Horses Brawl return with their fifth album, the intriguingly-named Ruminantia, which is a class of ruminant animals, including sheep and deer if you were wondering.
The album was recorded using single takes, and the resultant sound is therefore both impressive and raw, unimpeded by over-production or perfectionism. That is not to say there is anything rough though, this is a striking set of tunes played with skill.
Laura and Andre play an unusual set of instruments: fiddles, recorder, guitars and harmonium, which allows for some curious combinations such as the hardanger fiddle and Indian harmonium that appear on Brid one Brere. They combine in a percussive piece that meditates around a theme in a slightly hypnotic manner.
Trip to Paris is a different affair entirely, and an upbeat opener to the album. It is based on a traditional English country dance tune, but the harmonium draws the music towards the continent, particularly in the repeated emphasising low notes.
The Medieval and Renaissance periods are well represented with the Renaissance alto recorder on Onse Vader and Magister particularly well played. Making recorders enjoyable to listen to is mean feat if the listener has ever had to sit through a school concert, but these are a delight.
The music Horses Brawl have chosen is well-traveled, some in distance, like the atmospheric final piece Skolion from Greece, and others in time. Yet, the combination of different origins works well to produce an album that combines authentic historical playing with intriguing, innovative musical combinations.Liz Osman
Released by Brawl Records on 1st May 2012.
1. Trip to Paris
3. Brid one Brere
4. Onse Vader
5. Isabella Dansa Alta
6. Gentle Robin
7. Bass Polska