Review | Songlines

A Pocket of Wind Resistance

Rating: ★★★★★

View album and artist details

Album and Artist Details


Karine Polwart with Pippa Murphy


Hudson Records


From the first note to the final, pulsing heartbeat, this is not merely an album of songs but a full 57-minute composite of music, field recording, song and spoken word. The results are devastatingly powerful. At first I was intrigued, then admiring, and soon totally gripped as by a great film – I could hardly bear to listen but felt unable to stop. This album from the multi-award winning Scottish folk singer Karine Polwart, in collaboration with sound designer Pippa Murphy, results from a theatrical commission she created for the Lyceum Theatre for the 2016 Edinburgh Festival. The project as a whole is the result of profound experience and has a spiritual, meditative quality. The title springs from the way the geese that migrate to Polwart's local moor help each other in flight by creating ‘pockets of wind resistance.' This sense of inter-connectedness moves into a wider theme of childbirth in which Polwart, a mother herself, examines the fragility of life and the dangers of childbirth from which modern healthcare shields us.

Drone-like chords earth the music in the peat bog of the moor, while Polwart's desolate wail at times brings to mind Islamic spiritual chants. The whole is a giving of thanks to the binds that tie us together, both human to human and across all life on Earth.

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