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Sieben - Desire Rites
Tuesday, April 15 2008 @ 01:00 AM PDT
Contributed by: ChAwech

Desire Rites

Artist: Matt Howden - Sieben United Kingdom

Title: Desire Rites

Label: Trisol / Iceflower Germany

Genre: Neofolk / Neoclassical

01 River Sheaf
02 Learn Some Sense, Howden
03 My Prize, My Punishment
04 Rite Of Amends
05 Rite Against The Right
06 Missolonghi Sky
07 Come To My Bed
08 All-encompassing Rite
09 Rite For The Unfulfilled
10 A Modern Hymn For The Religious
11 Turn The Power
12 Communication Rite
13 Desire Rite

Concept albums. We're all familiar with them. Matt Howden is too. His previous reviewed releases, Sex And Wildflowers and Ogham Inside The Night were both concept albums. Desire Rites is too; an album filled with rites, as well visible from the album titles. Desire Rites is filled with personal opinions on current developments, as well as songs about personal experiences. It starts out with River Sheaf, which has a rather traditional folk feeling to it, unlike the rest of the album. Matt probably thought so too, and breaks off the song after not even two minutes, and barely six lines of text, with a nice 'Oh, fuck this'.

What's special about this album is that, with the exception of vocals and the bass guitar, all the music is made with the violin. Through different techniques, such as scratching the bridge of the violin with a two day old stubble beard, Matt creates truly wonderful musical arrangements. Other techniques include tapping the body of the violin and scraping the strings with fingernails. How's that for some nice experimentation?

Lets lift out a few songs, starting with 'Rite Of Amends'. It's a very relaxed song, in which you can hear clearly different techniques Matt uses; playing it normal, but also plucking the strings. Add to that some dark bass guitar, introspective lyrics and Matt's very enjoyable voice, and you have a really wonderful song. You know what? Matt has actually put the song online for everyone to enjoy, so go on, download Rite Of Amends, and experience its beauty.

Heading to the latter half of the album, where some my favorite tracks of this album are located. Track ten is only 27 seconds in length, and ends with the very true sentence 'There is no god'. Next up is a track with very simple but, again, true lyrics. It's about turning off the power. Just for once. There is much more to do in life than spending your days using electronic devices. 'Communication Rite' utilizes modern internet phenomena in it's lyrics. The whole song is a rather sarcastic one about current online communication tools, especially myspace and youtube. It is, indeed, 'save to turn your computer off'.

The album comes in a two panel digipack with a 24 paged booklet that includes all the lyrics, and and introduction to the album. What more can one ask for? This is a wonderful and complete album, and very different than any of the neofolk albums you are probably used to. There is indeed no acoustic guitar and no overused theme in the lyrics. Truly a fresh wind. If you ever have the chance to see Matt live, do so. I know I am on the 25th this month.


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