Woodland Recordings 001 – The Diamond Family Archive EP & The Great Park EP
Woodland Recordings 2007
Today I want to introduce to you a small label that focuses on acoustic folk music – Woodland Recordings. It was founded in Brighton in England but now is loosely based between Berlin, Brighton and Ireland. The men behind the label are Stephen Burch (known for his music under the moniker The Great Park) and Laurence Collyer (known for his music under the moniker The Diamond Family Archive). They started releasing music back in 2007 and got 28 releases by now – and each copy of an album or EP is handmade and mostly unique and just available in a very limited edition.
I will begin where they began and give you a short review of their first release which was a double EP featuring both The Great Park and The Diamond Family Archive. I do so because both artists got a new album out but I just have their foregoing releases (nevertheless I’ll write about them in the next days) and I don’t want to start in the middle of things. So we do a little rewind in modern music history.
Just a few words before I start reviewing: the cover artwork you see above is the handmade and hand-numbered case both EPs are included in. Each EP comes in a separate white hand-stamped sleeve. Along with the two EPs WR001 got a 16 page lyric and chord booklet and a unique postcard as a little gimmick.
The Diamond Family Archive – The Diamond Family Archive EP
Listen while reading:
The Diamond Family Archive EP contains five tracks and is a perfect example for modern folk enriched with a little bit of experimentation. Besides the damped, clear and quite voice of Laurence Collyer and the music coming from his acoustic guitar you can hear different instruments such as a synthesizer here or percussions and piano there. I think the music could easily be described as psychedelic folk but not in the way of being psyched or cranky but in the way of being hypnotic and levitating. The only song which went a bit in another direction is Spade – I think it’s more an English folk song inspired by the hippie era and it strongly reminds me of Heron (the band) not at least because of the singing in two voices.
The Great Park – The Great Park EP
Listen while reading:
What I called psychedelic in The Diamond Family Archive’s music is what is not present in The Great Park’s music. The songs here are more down to earth – and I really don’t mean this in a negative way because that’s what makes the EPs and the sound of the artists different. Stephen Burch sings along to his acoustic guitar and also includes synthesizer and piano in his songs along with some percussion and pedal steel (if I’m not mistaken here). Overall Burch’s remarkable voice is more present and in the foreground as Collyer’s and therefore the songs are more likely what you would call singer-songwriter folk. The mood of the six tracks is thoughtful and sad and because of this very intense.
If you haven’t heard of the two bands mentioned above, WR001 could be a really good start to come up to them. Because of the variety of the EPs and their big differences it’s also very pleasurable to listen to them both. If you want to hear more of the artists, you should visit the MySpace pages of The Great Park and The Diamond Family Archive. To download some live show mp3s visit the download section at Woodland Recordings. I also highly recommend listening to the other artists releasing on Woodland Recordings – they are really, really good, too. And if you want a copy of WR001 let me tell you that they still got some in stock and that you can order your exemplar here.