After feeling sick and miserable most of the week, I can think of no better way to have eased into the weekend than Tape Hiss and Sparkle’s album launch last Friday. Not only was the music lovely (both TH&S and supporting act Mesmer’s) but the event started and ended nice and early, something for which my flu-ridden self was most grateful.
Mesmer, featuring Coal‘s guitarist Vera Vukovic, set the mood with a haunting and (sorry for the pun but it’s true) mesmerising collection of medieval/celtic/folky songs, including (I’m told by Jess, a LoTR fan and highland dancer) a Tolkein poem and a Lord of the Dance number, as well as a lovely cover of Rammstein’s Seeman.
Their harmonies started off a little shakily but they soon hit their stride; as for their instruments, between the two of them they seamlessly worked through an impressive array including keyboard, guitar, lute, recorder, acoustic bass and a (djembe?) drum. Even their songbook had a suitably Baroque cover.
I really enjoy music in the medieval/Renaissance-vein so am glad to see there are local artists creating it – I’ll have to keep a look-out for more…
There was a somber air to the evening, both because of the introspective nature of the music and because the event came in the wake of the destruction and suspected bombing of Barmooda. Not only was the building virtually next door to Obviouzly Armchair, but it also housed Black Dog Photographic Studios whose owners are known by and friends of most of the people in Friday’s crowd as well as Simon Tamblyn AKA Tape Hiss and Sparkle.
The former Sleepers vocalist acknowledged the tragedy and dedicated a song to those affected, he also mentioned he was asked to play a ‘cheery’ set and apologised because that wasn’t possible given the nature of his music…
Three or four songs into his set I made a break for the door – where the albums were on sale. Though many of the songs he performed aren’t on Paperhawk, the album is quite lovely, the added production and instrumentation giving the tracks more depth though the stripped down performances on Friday were also totally enjoyable.
Earnest bedroom-folk-type songs with both subtle and direct references to Cape Town and South Africa as well as dreamlike imagery like ladders made of stars and fountains of love - very pretty stuff and well worth a listen.
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Download/listen to Paperhawk for free on Soundcloud (I highly recommend The Fountain of Love and non-Paperhawk track A hole for memory) & like Tape Hiss and Sparkle on facebook