Reviews

 

'Nights Bright Days' Album Reviews:

 

textura:

‘Nights Bright Days’, the third album from British singer-songwriter Chloë March, arrives in the wake of her memorable performance on Bloc 4, the most recent Hidden Shoal collection by Jumpel... [hers is] a style closer in spirit to entrancing artpop than ambient composition per se... A poetic quality pervades her material, and in that regard it doesn't surprise that many songs reference mythological tales and figures such as Eurydice and Orpheus. Crafted with obvious love and care, the songs unfold instrumentally as dream-like soundscapes where March's piano and synthesizers are complemented by guitar, French horn, and woodwinds contributions from Tommy Ashby, Emma Bell, and Ted Watson, respectively. Her music's defining sound, however, is her luminous voice, a smoky alto that unfurls like a plume of cigarette smoke, its velvety tone a sensual narcotic.... In a typical song, she bolsters her singing's impact and the music's entrancing potential by accompanying the lead vocal with intricate, multi-layered counterpoint (“Orpheus at Sea” one good example of many). At such moments, it's hard not to think of the mythological Sirens who used their hypnotic voices to lure sailors ashore, wrecking their ships against the island's rocky coast in the process.

As key as her singing is to the project, its sound design isn't incidental to its impact, as March enhances the songs with subtle touches, such as the twinkling mallet instrument that repeatedly ascends within “Winter Deep” and the soprano sax and bass clarinet haunting the backgrounds of “Sunless” and “Sometimes the Dark.” While the greater number of songs reinforce the enchanted character of the album's tone, there are a few, such as the piano-based reverie “Eucalyptus Night” and the jazz-inflected “Cafè des poétes,” that evoke the image of March singing softly within a dimly lit nightclub, her voice a comforting tonic for the weary listener. One imagines March's song cycle would appeal to listeners of artists like Kate Bush, Jane Siberry, and The Cocteau Twins.’ Textura

 

BBC6 Music:

‘Hidden Shoal (are) re-releasing that album which is a good thing as you can hear there, it’s absolutely gorgeous’ – Tom Robinson

 

Leonard's Lair:

Chloë March’s musical past covers a stint in the sophisticated melodrama of Cousteau as well as a background in drama and playwriting. Such skills and experiences have been put to excellent use on new album ‘Nights Bright Day’ where the attention to production detail is matched with fascinating storytelling.

Bathed in magical beauty, ‘Winter Deep’ sees March cast as the female equivalent of C Duncan, with whom she shares a cool, breathy vocal and a penchant for dreamy arrangements. March’s primary focus seems to be on piano-led numbers and lambent, ambient pop, with strong echoes of Jo Hamilton on ‘Cafe Des Poetes’, yet a diversions into psychedelic soul (courtesy of ‘Boho Night’) is tackled with skill and panache. The superb ‘Orpheus Head’ bubbles with highly inventive production and oddball melody where the key lyrics, “You’re in my head. You’re in the ground, beneath my feet”, are delivered gently for maximum impact.

A clutch of spare, vocal-led numbers (‘Ember’, ‘Eurydice On The Underground’, ‘Orpheus At Sea’, ‘Eucalyptus Night’) seem like lost anthems from a watery world whilst a spectral ‘Be Lonely Roi’ threatens to lure the listener completely underwater, engulfed by the hypnotic aural bliss. On abstract offerings such as ‘Sunless’, ‘Woods’ and the Anja Garbarek-esque ‘Owl’, meanwhile, it’s as if nature itself has decided to take over and recorded its own beautiful songs.

