1 Feb 2015

Moongazing Hare "Changing Tidelines"

Reviewed by Grey Malkin (The Hare & The Moon)

Moongazing Hare, or Denmark's David Folkmann Drost, has been quietly releasing spellbinding and breathtaking psych folk albums since 2009 creating his own alternate universe of gentle, melancholic but challenging songs that cultimated in last year's strikingly beautiful 'Under Sundayland Lights'. The recently released 'Changing Tidelines' takes another curious and intoxicating turn that is both original and deeply personal (Moongazing Hare do not produce standard straight ahead folk, there are twists, turns, shadowy corners and unexpected diversions sprinkled throughout their extensive back catalogue). Folkmann Drost describes the process and recording as 'three songs inspired by, and built around the writing of my internet friend Cammy Morgan, whom I've never met with or spoken to in person. She posted a Facebook status update at the end of 2014 that stood out to me, and I asked for permission to use it in a song. It worked better than I hoped, and I soon found myself reading through the back pages of her old blog...Cammy's writing is achingly human, honest, poetic and completely unpretentious. These are qualities I aspire towards in my own song writing, and in lieu of the real thing, it felt really good to borrow her words....'

Opener 'Yours Truly Louisiana' is a delicate, late night recital of a struggle with depression, a reflection on a year of change and a possible new beginning. Folkmann Drost's voice is achingly bare, genuinely affecting and subsequently hugely powerful. He breathes real emotion into Morgan's evocative and painfully but poetically honest words, weaving an acoustic shimmer that holds rapt attention throughout. Reminiscent of both Bonnie Prince Billy's wintery 'The Letting Go' and The Driftwood Manor's 'Of The Storm', this is a perfectly pitched song, organ drones enter to provide a spectral string section but the words and thoughts are allowed to take prominence for full emotional effect. In comparison 'Hearts in the Air' is an organ and drum led driven song of intent, Folkman Drost's vocals somehow impassive but also deeply affecting, not unlike Bill Callahan's delivery with his work with Smog. A recounting of personal and heartrendingly difficult days that also contain the most affirming and poignant moments, the organ feedback and  fuzz, layered harmonies and immediate nature of the recordings ably frame these diary extracts with a warmth and vulnerability, providing a perfect backdrop. 'The Macon Waeather Forecast' is a banjo and organ lament, autumnal and descriptive of a coming storm, drones aching across the weathered landscape of the lyrics. And then the EP is over. It takes a few moments to readjust; such is the pull and hold of the music that is contained therein. It genuinely feels as though we have been allowed a real glimpse, a snapshot into someone's inner life; one which has allowed us to enter their world for a short while. And it is an admirably human and dignified world, altogether frail but also with a determination and underlying strength.

As a project or concept this is truly successful. Morgan's words and Folkmann Drost's music interweave and present beautifully. In the linear notes Drost speaks of ‘any awkwardness or pretentiousness in the recordings’ being his but I don't hear any; instead I hear something honest and respectful that says something of being alive, of being human. And as a piece of music, something heartfelt and involving.

Hear this EP, but by all means don't stop there, delve into the fascinating and rich world and discography of Moongazing Hare. You will not regret it.

Available now as name your price download on Bandcamp.

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