27 August 1985 (age 35)
Craigavon, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Northern Irish singer-songwriter Hannah Peel, is hurtling into a world of analogue synths and a “love for the golden age of cinema and Italo Calvino’s 1972 book Invisible Cities, the imagined travels of Kublai Khan, through the very real loneliness felt by living in big cities, the failure and building of new relationships, to the dreams of a better future.”
Consistently, Peel has won praise for innovative deconstructions of popular tracks and experimental indulgences within her music. She’s a connoisseur of fine music boxes – not a common thing, most will agree – but on the new Fabricstate EP, that idiosyncrasy, which piqued the attention of many, is (at least mostly) locked away. Instead, she welds together Juno synths, strings (of various styles), layered vocals and sampled ‘found’ percussion to create a kind of steampunk folktronica – it’s mechanical, futuristic to a degree, but frequently warm, organic and blessed by nature.
Much like Marco Polo’s Silk Road, Peel’s treks through many different cultures, from London’s electronic worlds, to Middle Eastern-style melodies, to Asian folk shrapnel, to classical European keys. It’s vast and vivid, summoning all kinds of epic visions of decade-long quests and ancient cultures.
Hannah Peel’s first EP in approximately a year marks, potentially, if this isn’t just a relieving of pent-up creative tensions, a new direction for her. There are remnants of the kind of hauntingly beautiful sounds we’ve grown to expect over the years, but this is by and large a jolt into the unknown – and it pays off. It’s an exhilarating listen, full of highs and lows. The intrigue is conjured most notably through the experiments she conducts within her new sound – she whisks you into a fresh world. It’s a very visual release, hijacking your mind and steering your imagination across the globe and throughout time. It’s only four tracks, but the depth at which Peel drags you will make it feel like considerably longer. If this is what she has in store for us in the future, then we should start getting excited.
(By Larry Day)
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