Variations in pace may be few and far between but this is not a problem because the arrangements always keep the listener guessing from the first song to the shiver-inducing grace of the finale ‘Unlit’. Furthermore, March’s vocals manage to find that difficult balance between elegance, emotion and mystery. A joy.' Leanard's Lair

 

Nowamuzyka:

‘Nights Bright Days’ is an evocative and poetic tale of sensual sounds arranged in a series of unique musical dreams... I compared her voice to Beth Gibons or Mimi Parker, but I cannot ignore such singers as Tracey Thorn and Tori Amos ("Ember", "Le Roi Lonely" and "Dream Swim")

The recording ‘Orpheus Head’ remains deep in the memory, with electronic backing, piled vocals, piano phrases and an elegant dream-pop vibe. In turn, the beautiful ballad 'Eurydice On The Underground' recalls the late 90s work of David Sylvian’ nowamuzyka

 

Strange Alphabets:

‘Chloë March's third album loosely fits in this category (the concept album). But you won’t find an overarching narrative theme. Instead, you’ll find a suite of songs that use image-patterns of night, winter, light, dark with a sub-theme of Orpheus and Eurydice running through three compositions. And I use the term ‘composition’ deliberately, for these amalgamations of synthesized programs, with delicate colorings of piano, saxophone, zither and guitar are closer to the work of Erik Satie than they are to traditional pop music. March’s work most recalls David Sylvian’s classic album, Secrets of the Beehive, with its slow burning atmospherics that borrow from folk, classical, jazz and electronic ambient music. Her smoky velvet alto also shares Sylvian’s ruminative phrasing. The use of zithers (in this case, autoharp and psaltery) at times recalls the hermetic, textural compositions of acoustic-ambient artist Colleen. Nights Bright Days is like musical incense. Recommended for fans of Sylvian, Virginia Astley, and Goldfrapp (in the vein of Felt Mountain or Tales of Us).’ Strange Alphabets

 

Eppy Gibbon Podcast:

'What a beautiful, beguiling dreamy and enchanting album it is too bringing elements such as jazz, classical, folk and dreampop together in one utterly fantastic collection of music. Chloë's vocals have a kind of transformative power to them and the guest musicians on the album bring with them bass clarinet, soprano sax, french horn - instruments all of which add to the beautiful layers of music....Stunning...a genuinely enchanting album… ' Ian Fairholm

 

Luna Kafe:

'Chloe March's new album is a gorgeously textured effort that harks back to her earlier material. Single "Winter Deep" is a lovely song with a mood that's ethereal and bright. It's almost painfully beautiful. "Orpheus' Head" takes it inspiration from Greek myth, and is a dreamy concoction with sweet vocals. March's music hits a high here. "Eurydice on the Underground" continues the Greek myth theme and its'a highly suggestive song. March's delivery is absolutely lovely and spot on. "Unit" ends the masterful album on a good note. March's sweet vocals against a neoclassical backdrop that recalls David Sylvian's art pop. It's one of many great songs on this brilliant album.' Luna Kafe

 

The Sunday Experience:

'Arresting sleepy headed woozy baroque folk dreaminess from Chloe March whose ‘nights bright days’ is getting a deserved re-release on the much adored hidden shoal imprint, pulled from it this sweet sortie entitled ‘winter deep’ which I’ll be honest ought on first hearing to have those of you attuned to all things Linda Perhacs hearing alarm bells going off in all directions inside your headspace for this little woodcut wonder plays peek-a-boo between the grooves like some kind of shy eyed sibling of Lisa O Piu here found spell crafting all manner of enchantment and twilight twinkling with a forest folk backing band made up of members of Oddfellows Casino and Stereolab – the latter of whom craftily leaving behind their kraut lounge nuances at the entrance gate.

Described as ‘sensual dream pop’ – a description so perfect we’ve struggled to better, ‘Orpheus Head’ is one of those rare sublime occasions where the configurations collide and converge in elegiac grace to craft something both enchanting and spellbinding where sophisticat night pop blended upon the distantly vague vestiges of folk, soft soul and down tempo electronica gather to arrest and seduce, for here elements of Linda Perhacs, Serafina Steer, Musetta and Stereolab intertwine with the emotional hush of a youthful Goldfrapp to engage something truly captivating, celestial and magical. Utter bliss in a word.' the sunday experience

 

Fresh On The Net

('Ember') ‘A stunning raw and emotional minimalism’ Shell Zenner

 

the modern folk music of america:

'this new tune, 'orpheus head', is a crystalline ballad of obsession that has Chloe creating strange sonic spaces with deep synthy instrumentals and many layers of her mesmerizing voice that sounds frosty and warm simultaneously. her music is a signature blend of classic pop, electronica, and psychedelia that you are unlikely to hear elsewhere.'

