Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
Simon Thacker it seems can not only make an enigma shine brighter than it could be imagined in the furthest reaches of an audience’s hopes and dreams but he can do it with such style that no matter what genre of music you find yourself most drawn too, he will have you believing in the art of classical Folk with the added bonus of Roma, Polish and the mysticism blend of the table as if it one of the finest undiscovered joys possible.
Karmana is Simon Thacker’s and Justyna Jablonska’s gift, if not to the world then at least the one with the tidings of winter, of the mystery and enclosed haunting sound that creeps out of the darkness like a music score from the best that Noir has to offer and it is one that is so deep it practically has its own deep oceans surrounding it; an oasis of inscrutability, of secrets laid down close to the table’s edge and one in which if it was a detective novel would be screaming out for the victim and pointing the finger at every suspect.
Aided with a sense of complete beauty and clearness by the outstanding Karine Polwart, Masha Natanson and the sublime playing of the tabla by Sarvar Sabri, Karmana is work of art, at some point you expect yourself to be transported to the Walker Art Gallery and be stood next to The Death of Nelson and watch the crowd’s gather and speak in hushed tones as they take in the spectacle, the sheer depth of artistry, that has gone into this release.
From the feeling of mystery to the absolute effort that has gone into recording the album, the use of backward recording, the spectral ambience in Karine Polwarts voice, the orchestration of up to 25 simultaneous guitars and 7 cellos; this really is not just any other day inside the studios, this is art pumping iron, it is steel and coal, it is historic.
Throughout the six piece segment that makes up Karmana, the riveting traditional Polish track Obyrtac, the dancing lilt inspired by Masha Natanson on La Carciuma de la drum, the rugged, heart breaking despair on The Highland’s Widow’s Lament, Aruna and An-t-larla Diurach, there is never a single breathe wasted, never a piece of Time in which the musicianship is anything but extraordinary.
A truly magnificent moment in music, Karmana is a huge slice of Heaven.
Ian D. Hall