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Pefkin - The Light Bends Inwards

Pefkin The Light Bends Inwards coverGayle Brogan's Pefkin have been receiving some much well deserved attention lately. The Light Bends Inwards is her latest release of dreamy drone based experimental songs infused with the sounds of nature and a sense of landscape. Burd Ellen, her collaborative drone folk project with Debbie Armour exploring traditional song, may be garnering more column inches in the press but it is to her long-running solo project Pefkin and their "slowly unfolding psychedelic hymnals" deftly crafted from an enchanting and seamless layering of vocals, synths, violin assorted musical devices and field recordings I seek out and return to often. It's a unique sound for sure, but one carrying hints of a slimmed down Fovea Hex or the meditative folk ambience of Pantaleimon.

There's a distinct calming hush to the 4 songs on The Light Bends Inwards as they flow and saunter. 'Snowdrops By The Lade' slowly swells from reedy accordion and wavering drone into a sweeping electric violin melody. Brogan's gentle lulling tones arise wafting across the shimmering backdrop almost as another sound layer before slipping almost imperceptibly into soothing bird twitter. So graceful, so evocative it aches with a timeless beauty.

'The Drowned City' unfolds to the slightest of resonating drones shadowed by Brogan's spectral tones, gently overlapping like waves tumbling to the shore. Part folk song, part hymn, bursts of hiss, rumbling noise textures and the submerged rippling of deep water attempt to disrupt the musical spell cast by Pefkin here. But this is so deeply mysterious and magical nothing could break the fragile beauty of this cautionary tale.

Gayle Brogan's vocals are sometimes quiet murmurs and a mesh of harmonies but brought to the fore basking in the yielding ominous drones and wistful violin score of 'Spoondrift' they're radiant and soothingly sweet offering a paean to nature and the ocean. "How do you know how its wave will break?" she asks, amidst sparkling micro electronic tones and lighter synth work as it transforms into a love song, encompassing her continual interest in ornithology.

Pefkin always seem to include an expanded track and 'The Haar Still Haunts My Dreams' which closes The Light Bends Inwards is another beauty that demands deeper listening. Hushed, unhurried and haunted, its 13-minute duration is steeped in nature, furnished with recordings of chirping birds and cuckoo calls throughout. Shrouded in sombre electric violin over deep oscillating hum, riddled with discordant squeaks and creaks and tinkling of bells. Brogan's voice moves from sweet harmonies to quiet song, at points, layered to achingly beautiful effect, ebbing into a passage of organ chime, ringing bowl chime and forlorn violin as her voice becomes more pure and even more enchanting before it all falls away.

Many create music inspired by nature and landscape but few do it as well as Pefkin. Perhaps it's because this Ayrshire based musician resides not too far from my home in Renfrewshire. Some location recordings for this were recorded nearby and maybe that's why it fits so perfectly with my walks in the countryside. At times, I've removed my earphones to only to hear the same birdsong. But buy this, stick on your headphones, go for a walk amidst trees and foliage and get lost in its captivating and enchanting dreamy psych folk drone. The Light Bends Inwards is another highlight in an already impressive discography. The Light Bends Inwards is available digitally from MuzaMuza bandcamp, the lathe cut 12-inch single and cassette already sold out at source.