 

The Underground of Happiness:

'Chloë March with glorious dream pop, ('Eucalyptus Night') perhaps with a debt to Ryuichi Sakamoto.'

 

Blues Bunny:

'Chloë March’s album “Nights Bright Day” – now re-released on the Hidden Shoals label – is a work of intellectual shadows yet the light of the new day always makes it through her dark clouds in a manner that transcends any potential depression.

Much is made of repetition in the music that provides the platform for the introspection that appears to motivate Ms March.  An artistic choice is an artistic choice, however, and the effectiveness of that choice is illustrated in the simple piano figures that cause “Eucalyptus Night” to sway as if sighing as the world described in the lyrics spins to a sudden stop. The simplicity of “Winter Deep” provides a further example and, as if driven to describe the ethereal, Ms. March uses her musical witchcraft to cast a spell that turns all that would be wistful into something hypnotic.....Beauty is in the ears of the beholder and these ears behold beauty.' Bluesbunny

 

Velvet Independent:

'Sixteen blissful, piano fused tracks... Nights Bright Days creates an artistic balance, between the isolation and admiration found in pop and piano based music. The essence of isolation feels more apparent on March’s piano based track, yet feels oddly inclusive and warming. We are welcomed into March’s own isolation, her habitual abyss for anyone to becomingly gaze upon her poignant work. March’s vocals carry this admirable isolation in between soaring gracefully, no louder than the glow of the morning sun, retaining consistently high pitch and focus, while remaining simple and charming, to then becoming as smooth as a bottle of aged whiskey, with an ever so slight husk in her tone, that resonates a stroke of jazz into her calming performances. Collectively, Nights Bright Days becomes a piano based album at heart, with some notable turns to the recognisable fixations of most singer songwriters, on leading track Winter Deep as well as Boho Night, Orpheus Head and Dream Swim, all finding their own fixation of fusing pop with classical piano. Within Nights Bright Days opener, Winter Deep, broken folk melodies combine with March’s similarly themed vocals for an unassumingly misguiding opener. When placed in comparison with most of Nights Bright Days; the elegant piano tones found on most of the LP’s tracks, become buried underneath a wave of ambience from confusing contemporary folk, altered by the progressive styles of singer songwriter influences, and minute pop intrusions.

Welcoming N-B-D as a contemporary move on ambient, folk-pop quickly becomes dismissed by the following two tracks Café Des Poètes and Boho Night, whose focus on ambient synth pop, rather than the introduced folk pop, feels more apparent than the latter, Boho Night especially. Feeling more lucid and tangible, with dreamy synth tones flowing simultaneously with March’s vocal layering and electrolysed drum beats, a neo-pop flare that’s not to far from the likes of Michael Flynn’s latest LP, becomes illuminated and enticing to hear. This synth, neo-pop flare can be felt throughout most of N-B-D, almost in perfect unison with March’s more intricate, piano pieces. The latest single from N-B-D, Ember is the prime example of March’s ability to cast aside the bright eyed feel of her pop influenced tracks, for more endearing, beautifully executed piano tracks that grow like the warming fire on a cold Winter’s night. Similarly on Orpheus At Sea, a soft glow can be felt from the piano keys struck in ready precision, as the growing intensity feels controlled and comforting. The thought of a controlled growth is necessarily essential for March’s Nights Bright Days. On a first note, seeing sixteen tracks feels ambiguous, splitting people into two groups of keen, enticed listeners, and those who may deem the LP a challenge to complete. The idea of N-B-D being a challenge rather than a pleasure may take a few attempts to defeat, but once March’s vocals and piano skill become welcomed, N-B-D will quickly become a lucrative edition to your minds music bank.' Velvet Independent

