Little Hinges

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Little Hinges

From Canada’s west coast, siblings Qristina and Quinn Bachand’s aim in Little Hinges is to "open the doors of the beautiful but often-times rigid-minded traditional music we love to various sounds and inspirations we've accumulated". Structurally, this parks the contents of the collection in two distinct sections, linked by one of the pair's little hinges, the title track itself.

Given the experimental and innovative thrust of Little Hinges, it may be tempting to skip to the mid-point, but that would be to overlook the first half, during which Qristina and Quinn demonstrate their mastery of traditional craft and interpretation.

'Introduction' is oddly reminiscent of Pete Townshend’s rock operatic guitar links, but the cascading string dynamics of ‘The Reunion' plants all four Bachand feet firmly in traditional territory. Under the sweetly-voiced Qristina vocal on the optimistic ‘What You Do With What You've Got’, Quinn demonstrates superbly-inventive guitar work, obvious too on ‘The Bachand Jigs’, those decorated further by fine banjo/fiddle duelling in the controlled frenzy of the climactic ending. Bachand caps are doffed to Dick Gaughan whose version of 'Crooked Jack' influences the pair’s jazz-tinged take on a tale of a working man cut down at his duties.

Post-hinge, a series of traditional tracks is given new impetus by the Bachands’ imaginative and inventive cross-fertilisations with diverse structures and instrumentation. Here the sleevenotes are illuminating, referencing sources and influences, whilst giving insight to the recording approach, extra beneficial where the rigidity of tradition is tested and made beguilingly malleable.

As glockenspiels, celestes, heavily-effected electric guitars, fiddle and Joby Baker percussion and beats collaborate and compete in spacious echoey mixes, the experimental never overwhelms the traditional. Qristina’s blue-edged singing is never submerged as the folk melodies and narratives of ‘Hang Me’, ‘Jimmy’s Fiddle’ and ‘Three Little Babes’ sound as if they might have been written  with such treatment in mind, a triumph for the Bachand-Baker vision.

Date added: Apr 02, 2015

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