ANDREW LILES & FOVEA HEX - GONE EVERY EVENING (7" by Die Stadt)
Following three excellent mini CDs produced with the top layer of sonic experimentalism, Clodagh Simonds teams with here Micheal Begg, Fabrizio Palumbo and Laura Sheeran, all under the guidance of Andrew Liles (rapidly climbing up to the top layer) to record two lovely tracks on a 7". 'Gone' is on side a, and 'Every Evening' on the other. The a-side has piano at the hearth of the piece and Simonds heavenly vocals solo with beautiful ambient like electronics humming sparsely about. 'Every Evening' has a strange narrative by Palumbo and multi-layered singing by Sheeran and Simonds and has a fairy tale like atmosphere, but with an unsettling undercurrent in the piece. This is beautiful too but much more spooky. Way too short on this format, one could only want some more after this. Fascinating, beautiful, small treasure. (FdW)
Andrew Liles & Fovea Hex, "Gone Every Evening"
Written by John Kealy
Sunday, 06 April 2008
This 7" only release sees Andrew Liles form yet another collaborative unit, this time with Clodagh Simonds' wonderful (and ever changing) group. Established Fovea Hex approaches to song recur only to be almost completely dashed aside with new approaches to their work. That so much can happen on two shorts sides of vinyl is not very surprising considering how epic Simonds' previous EPs with her group have been. With Liles' sonic alchemy, the results are breathtaking.
The A-side contains "Every Evening," which sounds as expected. The ethereal ambiences paired with the clear, striking piano makes a glorious backdrop for Simonds' vocals. Lyrically it continues a stream of thought that began on "That River" and flowed through "While You're Away" from Fovea Hex's Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent EPs. Stars shine and rivers meet the sea in an almost Joycean expression of the spectacular amidst the normality of life.
On "Gone" there is a very different mood. Simonds is joined on vocals by Laura Sheeran (veteran of the three Fovea Hex EPs) and by Larsen's Fabrizio Palumbo. Palumbo's somewhat indifferent-sounding voice when narrating the story of a man who finds their world disappearing is at odds with the two ladies' emotive singing. The song ends with an almost panicked screaming, a far cry from the womb-like calm that I expect. The song is so jarring that at first I could not decide if I liked it or not, it completely went against my expectations. Now that the shock is gone, it is definitely a keeper.
Liles continues to show his versatility as a sound artist. He seems to be able to sit himself in comfortably in any musical situation; the variety on show in his own back catalogue and his ever increasing list of collaborations is a testament to his talent. Here he manages to keep the dynamics of Fovea Hex's music intact but still put a different veneer on the production. It sounds like Fovea Hex has been channelled through a filter slightly different to normal, certain sounds are accented more and familiar styles are of a different hue. It is a meeting of minds that really should become a regular occurrence (hopefully on something more substantial than a single or an EP, a Fovea Hex album is well overdue!).
LP Feature/ Andrew Liles & Fovea Hex: "Gone Every Evening"
Everything is bigger: Incomprehensible loops outside one’s own control.
The beautiful paradox continues. After a trilogy of releases which were as much about sound as they were about songs, equally about secrets and truths and which dealt with heaven, hell, hurt and elation alike, Clodagh Simmonds returns with two tracks which will torture those who can’t live with uncertainty: The more accessible her pieces become, the more they turn evasive. The shorter they are, the more the mystery grows.
On the face of it, “Gone Every Evening” simply continues the gradual transformation of Fovea Hex into a contemporary folk outfit. While listening to“Bloom” was like finding one’s way through a labyrinth of interconnected rooms filled with longing and the scent of memories and “Huge” sought to reconsile the disparity between joy and trouble in a tidal wave of stirred-up emotions, “Allure” felt like the process of reharmonising oneself with the world after spending too much time in one’s own thoughts. Objects were tangible again, words could again be spoken, there was a definite form and function to everything.
If hope loomed beyond this horizon and the insatiable hunger of life seemed allayed for some time, Simmonds’ latest offering proves these sentiments wrong. The hermetic seclusion of the lyrics on her “neither speak nor remain silent” trilogy has made way for haunting cinematography and drama, while the sense of being caught in incomprehensible loops outside one’s own control has remained.
Somehow, everything is bigger here, even though arrangements are sparser and purer than ever. On “While you’re away”, Simmonds only went down to the river to watch the stars, now she is headed for the ocean and the glow of the firmament is a mirror to her inner self catching fire: “Fade the days out/ Only evenings bring me something I’ll remember... / Every evening we go strolling out of the house and all the way down to the shore”, she sings between lament and infinite anticipation on “Every Evening”, a song which seems to deal with the fact that nothing compares to the magical moments when the trivial and transient nature of life is transformed into an eternal truth.
On “Gone”, she confronts herself with the thought of loosing everything and the question of routine slowly swallowing every sense of meaning. Upon waking, the trees in her garden have vanished, her house is empty: “What have I done?/ Where have I been these years and years? / Week in week out the same old song, the same old rug beneath my feet”, narrator Fabrizio Palumbo observes as if in a trance, before realsing that even the last fortress and final refuge has disappeared: “When I woke up this morning no rugs – not even any floor.”
As always, there are guests. Michael Begg provides “Ambient Tinting” and Laura Sheeran delivers a haunting performance on “Gone”, her piercing, disembodied screams hurting like naked flesh being struck by a hammer. But most importantly, “Gone Every Evening” is marked by the sounds and melodies of Andrew Liles. On both tracks, he lays down subliminal soundscapes and swooning Piano themes, sometimes played against each other or returning with slight variations in mood and timbre. It is these memorable motives which clearly structure the music and provide it with a fine Pop sensibility, even though the vortex-like depth of the arrangements swallows all thoughts of easy enjoyment.
If previous releases were already lavishly packaged (everyone who’s seen the luxurious black box containing the first three EPs and accompanying bonus discs will know what I’m talking about), “Gone Every Evening” takes this obsession to new heights. The 7’’ Vinyl disc comes sheilded by a soft envelope, which in turn fits into a gateway cover adorned by prints, images and lyrics. It is the physical manifestation of yet another wondrous paradox: The more openly it speaks about pain, the more consoling it is to own the music of Fovea Hex.
By Tobias Fischer