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FOVEA HEX - The Salt Garden

Format: CD-EP
Label & Cat.Number: Die Stadt DS116
Release Year: 2016
Note: four new tracks by the most ethereal and poetic "ambient-folk" group from UK, around singer CLODAGH SIMONDS; co-released by STEVEN WILSONs Headphone Dust label
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €8.00
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"It's been four years since Fovea Hex released 'Here Is Where We Used To Sing' (see Vital
Weekly 780), but now the wait is over. There is now strong involvement of Steven Wilson,
prog-rock artist, but also someone who is known for a great taste in all things musical
(rumour has it he even subscribes to Vital Weekly, to tap into the world of experiment),
who will release three 10" records on his own Headphone Dust label, which so far was only
reserved for his own (multiple) projects, but now sidesteps with Fovea Hex. Four pieces
on 'The Salt Garden 1', and it is a striking beauty. Stage central with Fovea Hex is the
voice of Clodagh Simonds, who lent her voice to early Mike Oldfield albums (Hergest Ridge,
Ommadawn, if you must know) and in the same period her own folk rock group Mellow Candle.
Then she didn't do any music until a decade she started Fovea Hex, surrounded by the likes
of Brian Eno, Colin Potter, Carter Burwell, Robert Fripp and Michael Begg (best known as
Human Greed, see last week), creating a vast musical space around her heavenly voice.
There are no credits (yet) on the cover of this new release (maybe one day there will be
a box?), but the website says that Fovea Hex here is Clodagh Simonds, Michael Begg, Colin
Potter and Laura Sheeran, with Cora Venus Lunny and Kate Ellis and special guests Brian
Eno and Justin Grounds. There are four spacious pieces of music. Simonds voice reminds one
of Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil and Dead Can Dance, but the music shares very little
with those 4AD acts. It's quite electronic, eerie, spacious, erecting a vast sense of
place; synthesizers, guitars, sounds? Who can tell? And who cares how this was made? This
music elevates to an entirely different atmosphere, not of this world. This is twenty-one
minutes of heavenly bliss.
And if that isn't enough there was for pre-ordered copies only also a twenty-one minute
rework of 'Solace' by Steven Wilson himself (of course nowhere to get now), just as the
previous albums by Fovea Hex were accompanied by a remix CD. I can imagine the music of
Fovea Hex is great to take apart and put together in a new construction. Wilson picked
'Solace', the one track of the four with the least amount of vocals, which was interesting.
The other remarkable fact I thought is why is this under the name of Steven Wilson (by
which name he himself does totally different music) and not his drone moniker Bass Communion?
It would have surely be fitting there, even when the drones of 'Solace' are less continuous
and more sparse; perhaps also more musical, taking various pastoral chords from the original
and spreading out them out over a twenty-one minute lovely piece. I wouldn't have minded
more original Fovea Hex today (I'll return to the older albums straight away), but this
remix sure works almost as well - the big wait for the next instalment has started!" [FdW/Vital Weekly]