Friday, January 08, 2016

New Music 2016 - Part 4 - Clara Engel - Visitors Are Allowed One Kiss

It is the end of the first full working week of 2016 and for that I am thankful. I opened my mailbox on my return home and behind the weekly Domino Pizza flyer, that went straight into the recycling box as always, lurked a small padded envelope. Today had just taken another turn for the better!
Dispatched from the interesting independent label Paradigms Recordings, based in Kent, UK was this.

Clara Engel - Visitors Are Allowed One Kiss.

My first purchase from the above-label this may be but it is certainly not the first of music from Clara Engel, who hails from Toronto, Canada. Her releases, which might be (indeed often are) described as gothic folk, or possibly folk-noir from time to time, are always interesting and their supposed genre merely a distraction in many ways. They always demand attention - the vocal is sometimes almost spoken-word and the instrumentation apparently sparse yet, at the same time both deeply dimensioned.
I mentioned the Madagascar EP as long ago as May 2011 and the A Little Slander, A Little Lace EP (2015) as recently as last month as part of my reviews of 2015. There is plenty more to find, for she has released eleven albums (I think) but finding physical copies of much of the body of work is at best difficult.
That is indeed a potential issue with Visitors Are Allowed One Kiss - it is limited to just 200 copies on CD - but is still available here. The screen-printed fold-out packaging is a great complement to the recording and a lyric sheet is also included. The track listing is as follows (taken from the back cover of said CD):

There are only five tracks but each of them takes its time to unfold. Neither the individual songs nor the LP, which is a fraction over thirty minutes in duration, ever threaten to overstay their welcome. It is another triumph of the maxim that sometimes less is more.

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