Audiological Transmission #28/52: Helix – United Bible Studies
Doineann was the fourth release during A Year In The Country’s first spin-around-the-sun.
It is a fine piece of collaborative, exploratory work, featuring Natalia Beylis, David Colohan, Richard Moult, Paul Condon, Áine O’Dwyer, Emer Brady, Jez Creek, Casey Denman, Gary Morrison, Enda Trautt, Alison O’Donnell, James Rider, Michael Tanner and Declan Kelly.
(Helix itself is played by by David Colohan, Natalia Beylis and Richard Moult.)
When it was sent out into the world it gathered a number of also rather fine considerations and scribings.
Excerpts from and signposts to a few of those are below:
“The ever shifting landscapes of UBS converge once more, this time in a predominantly instrumental vein that echoes rainswept moors, moss-streaked doldems and a rainy gray that is as beautiful as it is chilling… Alison O’Donnell’s vocal for “Across the Blackened Fields” feels as old as time, and if you’ve ever wondered why there’s such a powerful haunted folk insurgence happening now, this album is one of the key reasons why.”
Dave Thompson, Goldmine Magazine
“Despite a fluid and ever-changing membership (not to mention an admirably diverse collection of musical instruments and noise-making gadgets) United Bible Studies have honed an original and at times unmistakeable sound in their prolific thirteen-year recording history. To put it in perhaps overly simplistic terms, they have one foot in the ambient/drone camp and the other in wyrd world of psych-folk. But more important is their willingness to embrace unconventional musical structures and at times do away with these structures altogether, instead creating collage-like, improvisational pieces that owe more to sound art and contemporary composition than they do to traditional or popular music.”
Thomas Blake, Folk Radio UK
“…rooted in Irish and British folk music, but experimental and improvisational from day one: not afraid to throw in synths, manipulations, crunchy guitars, sax, non-European instruments… folky and pastoral in some ways, but at the same time it’s modern and slightly ‘off’… unsettling.”
Oscar Strik, Evening Of Light
“…sonorous narration of mysterious vanished worlds… steeped in magic and oblique romance… wrapped in a precious casket preserved intact from some distant era and today perpetuated by the feeling of a collective of musicians who continued undeterred in their own explorations of another human and sound dimension…”
(Translated by ether automations)
Raffaello Russo, Music Won’t Save You
“Helix enters on a waterfall of cascading piano, the combination of Richard Moult’s buzzing electronics and field recordings alongside Colohan’s organetta providing a clearing for the notes to shimmer and repeat. It is utterly beautiful but also icy; there is a sense of winter in this music.”
Grey Malkin of The Hare And The Moon at The Active Listener
“One imagines such editions being buried in time capsules or cemented in stone walls for future generations to mull over: sedimentary layers of history… the collective presents a mixture of intricate instrumentals and Maypole-esque vocal works. The singers waft through the speakers like passing madrigals, here for a moment and then gone…”
Postrockcafe, A Closer Listen
“An impressive aesthetic unity which may have found its fullest expression on Doineann…”
On interwoven landscapes and work: “…reanimation of the mythic countryside, underscored by liminal drones, residual folk forms and improvisation…”
Alex Neilson, The Wire
United Bible Studies ether victrola home can be found here.