Pefkin - Inner Circle Outer CirclePefkin is the solo-project of Scottish experimentalist Gayle Brogan, who may be better known for being one-half of the retro-psych electronic outfit Electroscope - John Cavanagh, being the other half. Pefkin boast a number of short run releases but on Inner Circle Outer Circle, their first vinyl release, Pefkin dispense with the vintage electronics favoured by Electroscope, for most of the four tracks, replacing it with some blurred and hazy folk tinged tracks. Based around guitar, harmonium, drones and Brogan's airy fragile tones the four tracks of Inner Circle Outer Circle capture a sense of the misty moorland and glens of Scotland in an alluring quiet way.
It's fair to say Pefkin's songs are expansive and relatively abstract. The opening cut, 'Later I Walked Into The Woods' is enchanting as it entwines brittle and rippling guitar notes, as gentle harmonium type drone wheezes to Brogan's soft cooing and fragile spoken word. Performed in a manner of archaic drone based Scottish folk music her words are filled with a wanderlust of nature mysticism, as she traverses the Scottish moors and countryside. The following piece, 'The Place Thereof Knoweth It No More', is much more experimental in nature as she travels into frozen borderlands with tranquil location recordings and icy drones, overlayen with echoed and processed vocals, delivered by Brogan in her endearing Scottish burr reminiscent of fellow Scottish travellers Human Greed, as she speaks of the extinct seabird, the garefowl, and its former habitats in Scotland, its islands and Scandinavia. Slight sound treatments mesh with shards of plucked and bowed strings and airy harmonics that eventually coalesce, creating something like freeform experimental drone based Scottish folk music as a lament for a vanished species of seabird.
On the flipside the magickal intent continues with 'Sigils And Premonitions' where looped light tumbling guitar notes provide a backdrop to Brogan's wordless soft cooing. As it ambles onwards her voice rises resonating with ghostly harmonics, while underneath sheets of electronics shift, before wandering off into an extended interplay of loose vocal tones, atmospheric droning and location footage. The final track 'Isn't It Good To Be Lost In The Woods' is much more reminiscent of Electroscope with its oscillating psych synths patterns. But here Brogan's employs a delightful overlapping technique of multi-layered vocal, which weave in and out of the wavering sixties inspired organ chime. And while it doesn't achieve the archaic quality of the earlier tracks, it does provide a knowing nod to Pink Floyd, a pivotal influence on Brogan and Cavanagh's work as Electroscope.
Pefkin's wonderful and vivid track titles could almost belong to a Cyclobe album but whereas Cyclobe revel in a gnarled mysticism mired in blurred and warped electronics, Pefkin's music draws on nature with a hushed, intimacy. Not being familiar with Pefkin's previous works I can't compare this to previous releases but aside from the obvious folk influences there's a linkage that stretches from Nico to Grouper, but with its archaic strings and harmonious vocal, some of it even brings to mind a lo-fi take on Rose McDowall's later works as Sorrow. It's certainly a work of understated beauty and in its own way is quietly seductive. Inner Circle Outer Circle is released by Morc Records in an edition of 100 copies. For more information go to www.morctapes.com