You are hereAlbum Review: The Imagined Village - Bending the Dark (ECC Records)
Album Review: The Imagined Village - Bending the Dark (ECC Records)
This third album release by the mighty Imagined Village comes along despite just about every imaginable obstacle thrown in its way; from family illness and personnel changes to all manner of disruptions to service, both unexpected and unrequired. Afro Celt Sound System's Simon Emmerson and Co are clearly unfazed by such inconveniences and have stared adversity in the face, bursting through the darkened clouds with a fine follow up to EMPIRE AND LOVE (2010) which features ten new recordings of songs new and old, each treated to the now familiar Imagined Village sound.
Joining regular Village people, Eliza Carthy on fiddle, Martin Carthy on guitar, Ali Friend on bass, Andy Gangadeen on drums, Johnny Kalsi on dhol, tabla and percussion, Barney Morse Brown on cello, Sheema Mukherjee on sitar and Simon Richmond on keyboards and electronics, is young fiddle player and singer Jackie Oates, who is equally fuelled with the desire to help produce a rich tapestry of multicultural music, contributing a new and almost ethereal voice to the equation.
Once again the musicians create a rich mosaic of sound encompassing a variety of World influences, especially on the title track, which attempts to cover all corners, with its changing rhythms, Asian chanting, Western fiddle and Eastern sitar sparring as well as some well-produced drum workouts. In the tradition of all good collectives, no singer takes a prominent role, with each voice serving as another small part of the whole, whether it's Jackie Oates providing the unaccompanied Captain's Apprentice, learned from the singing of Kathryn Roberts, or Eliza Carthy singing alongside dad Martin on the sublime Nest, the latter allegedly popping into Ollie Knight’s studio to record his bit in between doing the dished in the family home next door.
The writing on BENDING THE DARK is pretty much new with one or two exceptions, including Eliza Carthy's reading of the traditional New York Trader as well as incorporating a nod towards the Raggle Taggle Gypsies during her own allegorical Sick Old Man. On the whole though, the Imagined Village creates another fine example of diversity over adversity, with the common goal achieved. Highly recommended.