Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep: Phelan Sheppard (Leaf)

Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep

Friday, October 13, 2006

Phelan Sheppard (Leaf)

First in the Leaf label series here at Boring Machines, Phelan Sheppard is the work of musicians Keiron Phelan and David Sheppard. Kindred spirits, the duo have been creating music together since their teenage years. Some people may recognise the more as State River Widening, after their excellent "Cottonhead" release.

"Harps Old Master", their 2nd album bearing thier surnames, was released by Leaf on the 25th of September to massive critical acclaim. I have yet to find a bad review for the album. Check out what Almostcool has to say about it, while Boomkat have proclaimed that the album is "a gorgeously textured record with an ease and compositional expansiveness...". The BBC Collective also refer to "Harps Old Master" in glowing terms, here.

The duo use a plethora of instruments on "Harps Old Master" including woodwinds, xylophones, keyboards, double bass, trumpets, acoustic guitars, bells, Fender rhodes piano and electronics. The sheer volume of instrumentation gives them a full-bodied, ambrosial sound that has the ability to both dazzle and hypnotize. Great effort was used to create the perfect sound on "Harps Old Master", it is the culmination of over a decade of working together honing their skills. Such determination and attention to detail even led to the duo incorporating instruments they had never touched before, such as the Fender Rhodes piano.

Recorded in an East London studio between October 2005 and February 2006, this album features collaborations with Josh Hillman (Willard Grant Conspiracy) and Guy Fixen (Laika). However, it is the inventive spoken word vocal contributions , on tracks such as "Collapsing Cat", by Spanish singer Ines Naranjo that elevates this album above its peers and leaves a lasting impression.

Phelan and Sheppard have a remarkable knack of producing hypnotic soundscapes that almost burst with instrumentation. Unlike most ambient releases, this duo prefer to use analogue instruments, that gives them their 'full' sound.

You can download an mp3 of "The Weaving Song" below (for a limited time only). This track is almost Oriental sounding, chiming like a delicate toybox, while cinematic violins and cellos create a sombre atmosphere, clashing with spectral female vocals. This piece comes highly recommended.

"Harps Old Master" has been described as a "kaleidoscopic, cinematic piece, rich in melody and charm" (source). It is such praise, that suggests that this album will feature prominently on end of year lists.

You can also sample more tracks here, while the album can be ordered for £10 at Post Everything. But for now enjoy the mp3 below.

"The Weaving Song" mp3 - Phelan Sheppard


At 15 October, 2006, Anonymous Szechuan said...

Leaf is a good label, I shall investigate

At 15 October, 2006, Anonymous ! said...

Check The Water is one of the best cds ive purchased in ages

I heart Leaf


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