Compulsion | PO Box 19577 | Kilbarchan |Johnstone | PA10 2WX | Scotland | UK

Albireon - I Passi Di Liu

On I Passi Di Liu the Italian group Albireon take a strong step away from neo-folk compositions for an album of gloomy, mournful laments, lead by the almost hymnlike voice of Davide Borghi. Albireon have released several albums on Cynfeirdd, and last year they collaborated on a 10-inch with Sonne Hagal released on Final Muzik. I Passi Di Liu, while maintaining a traditional folk feel places more emphasis on atmospherics than the folk melodies they are generally associated with. I Passi Di Liu recalls the more ethereal moments of Gordon Sharp's Cindytalk. Borghi's vocal takes on an almost sacred feel on 'Gli Equiseti' amidst soft bass tones and gentle atmo-wash. It's this moody atmospheric touch that makes Albireon so distinctive here. I Passi Di Liu is sung and spoken in Italian and is concerned with memories of a lost beloved one - a point amply conveyed by the mood of the music and cover art.

The sound is so fragile that it almost breaks, as it does on 'Cerbastri', a skewed folk ballad set against woodwind and background whistling. Even when guitars and piano enter the fray, the effect is slight, as they appear little more than embellishments to Borghi's haunting vocal. The same goes for 'Naufraghi' where Borghi's vocal hovers over classical piano notes, reverbed guitar and atmospheric hum. The spoken voice on 'Nymphalidae' is surrounded by creaking electronics, ringing guitar notes and ambient drone and when eventually an acoustic folk strum does appears it remains distant.

I Passi Di Liu carries elements of ethereal and traditional folk, and on initial listen the entire thing may sound too understated to cause much of an effect. Repeated listening, however, shows I Passi Di Liu to be an effective transitional release from Albireon. It will be interesting to discover how Albireon follow this up. I Passi Di Liu is available as a regular CD, while a CD and DVD package featuring a film by Albireon is available in an edition of 100. For more information go to