Clara Engel: Their Invisible Hands (bandcamp)

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I Drink the Rain
Clara Engel: Their Invisible Hands (bandcamp)
Clara Engel from Toronto – whose preferred reference is to they/them – is Elsewhere's kind of artist: they are prolific and self-starting, and very polite in e-mails.

The latter goes a long way.

Far enough to make us check out this new album which delivers wonderfully crafted songs along the haunting, ethereal drone-cum-alt.folk line.

They say they have been described as “minimalist holy blues” (seems fair) but they also suggests as descriptors “uneasy listening/experimental folk/like something dug out of the earth but slightly luminous” (agreed).

They have had their music on various indie labels in North America and Europe and on the evidence of this compelling album which pulls you into its own world, you can hear why.

With found percussion, gently plucked cigar box guitar and melancholy bowed lyre supporting their haunting and up-close vocals (strong but not assertively so), this is something rather special and unique which exists between the intelligent end of Gothic ambience and disembodied dream-folk.

The remarkable thing is that despite how that sounds, this is never so dark as to push the listener away, rather it has that opposite effect. They occupy their own quiet and thoughtful world where there are certainly shadows but they draw towards the distant light.

There are also haunting songs throughout (start with I Drink the Rain and Magic Beans), the instrumentals Cryptid Bop and Rowing Home Through a Sea of Golden Leaves are utterly hypnotising and the whole collection is seductive.

You can hear this at bandcamp here where there are many other albums by this singular artist who says, “I'm not writing the same song over and over so much as writing one long continuous song that will end when I die”.

Like a dark but beautiful dream you can drift into.


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