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Fovea Hex - Allure

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Artist: Fovea Hex

Album: Allure

Label: Die Stadt

Review date: Aug. 14, 2007

Fovea Hex grabs the beating Heart of Albion and places it pumping blood around the veins of abstract bodies. Theirs is the sound of the rising sun burning off ambient mists from the village cemetery. It is the voice of the Grimpen Mire moments before the hound takes its revenge. This music is a close cousin to Coil’s “moon musick” where traditional tropes become woven into spectral sculptures.

Allure is the third and final installment of the group’s Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent series. Once again, big names assemble around the ex-Mellow Candle vocalist and driving force behind this project, Clodagh Simonds, with Brian Eno and Andrew McKenzie (The Hafler Trio) giving way on this occasion to Robert Fripp and Colin Potter (Nurse With Wound). It begins with tender dew drops of zither and an achingly mournful violin, before Simonds opines “the very first time we met I was so tongue tied. I’d no idea what I might say,” in that unfussy Celtic lilt of hers. On hearing each new broadcast from Fovea Hex, I have felt what she describes. It is so easy to fall under the group’s magisterial spell. Their craft as a group has been apparent from the release of their debut, Bloom, back in 2005.

As Allure unfolds, the song form is gradually eclipsed by more textural landscapes, slowly moving clouds that only occasionally offer up glimpses of the starlit skies overhead. Potter marvels in his role as the chief architect of these moon beam shimmers, shaping and shifting his otherworldly glacial tones, morphing them into euphoric pagan choirs and aviaries of wistful birdsong (our feathered friends have also appeared on both Bloom and its follow-up, Huge). Allure may not be the most immediate of the three Fovea Hex releases, but when taken in consideration as the conclusion of a wider composition it makes total sense, a fitting denouement to a wonderful series.

If this is to be Fovea Hex’s swansong (the grouping has always enjoyed the veil of its mystery), I would not be too disappointed. They came into this world and produced an hour of near perfect sound. Who could blame them for wanting to go out on a peerless and yet seemingly effortless high?

By Spencer Grady

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