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Reviews
Fire + Ice - Birdking
Saturday, March 15 2008 @ 01:00 AM PDT
Contributed by: symbolique

Birdking LP

Artist: Fire & Ice United Kingdom

Title: Birdking LP

Label: Trumpets of Doom Germany

Neofolk / Traditional Folk / Heathen

Side A
Dragons In The Sunset
Birdking
The Werewolves Of London Town
Drighten's Hall
Gaze Of The Proud
The Lady Of The Vanir

Side B
Flagg
Take My Hand
Greyhead
My Brother
Buast Til Ëfri­ar
Where Have They Gone?

Eight years ago Ian Read’s Fire + Ice released this sublime gem of traditional folk. Eight years and with his and Fremdheit’s permission, Trumpets of Doom has re-released Read’s neofolk masterpiece in an extremely limited vinyl release that demands your attention. It demands it now else you’ll never see it again.

As the oil spins and the needle follows the spiral inward one is indeed transported back in time and far beyond 2000, the clarity and warmth of Birdking is unveiled unlike ever before, crisp and close, intimately eld. The atavistic folk of Ian Read here shines at the height of Fire + Ice’s recording career; the music is beholden to a recreation of ancient and heathen folk in pure delineation. The instrumentation beautifully sparse, Read’s unmistakeable voice tremulous, Birdking is an album of absolute beauty and sorrow. Artful acoustic guitar is folk-picked or strummed, its timbre ringing as bells intricate in subtle minor progressions and dynamics. Keyboards cry and mourn in howls, weep and press deeply haunting arpeggios. Violins sweep and stab short rhythmic pulses and ever the music remains plaintive and sacral, but not the obsequiousness of Abrahamism.

Each track is a jewel dug from earthen soil. Isolated from each other they would be any other band’s crowning single across an album, but here you have 12 radiant singles gathered for your treasure room of gathered stones and bones, ancient altars and smoking thuribles. The music is a bastion of folk and Read apports each song an offering for the fortunate listener. The production is lush and timeless. Birdking will stand the test of time, an album that could have well been heard centuries ago and centuries to come.

Every effort of care has been made with the packaging and presentation by Trumpets of Doom, whose not-for-profit status in releasing exclusive records shows they are a label to assiduously follow. A thick plastic sleeve embeds Birdking, with hard-stock purple card embossed on both sides in thick beaded silver; the runes like some ancient inscription once molten in stone. Everything save the limited numbering is embossed: everything. Within further treats lie. Full lyric sheet on mauve heavy card is printed on both sides with full liner notes and black and white photo of Read himself, hand raised in recondite pose amidst oaken boughs and leaves. The silver poetry may not be embossed but is well spaced and arranged. Finally the record, hefty in its thick paper sleeve, 180g a pure white platter pressed with inner decorative art in matching purple and silver: runes and animist icon. In a limited edition of 400 another exists in marbled vinyl, this limited to one copy per customer and to a further 100 copies.

     


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