Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh
Very interesting new release from Espers' cellist Helena Espvall and Ghost's Masaki Batoh. The pair originally planned this as a set of improvisations but it quickly began to focus on covers mostly traditional Scandinavian folk songs. To many this may sound like a completely irreverent choice but considering Espvall's Swedish heritage (even singing many songs in her native tongue) and the general psychedelic bent of much of the output from that region of late, it doesn't seem all that outlandish at all. The duo make fine sounding boards for one another. Espvall's string work is as fine as she's ever sounded and her voice is not only enchanting but more overtly bewitching on much of the record. Batoh brings his fluid guitar style, which has marked much of Ghost's work and fills in the nooks left by Helena's mournful tales. The Ghost singer even gets a few minutes himself to shine, pulling in a duet that twines the two voices nicely and helming the duo's cover of Son House's "Death Letter," which stands as a highlight of the album. This track in particular seems to hit on the central tone of the project; reportedly Espvall received word of the deaths of both a friend and her grandmother on the same day prompting the air of grievance that runs throughout. Excellent work from both parties and a wonderful channel for sadness into beauty.
[MP3] Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh - Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa
[MP3] Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh - Death Letter
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