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Wendy Rule & Craig Patterson – “Beneath the Below Is A River” Review

Wendy Rule is usually a beautifully dark folk lady but in teamming up with Craig Patterson, the duo have created a swirling ambience of etheral fragility with “Beneath the Below Is A River”.

Opener “The Way to the Wild” uses a simply melody clocking in and out while layers of whispy vocals caress the speakers in differing stroakes. This technique is then enveloped further with “Cocoon” which could easily be placed on a new age CD or a nature documentary programme as it encircles two chords with a lot of layered instruments, sounds and hushed vocals overlaying it. “Lost Until Moonrise” is not so dreamy as a single shivering string vibrates throughout while Wendy’s otherwordly hums float over the note creepily. The second half of the track see’s additional strings added but the foreboding undercurrent always stays in charge. “Eyes Open” is almost Enya-like with its piano/synth strings keyboard sample. “Exhale” runs a monotone space like a medative break in the album.

“Underwater” kicks off the second half of the album with bubbles, echoing guitars and soft vocal embelishments as once again song structure is ignored for overall feeling of the piece – although this is the most melodic and structured piece on the album so far. “The Creature” is a ten minute track that follows. Opening with ambient glares and shrieks of woodwind the first percussive beat of the album thumps in. The track continues to build with new drums added and harsh whispers and echoing lullabyes swirling round the background. This then comes into full fruition with the title track that follows as a full drum track and plenty of woodwind instruments join the forray for a journey downstream. It all quietens back down again with “The Hidden” which meshes together different patterns from the earlier tracks into one single melodic haunting. The album then finishes with “Uncaptured”, a new age medative track where Wendy actually sounds like a child!

Although its not a million miles away from Wendy Rule’s usual music, it has a completely different tone and texture to it. Most of it is ambience which will either hit or miss your ears and while I do prefer Rule’s usual musical style a lot more, I can certainly appreciate the medative state this album can send you into.

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