Thursday, 6 January 2011
The first thing through the letterbox at Hartop Towers in 2011 is the eponymous cassette release by Compass Hour on the Wisconsin based label Brave Mysteries. Brave Mysteries released one of the great albums of 2010 with "Fantasma Di Perarolo" by Burial Hex, I thought it time to discover more of their catalogue.
Compass Hour is the latest project from Troy Schafer and Nathaniel Ritter from Kinit Her and Eric Bray from Artic Hospital. I saw Kinit Her at the 2009 Equinox Festival in London and wasn't too overly impressed. Bad gig? They seemed and sounded "wacky", trying to hard and sounding like a cross between Devo, The Residents and .... something wacky! Since then a few folk have been telling me how good Kinit Her sound so I thought this tape would be a good litmus test. Artic Hospital remain unknown.
The album is limited to 100 and comes on a C40 tape.
The sound of Compass Hour came as a surprise. The instrumentation is varied with violins, cellos, recorders, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins, dulcimers all in the mix. The sound is folk. Folk a la Comus (with whom Kinit Her shared the stage with that night) and Current 93. I read in some blurb that they take their inspiration from 1960's Swedish prog-folk band Algarnas Tradgard..I can hear that in there too. Information is thin, no track listing for the six pieces but it truly is a great album and a great first foot in for 2011. Hopefully a full CD by the end of the year?
"Compass the hour, Compass the man" - can't stop saying that!
If there are any copies left then buy now from Brave Mysteries: firstname.lastname@example.org
1: Brave Mysteries Logo.
2: Compass Hour tape sleeve cover.
3: Troy + Nathaniel of Kinit Her (lifted off the internet).