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VARIOUS Better Late than Never... double CDR (Reverb Worship)

Extensive 2.5 hour compilation of Reverb Worship artists, comprising new and previously unreleased material. The album took two years to compile, hence the title. Unlike most Reverb Worship albums which are strictly limited, often to just 50 copies, this album is intended as an introduction to the label and will therefore be kept continually available. The album comes in a selection of different colour covers, including matt neon card. I have the fluorescent pink one which looks great!

Howling Larsons do a great psych-folk version of Pink Floyd's Matilda Mother. Foxpockets cover Talking Heads' Psycho Killer as though it was a trad folk song, using instruments like accordion and harp; it's bizarre, yet it works. Mark Stevenson with Heed the Thunder appear with Sproatly Smith's remix of The Scythe, which brings together a traditional style song and a Celtic folk dance tune with swelling, pulsating drones and found sounds. The Grey Field Recordings provide a piece of sound-art based on echoey and near-operatic vocals, spoken word, and atmospheric soundscaping. Prana Crafter transforms Syd Barrett's Dark Globe into a raw, sparse and fractured slice of Americana. Amanda Votta and the Spectral Light appear with This Is Where They'll Find You, a different version from on the recent Secrets to the Sea album. Minimal guitar, ethereal drones and found sounds provide the backdrop for a song that is dark, dissonant and unsettling yet beautiful.

David C. W. Briggs provides an excellent psych-folk song pairing folky singer-songwriter music with darkly atmospheric psychedelic music with an experimental edge. Palace of Swords' (We Are) The New Hyperboreans originally appeared on a limited edition lathe cut 7"; appearing here is a new version remixed by Creation Records co-founder Joe Foster, which combines hypnotically repetitive electronic music with atmospheric experimentation. The Hare and the Moon's The Bard of Eve, from the recent Wood Witch album, is remixed here by Shcuro. Vocals with a cathedral-esque echo, ritualistic percussion, harsh-edged electronic music, dramatic horror movie style organ and bells are all wrapped up in a feverish, woozy atmosphere. Temple Music make laid-back and hazy psychedelic music with a pulsating rhythm and washes of electronic sound effects. Still Light provide an instrumental piece based around a bright and positive guitar melody interwoven with brooding ethereal effects.

Zeuk and Luci provide an ethereal psych-folk song of great beauty. Sarada appears with She Has Died, an archival track from circa 2000. This is an experimental vocal piece setting semi-operatic vocals to wordless, murmured backing vocals, creating an eerie, artistic listening experience. Paradise Dance Hall make chilled-out psychedelic folk-rock in the US style. Sand Snowman and Alex Monk appear with a relaxing ambient soundscape. The Floating World provide a chilling, semi-abstract instrumental piece combining flute, noise guitar, and ominous bells and rumbles. Venereum Arvum, aka Rapunzel and Sedayne, perform a traditional verse about the Zodiac, entitled The Lion Shines, which they have set to a soaring melody with vocal harmonies, and cosmic electronic music - superb stuff. Kwannon combine recitations, semi-operatic vocals, and retro-futuristic electronics.

The Hare and the Moon appear with a second track, The Rolling of the Stones, remixed by Ken Patterson of 1970s folk band Caedmon, who also provides guest cello. This is an excellent version of this traditional folk song, featuring ethereal reverbed vocals and an eerie, dramatic atmosphere. The addition of cello works really well with this song. Alula Down are Kate Gathercole and Mark Bass of Sproatly Smith and Heed the Thunder; here they appear with a version of the traditional folk song Sheep Crook and Black Dog, in which Kate's vocals are accompanied by a sparse double bass arrangement. Solitude Ravencrow appear with an evocative dark folk track, Shaman Spirit, a different version of which appeared on their recent album The Wanderer Between Worlds. James McKeown provides an instrumental piece which is relaxing, artistic and beautiful, combining a laid-back guitar melody with shimmering drones and effects. United Bible Studies appear with an excellent folk track featuring the vocals of Alison O'Donnell; the song bridges the gap between contemporary and traditional folk in a highly listenable manner.

This album is a very much recommended snapshot of the often overlapping dark folk, psychedelic, and experimental music genres emerging from the underground of today. Available at www.reverbworship.com

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Text Kim Harten, 2015.