17th Century Japanese Aviary – Inti Rowland (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

1013873_640537759390830_2262572291413633283_nThey say don’t judge a book by it’s cover. They say that it is also a cliché. It is a cliché that most clichés are true, but then like most clichés, that cliché is untrue. Hang on…where was I? I suspect we have all bought albums based on something other than the music, cover art, sleeve notes and the like, well what initially drew me to Inti Rowland’s debut album was the song titles. The title track alone is enough to suggest an interest in more wordy concepts but add to that such titles as Mongolian Hunters, The Pendulum Swings For the Joy of It and The Books From my Shelves and you can pretty much guarantee that this album is also going to be devoid of the usual musical clichés.

 

Indeed what follows is a collection of wistful and drifting folk reminiscent of Nick Drake or John Martyn with wonderfully literary lyricism that could easily stand aside from the music as poetry in its own right. Recorded in a secluded setting in the Scottish Highlands these beautify compositions seem imbued with the solitude and tranquility of the place, even when conjuring such distant subjects as Japanese courting rituals or the steppes of central Asia.

 

Achingly beautiful, wonderfully sonorous and filled with pastoral delights, Rowland’s debut album is a triumph of restraint and atmosphere.

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