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Xenis Emputae Travelling Band - The Suffolk Workings

Xenis Emputae Travelling Band - New Etheric Muse

Xenis Emputae Travelling Band - Lords of the Green Grass

Xenis Emputae Travelling Band are UK based exponents of avant folk. These three discs each display a different facet of the group but all are inspired by the feelings and suggestions from a place. In a way it's a musical distillation of psychogeography combing location recordings, experimentation and song. A previous release, Full Moon June, was recorded at the ancient sites of Men-a-Tol. On these recording various parts were recorded in tunnels, beaches, piers and churches.

The Suffolk Workings are based on the folklore of the area. On 'Last Voyage for the King of Swords' words are intoned and slightly extended, deep tones resonate, metal clinks in the distance while a flute plays a fractured melody. 'A Donwich Dirge' captures the sound of the waves lolling on a Suffolk beach as a lone accordion softly plays. Elsewhere atmospheric drones rise and fall like a phantom echo throughout this low key and informal setting as they are released with traditional elements.

New Etheric Muse opens to subterranean tones, it's followed by a dishelved sound of a zither. 'Astrophel the Rustic Lasses Love' is a haphazard melancholic outing loosely based around the writings of Spenser. An innocent voice recalling the Victorian era is channelled over a still cold atmosphere of pouring rain, and feint metallic percussion on 'A Lyke Wage Dirge'. It possesses a childlike charm. This is the sound of the English countryside. Rural ambience, if you will. New Etheric Muse is by far more ethereal than the other recordings and fits nicely under the ether-folk umbrella.

Both discs are largely improvised and are more concerned with capturing the essence of a feeling of a place than providing a traditional song format, although New Etheric Muse features a number of song based outings. The Suffolk Workings and New Etheric Muse are released on CD-R by Larkfall recordings, in their classical oriented label design.

Lords of the Green Grass on the absurd-occult label Queasy Listening offers the most song based structures, or at least provides some loose primitive rhythms and acoustic songs. It's an ominous opening as a melodic flute creeps out over a rattling tambourine and industrial throb. Something is stirring in the deep, dark wood. 'Holly King' evokes the Wicker Man with its marching percussion in the manner of a funeral procession. 'Thoughts of Maytime' features plaintive doomy folk with a wandering flute accompaniment. 'King Helas' has a particularly medieval introduction that leads into a brittle folk interlude. This quaint recording closes with 'Bare Bones' a short folky meditation on death. This actually reminds me of the US wyrd-folk group Stone Breath. And given the esoteric inspirations behind Xenis Emputae Travelling Band that may provide the best description to this North Yorkshire based outfit led by Phil Legard.

Xenis Emputae Travelling Band are pursuing a rather striking personal vision but these low-key releases of experimental folk may appeal to those with an interest in the home made sounds of Vibracathedral Orchestra, Stone Breath, and the like. For more information go to and for Lords of the Green Grass go to