inle elni – the deep well (2015)

inle elni offer up long, sinuous folk/post rock explorations: as elaborate, detailed and mysterious as finding ancient carvings on an Ash Tree in a dense Nordic woodland.

Hailing from Santa Cruz the trio of Burl, Jessie and Taylore play just guitar, banjo and accordion. With this scant selection of instrumentation they conjure an atmospheric collection of dark folk songs, all over 6 minutes. Let’s talk at look at the deep well.

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‘The mine / the tomb’ floats in under a lullaby of twanging strings. The accordion draws in like a cruel winter’s night. Taking shape after a minute it gains a seafaring, adventuring momentum. Past 5 minutes intertwined harmonies compete for your attention.

‘Old hands, hollow bones’ comes together as a flighty hoe down, especially after the fifth minute where the listener to pitched into Walter Hill’s Southern Comfort.

Click to listen.

‘Windshadows’ starts with ravens picking at the flesh of carrion; a slow dazzle of guitar and banjo. Underneath the surface a hazy drone trundles; half laconic, half malevolent. The vocals become increasingly impassioned.

‘The well’ offers repetition of guitar and another aching accordion drone. Simple to the point of being skeletal. This is a story told with an economy that makes the resulting effect more potent. As the vocals build in intensity this is doubled, leaving the listener’s attention focused purely on the strong, pure voice. After 4 minutes of stasis the music finally starts to shift into life and the pace increases into an almost jolly amble. Past 6 minutes the tempo picks up again to produce a veritable whirlwind of strummed strings. As the end nears it solidifies into a mournful and listless fatigue.

‘Solace’, with its travelling motion and Saturday matinee drama paints an epic yarn of discovery as the new lands approach on the horizon.

All these songs could easily be about 3 minutes long but extending and exploring these works makes them infinitely more interesting. The songs reach out like exposed roots.

The album is dripping with mystical power. With just a guitar, banjo, accordion and vocals, inle elni conjure a world of dark woods, evil spells and creepy spook stories.

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