review

Foxy Digitalis

Belgian singer/songwriter Annelies Monseré generally works with a simplistic palette of voice and guitar but her music box-like tunes are anything but flimsy. For her side in this installment of three:four’s ongoing 10? split series, Monseré recorded (at least) five versions of a single song. In this case, “Sand” is magnified and examined from five different angles which gives the deceptively simple melody incredible depth and weight. After only a brief listen at arm’s length, you might think each version was originally conceived as a layer to be stacked on top of each other, but differences outshine the similarities here. Monseré’s voice sounds similar to the hushed delivery of Vashti Bunyan, Jessica Bailiff, or Samara Lubelski and contains a certain timeless quality that isn’t hurried or strained. While “Sand (melodica)” and “Sand (guitar)” give a calming and soothing effect, darker versions “Sand (cello)” and “Sand (organ)” are eerily foreboding although the tune itself is the same.

Experimental-folk god Richard Youngs continues the split with “Be Brave, This World,” a song that relies heavily on processed guitar and untouched vocals. The Labradford-esque guitar riff is fed through a quickly chopping sequence of gates that’s cinematic in execution rather than vision or scenery. Much like an actual film projector, the guitar sounds as though is a full-color strip of vibrant images interlaced with frames of pure black. It’s equally colorful and joyous as it is stifling and claustrophobic. The vocals are clean at the surface, but bubble up and dissolve back down into the murky background. 8/10