 

'Under The Day' Singles Reviews:

 

The Sunday Experience:

'('May' track) One of those rare releases wherein you feel a quiet moment of your hectic day is required in order for you to sit with it, perhaps to comfort, allowing it to breath in the hope that it gives up its ghostly secrets and shyly blossoming beauty. Demurred in a frail Satie refrain, this fragile visitation is spun in a silvery poetic elegance that’s trimmed and traced in Autumnal rushes and the bathing of a pre dawning stillness blurred in a misty twilight glow atop of which Ms March’s lovelorn yearn aches crushingly from a hidden vantage point with tearful sympathy. Ice sculptured neo classicist dream folk at its most pristine and perfect and sheer heart breaking and humbling to boot.' the sunday experience

 

The Underground of Happiness:

'And speaking of winter music...something about this dreamy beauty ('Old Tree, Mon Coeur') makes me think of the kind of swirly feeling that comes at the end of the year (often brought on hot whiskey). It’s a song inspired by the oldest tree in Kew Gardens. The combination of harpsichord-alike arpeggios, a thick ambient fog and March’s marvellous drifting vocal creates a suitably ageless effect. A stunning evocation of the vastness of the universe and the microscopic human heartbeat running through it.' the underground of happiness

 

The Modern Folk Music of America:

'her musical approach stays unconventional, with dream-pop production that blends electronic and organic elements and vocal melodies that are jazz-like in their unexpected twists and turns... Mesmerizing' mfoa

 

Soundcloud ('Old Tree, Mon Coeur' Soundclouder of the Day)

'dreamy voice... a magical, atmospheric song'

 

Long Range Transmissions (Hidden Shoal Artist Compilation) Review:

The Sunday Experience

'Happened across this as we were turning it in for the night, a new name your price downloadable compilation by Australia’s finest purveyors of elegantly drawn dream pop Hidden Shoal. Entitled ‘long range transmissions’ it features a gathering of talents, some familiar – Antonymes, Markus Mehr, Slow Dancing Society et al along with some not so such as gilded and cheekbone. However what attracted us apart from the obvious as ever high quality seductive ambience tonalities literally peeling from the grooves was a delightful little thing from Elisa Luu entitled ‘chromatic sigh’. A breathlessly beautiful slice of porcelain noir classicism, an all too brief heavenly visitation, the slow shift into focus of the sound of a celestial calling emerging into the open to bathe all in the tingling shower of warming radiance, an out of body astral gliding odyssey which for a moment utterly transfixes its delicately balanced and perfectly poised gaze to fix and fill you with ethereal enchantment. And so to something familiar, regular visitors to these pages will be all too aware of our affection for Chloe March who here with ‘old tree, mon coeur’ doesn’t disappoint in the slightest and into the bargain offers up this sweetly mesmerising rustic ghost light, a fairy dust sprayed dream draped lost in the moment beguiling bouquet that shyly treads in the kind of amorphous star twinkled worlds of Musetta albeit as though aided and abetted by a soiree of siren sighs from a chill tripped Laetita and Mary from Stereolab.' the sunday experience

 

'Divining' Album Reviews:

BBC6

‘A command of the keyboard reminiscent of Kate Bush, Tori Amos or Nina Simone’… hear the three years of perfectionism’  Tom Robinson BBC6 Music

 

