Pefkin - Liminal RitesReleased on the French label Wild Silence, Liminal Rites is the latest release from Pefkin, the solo project of Gayle Brogan. Brogan is one-half of Electroscope alongside John Cavanagh who also guests on a couple of tracks providing clarinet and vintage synths. We found a lot to enjoy on Pefkin's Inner Circle Outer Circle and Liminal Rites continues her fascination with the landscape, nature and its wildlife delivered through a beguiling blend of drone, folksong and voice. Liminal Rites largely focuses on the landscape of Ayrshire - an area I'm more than familiar with - and like the previous vinyl album, it is just as disarming in its ability to conjure up meditative and enchanting atmospheres.
"I am between two places" Brogan astutely sings in her gentle Scottish burr on the opening track 'Liminal Light', where her spoken words describe the landscape, wildlife and natural environment amidst delicate airy harmonies delivered over the sound of bird calls and waves crashing on the shores, while a tin-whistle blows like leaves caught in the wind. The allure of the natural landscape on Pefkin is more than evident. The following track 'These Blazing Stars' gently unfolds to graceful harmonious guitar plucks woven with melodic reedy pipe-like drone. Brogan's wafting tone accompaniment is mesmerising and enchanting, with the overall effect akin to an age-old Scottish ballad bathed in the half-glow of evening sunset. Captivating in its simplicity, 'These Blazing Stars' like the opener 'Liminal Light' comprise the shortest tracks on Liminal Rites, but they are just as evocative as the three other expansive tracks.
While most of the tracks on Liminal Rites revolve around the landscape of Ayrshire, 'One Held Hailstones' was written on Unst, the northernmost inhabited island of the Shetland Islands. 'One Held Hailstones' also features a starkness that is absent from the other tracks. In hesitant soft sing-spoken tones Brogan broods about the clouds, the skies, the birds and the waves, in a gentle murmur subject to light touches of echo over layers of faltering drone movements. Shadowed by spectral harmonies and faint gush of blustery wind it reflects the rugged barren landscape, crafting a mystical atmosphere that is powerful and hauntingly contemplative. That sense of contemplation and feeling of wanderlust prevalent thoughout the hazy soundpieces of Liminal Rites is just perfect to escort you on countryside rambles or less strenuous armchair travels.
'Down To Currarie Port' offers atmospheric mood music for a walk along the Ayrshire coast. Its tumbling buzz drenched guitar notes offer a backdrop to the voice of Brogan: her softly spoken words, drifting wordless accompaniment and gentle lilting vocals. Hushed and unhurried, its 15-minute duration saunters by aided by shivering drones that ebb and flow, a lone cymbal providing percussive touches while tranquil clarinet billows, from her musical cohort in Electroscope, meander amidst the shimmering guitar notes and slight psychedelic touches. Subdued in its nature 'Down To Currarie Port' is a moving and evocative track and a highpoint of Liminal Rites.
The final track is best described as psychedelic free folk drone music. Like all of Liminal Rites nothing on 'Hallucigenia' is rushed; every moment is preserved. Once again John Cavanagh features on a track that combines the retro-psych electronics of Electroscope and the understated drone and vocals of Pefkin to great effect. From whirring vintage synth oscillations, wrapped around cyclical strum Brogan's gentle voice enters and as the track slowly unfolds Brogan's voice, which ranges from gentle harmonics to echoed vocal tones, is joined by the soft breeze of clarinet ambling around the lilting folk drone before it strolls off into a haze of psychedelic electronics. It's a remarkable track of subtle and carefully controlled beauty.
Liminal Rites is atmospheric psych folk music that entwines landscape and mindscape, with a quiet mystical intimacy. I've been quite taken by the works of Pefkin I've heard and released in an edition of a mere 100 copies on Wild Silence this really shouldn't last long. For more information go to Wild Silence