‘Inver’ from HAV - intense atmosphere-generating music(April 10, 2017)
Music described as ‘ambient’ tends towards background rather than music listened to with intent. Frequently, the flow of sound is simply somnolent. There are however exceptions, the debut album ‘Inver’ from HAV, described thus: “... a unique fusion of modern and traditional folk” is one.
Traditional instruments rub shoulders with field-recordings, curiously idiosyncratic electronics meander around, while softly engaging vocals appear, carefully woven into the soundscape. The whole is anything but ambient. The experience begins with gently enough with the lengthy ‘Ffald Y Brenin’, easing into another original ‘Cullen Bay’ before moving traditional with ‘Loch Tay Boat Song’ made all the more delightful by the voice of Beccy Owen (complete with what appears to be sonar recordings). The mood raises with the vibrant ‘The Glenglassaugh’, then comes a sound-bite story about shaking hands ‘The Young Man’s Twenty First Birthday’ accompanied by much laughter, followed by a couple of traditional tunes ‘Lydia’s Wedding/ King O’The North’ both given the HAV treatment. They roll out of the album with a sombre rendition of ‘Peggy Gordon’ and another long wash of sound ‘Goodbye (This Time Forever)’ complete with screeching gulls and waves.
I feel that 'ambient' misleads in this instance, because there's much more on offer. I’d go for 'atmospheric', which is precisely what you get – intense, atmosphere-generating music.
HAV are Alex Ross (composer, vocals, fiddle, accordion, guitar, piano) Jonathan Bidgood (guitar, accordion, field recordings, sound design sound) and Ian 'Dodge' Paterson (electric bass, double bass, ukulele bass).
Review: Charlie Elland