Collected Sounds

‘Wow, this is a beautiful record. March has a voice that blends perfectly with the lush arrangements and intricate piano tinkling. It can be soft almost whispery, and also full and clear.  There is quite a lot going on here musically. The aforementioned twinkly piano, but there are also according to her bio: “marimbas, harp, strings and shimmering beats with French horn, found sounds of paper, glass, and wind chimes.” I really enjoy songs that incorporate many layers and instruments (if paper is an instrument, and heck, why not?) and this is a perfect example of this method done right. Stand out songs: Written on Water, Sea Bell and title track, Divining. Seeing as this whole album was inspired by water, it’s no surprise that this is perfect for those cold, rainy days spend under a blanket with tea and a book (and if you’re lucky a dog or cat curled at your feet.’ ) Collected Sounds

 

The New Gay:

‘Electronic dreampop with dashes of jazz and artsong. One woman band March crafts an ethereal song cycle based around water imagery, using the intricate minimalism of Steve Reich, layers of sparkling keyboards and her deep, sensual alto. Ms. March is a more pastoral Kate Bush. It's the sort of music that would accompany a movie version of Wuthering Heights (as directed by Peter Greenaway)’ The New Gay

 

Self As Fractal:

‘It's as lovely as they say. It's almost a score without a film. There's a sense of place, earnest and immersive. And what's truly remarkable is that it's not at all the samey new-age-compilation that the song titles might suggest. Listening to it is interesting. There are things to discover. There are ways to become lost.

Take "Soft Rain" There's more tumult here than you might expect from the title: a pitter-patter of a drum part, a backdrop more propulsive than droning. And there are quiet moments, too, when it dies down so the piano can plink out the raindrops. The song demands a window and a spring shower, but even the latter's not necessary. It'll provide one.’ Self As Fractal

 

Julian's Flight:

‘It’s a world that everyone can see and touch… but to hear it’s secret metamorphosis to music you must be invited.  ‘Divining’ is the invitation.  A collection of reflections set to the most imaginative assemblage of a mesmerizing voice and artfully filtered sounds.’ Julians Flight

 

Ethereal Lad:

‘Divining' is a gorgeous semi concept album, water imagery being the central conceit. Her voice is a smooth silky alto and her hypnotic compositions are drenched in misty synth orchestrations, Satie-piano pieces, wind chimes, French horns and harps.*Highly recommended* for lovers of ethereal dream pop.’ Ethereal Lad

 

To Set The River On Fire EP Reviews:

Collected Sounds:

'The lovely Chloë March returns with an intriguing EP where she remixes a song by Markus Mehr and vice versa. Her lovely piano and vocal effort "Ember" recalls eighties David Sylvian in its flawless original. The remix by Marcus Mehr adds a rhythmic undertow and works the siren vocal into a sinuous chorus of whispers. It's a truly inspired work.

Markus Mehr's "Bouy" is a suggestive piece, slow and delicately played in its original version. March's version adds a vocal and piano section and it's just great. It's a splendid EP.' Luna Kafe

 

Igloo Magazine:

'English dream-pop artist Chloë March has reconstructed a track from the latest album by German experimentalist Markus Mehr, and vice versa. The results are incendiary and seductive.

Mehr took March’s “Ember” and turned it into a multilayered, futuristic and electrifying beast. The track surges forward savagely, throbbing and twisting, but Mehr has beautifully preserved the caressing expressive charm of the original, in fact, he even intensified it. It’s a cutting edge, erratic sonic roller coaster bursting with electricity, craftiness and otherworldliness. An absolute stunner. March, on the other hand, has set a different kind of fire in Mehr’s minimalist ambient river, “Buoy,” a mystical and slightly dark fire that burns slowly and sensually.

The EP also includes the two original pieces. This collaborative effort really ignites the imagination and will surely leave, and probably has already left, many listeners craving for more. We here at Igloo Magazine would be absolutely thrilled to hear March and Mehr setting more of each other’s rivers on fire, in the form of a full-length album.' igloo magazine

 

The Modern Folk Music of America:

'it's an auspicious pairing. his feel for sonic textures is a great match to chloe's instrumental sensibilities and gossamer voice, which is unique and beautiful (i've written about chloe a few times and i think i'm running low on adjectives for her special instrument). especially cool is when she steps into markus' tune 'bouy'. her voice inhabits the spaces he creates.' mfoa

 

Chloë March Vocal Collaborations Reviews:

 

'Liminal Drifter (aka Dr. Simon Order) is a Perth based electronic producer. According to the Facebook site, 'Liminal Drifter is ambient electronica, tinged with splashes of trip-hop and psych folk.' Order's (hailing from the UK) previous work includes the '1990s project dUB Rumble, producing remixes with UK prog' (accoring to the Hidden Shoal label).

