Here at colourhorizon we’ve become very fond of The Ilk and their spooky brand of spectral folk. Here, mournful drones mix with playful strings to make a thoroughly rainy brand of ghostly ambience. This is music of forests and spirits, but save us your post-rock grandeur or your sub metal paintings of trolls, The Ilk are a subtle and unfussy affair, not an overt celebration of the environment, more a mere statement of the facts.
Celebrating the changing of the seasons comes three themed EPs (available as a full sized album if you so wish) that takes the listener on a rambling journey from Autumn through to Spring…
All Hallows’ Eve
Fittingly, All Hallows’ Eve starts with ‘At the forest break’, with its fluttering pagan drones of flutes and strings. A sad, mourning descent that typifies The Ilk and their sweetly intoxicating brand of spidery sadness. A slow waltz towards finality, skull death mask leering.
‘Variation on a theme by Vernon Elliot’ ambles lopsided like a whimsical murder mystery theme, warbling guitar adding frivolity.
‘Is the nightmare painted black or are the windows painted?’ pulses with Tangerine Dream washes before a scree-ing guitar hits back and forth jagged edges. A cheeky prog rock middle section of blurts then the clunking mechanisms of ancient timepieces takeover. This is followed up with ghostly whistling of time decaying time just as a Transylvania organ (a pipe organ?) sweeps through. All in all, an eerie, deeply evocative piece that would be suitable for background music for your local dungeon.
Fast-forward into Christmas and the soft strings of ‘Gabriel’s Message’ flow; spies are creeping down back alleyways.
‘Guaraldi’s Ghost’ slurps with a choir of the possessed and twangs with a Kinks riff on ketamine. Honkey tonk piano. Sea air, bar room brawl.
The Charles Dickens referencing ‘The Signalman’ chugs with a suitably motorik gait and tribal drums which builds to a sweaty fever-dream
‘The Chimes’ brings us back to traditional paths with elegant an draping of fireside organs. Except there is a Tubular Bells style guitar and a robust bassline to keep the momentum going.
The new year is upon us and life is returning. What better than the jaunty ‘Spring Surprise’, slowly ascending piano; squelching dewey electronica.
‘Jabberwocky’, featuring samples of narration from Jane Asher giving a Duke Of Stratosphear psych-whimsy.
‘At the place of the skull’ drags you down into slowly shifting mudbanks. A classic piece of The Ilk’s creepy world-building, deeper and deeper, lost headlong in the dark…