mcewan at barkbarkdog studios
produced by jim mcewan & debbie armour
1,7 trad, arr burd ellen
2,3, & 5 trad, arr burd ellen & jer reid
4 trad, arr burd ellen, rachel newton & jer reid
8 trad, arr burd ellen & rev magnetic
6 benjamin britten, arr burd ellen & jer reid
photography by audrey bizouerne
sleeve design by debbie armour
burd ellen would like to thank
martin, chrissie, andi, ian, chris, kirsty, lauren, paul, josie, martin, rowan & thea - our beautiful patreon team.
debbie would also like to express her deep gratitude to: all the musicians who worked on this record in such trying circumstances, with open hearts and endless patience.
my kids for giving up their spaces at home to let me make this, which is so important to me
my current husband for hearing all my worries and tantrums and checking my spelling
jm for being a prince among men
gb for being my queen of the uncertain
given with such warmth to ghv, who have held the seeds of this work for many years, & in fond memory of david
Burd Ellen is a collaborative project featuring Debbie Armour (Alasdair Roberts, Green Ribbons) and Gayle Brogan (Pefkin,
Barrett’s Dottled Beauty). The group uses traditional song to explore and evoke dark landscapes and deep stories. Innovative instrumentation, drone and sound-wash support detailed vocal work to create a unique sonic atmosphere....more
supported by 52 fans who also own “Says The Never Beyond”
I usually haaaate autotune voices, but done this way it's brilliant. When enough craftsmanship is used. Hard to pick a favourite from this great album. One of my favourites of the year! soundofperpetualastonishment