On "Troubled Mystic", the title track from Liminal Drifter's forthcoming debut album (due out August 19th), Order's teamed up for a collaboration with English dream-pop artist (and labelmate) Chloë March. The result is a thrilling and teasing track of icy coolness and perfectly tempered charm. You can see/hear the link, or musical relation towards, backwards to the trip-hop of the 90s/early 00s, such as Massive Attack. Their label also mention early Warp Records electronic acts The Black Dog, Plaid and (early) Autechre. Hidden Shoal say that the song 'punctuates a bright, shuffling groove with golden swells of brass and March's aching vocal.' Quite right, and it makes me curious to check out the rest of Troubled Mystic.

If you're into 'downtempo dream-pop to shimmering, spacey electronica', Liminal Drifter might be the right pilot for your ride. Surf the space waves.' Luna Kafe

“Liminal Drifter’s album ‘Troubled Mystic’ sounds exactly as its title promises. The first track, A Love Song for Ghosts, is haunting and fresh. The second track, Subway Dream, sends you on a traveling journey of sound that the rest of the album by this debut Australian artist delivers. The title track features the luscious dream-pop voice of Chloë March, which transports you to a sexy summer by the beach before seamlessly spiking into a haunting refrain and dipping back into the dreamy electronic tapestries of that musical train ride across time and electronic space. The album is like an electro wind chime blowing in a strange wind. Take the time to be entranced by the beat of this album' Indiemunity

'The expressive and acoustic qualities of Chloe March’s own experiments and personal poetry resonates intimately with Joe Dürbeck’s immersive and powerful electronic fragments to a create a very sensuous experience.' Igloo Magazine

'Vocalist Chloë March['s] humanizing presence elevates every song on which she appears... Alluringly hushed... Her sensual vocalizing [and] soft, smoky delivery leaves a haunting impression' textura

'An extraordinary vocal from March, at times reminiscent of Beth Gibbons and Mimi Parker of Low' Nowamuzyka

 

'Snowdrop' Album Reviews:

 

Collected Sounds:

‘English singer Chloë March has a gorgeous voice and a way with writing great songs. The song "Diamond Skin" evokes eighties singer Virgina Astley. There's also a trace of David Sylvian's jazz-tinted sound. Emma Bell's French horn adds a delightful touch."Snowdrop" continues the sophisticated songwriting. March's clear voice and the air of melancholy in this song are just lovely.  "The Fisherman's House" is an evocative tale. The utterly gorgeous melody and March's singing are exceptional.  "Dog-Rose" is a minimalist song in the vein of Sylvian's "September". March's voice and a piano are all we have here and all there needs to be. "Snowdrop" is a thing of beauty and a bright future must beckon for Chloë March. ’Anna Maria Stjärnell

 

Julians Flight:

‘The effusive mood of the atmospheric ‘Perfume and Woodsmoke’ starts invocatively then spreads luminously as Chloë’s majestic voice arches skyward.  ‘The Light Room’ is a pensive reflection in voice and piano solo, fittingly so, with uninsulated emotion; the spare beauty comes through…

Much is to be said about Chloë’s musical tapestry, most prominently it’s visual/cinematic quality.  The lyrical imagery and flow, the harmonic coloration, the depth of rhythmic undertow - are all geared towards presenting the intensity of conditions and states of the mind – an inner theatre made tangible by sound.’ julians flight

 

 

 

 

 

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