Tenebrae includes sounds one might hear on a cylinder recording discovered in a closed-up Victorian home tucked far off the road in the mountains somewhere. It could be Portland, Oregon, or Portland, Maine, or the deep recesses of Western Canada. The songs are, at times, mysterious and otherworldly, though Theo Angell's voice retains an earthy beauty that grounds so much of his songwriting on his previous long-players: Dearly Beloved (AMI-025) and Auraplinth (Digitalis 050).
The tunes included here are almost minimal in terms of instrumentation, though the Tabernacle Hillside Singers include some of the most important players in the contemporary Psych-Folk scene. Along with labelmate P.G. Six, Tenebrae includes Samara Lubelski, Tom Greenwood, and Matt Valentine, who help infuse Theo's songs with British Folk, Acid Psych, and Minimalist flourishes, as heard on "Like a Wind," "The Shadow Ring," and "Wakeling." "Tenebrae" and "Higher Something" are both Grade A Angell, investigating his lifelong interest in the sacred and profane. Imagine if all those road movies from the 1960s delivered something more akin to Flannery O'Connor than Steppenwolf and one begins to understand the outsider Folk sounds Theo provides here. Theo cites Alan Lomax's ethnomusical recordings from the Italian mountains and countryside in the years following the Second World War as a primary influence on his current approach to music. To that end, the complex vocal interplay on Tenebrae references a Renaissance-vibe embedded in the rural countryside.
Tenebrae by Theo Angell is licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.