Joshua Burnside – more successful experiments with recipes that blend folk music and ‘other stuff’.
Release Date: 18th November 2022
Format: digital / bandcamp
A regular in the recently revived folk music charts – what you might, in the nicest sense, call a chart botherer – Joshua Burnside is oft associated with the gang of mavericks who take folk music by the scruff of the neck and off into exciting and unique directions. Experimental is what they call it, but it works, or seems to, judging by the fuss that’s come from the mainstream in particular. Acclaim for his two albums has come from his native Northern Ireland, BBC Radios 1, 2 and 6 and numerous telling print and online media.
Drones and distortion are the order of the day as Woven weaves (naturally…) its wayinto being. His MO of alternative electronica, world music, found sounds, all patched into Irish traditional song heritage via innovative production is back in force. It’s dense with the fiddle dancing just about managing to surface while some banjo or tuned percussion swims in the depths. The unaccompanied singing at the opening of the title track fits the folk bill perfectly. All well and good as the gentle acoustic guitar accompaniment is briefly distracted by what sounds like some experiments with a cymbal.
It feels a little like he’s a subscriber to the Dylan (circa 1966) philosophy of “it used to go like that and now it goes like this,” as the folk music core gets bent and pulled out of shape. Louis Mercer is a delightfully quirky piece with the kiss of brass and tuned percussion offering a playful feel in the friendly fairground sway. Rough Edges goes low key, the acoustic guitar and voice of a melancholic and apologetic love song briefly
Finally leaving us to contemplation with the evocative Where White Lillies Bloom, the instrumental stokes the fires that may have been cooled by some bleaker visions of Burnside’s Belfast. We’re left with a more traditional episode; fiddle, drone and a sweet melody plus a hint – possibly – of will ye go Lassie, the Clancys and wild mountain thyme. Could it be more folky?
The thought comes to mind that Joshua Burnside is an inventor in the same way as Heston Blumenthal, doing the unexpected with things that shouldn’t conceivably work. In a more appropriate music analogy, his work gives an indication of what might emerge should Brian Eno ever dip his toes into the folk waters. In fact, the thought of crowing him ‘The Eno of folk’ seems as good a conclusion as any.
His biggest headline show to date is imminent – The Ulster Hall, Belfast on December 23rd, with support from Lemoncello.
Here’s the official music video for the title track:
Categories: EP Review