Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reviews:: Basket of Figs Oh Eye, Oh Night

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When I stumbled on Basket of Figs I really had no idea who she/they were, where they were from or any other information other than the songs on the 666 EP were fantastic. Even now, the myspace they once had is gone and tracking down more info requires some Burn After Reading type shit.

Basically, I gushed some pleasantries – “The collection of demos ache and creak, but still expose strength and beauty. Fighting against the static and rough edges, her voice is clear and piercing” – but more importantly, since that review I’ve found myself revisiting the songs over and over again.

After the post, I unearthed some info and realized she was originally known as The Hotel Ghost and was featured on the terrific Yerbird comp, Folk Music for the End of the World, and some new music was being release as part of Morgan’s Aviary program. Oh Eye, Oh Night builds off an appreciation of Tom Waits. While a love for the gravel voiced, percussive, musical hobo is not all uncommon, hearing an artist pour the emotion of a Brennan/Waits track for nothing more than their own enjoyment – this EP was not really intended to see the light of day or reach the ears of fans – is pretty special.

BoF’s voice is unique and the rough edge and piercing clarity really help her handle the Waits track, and so does the respect she shows the man. People know that Waits loves to clank and stomp, but the way his voice hugs the curve on his slowed down ballads is amazing. He exposes tenderness and emotion better than almost anyone and when artists try to change the feel of the song the results are a mess. BoF opts to play this song with just a few strums of her guitar, eliminating the cacophony that dominates the last minute of the original and her slow paced, heavy strums give the track a sadness. As she reaches to shut off her 4-track, you really hear the isolation in the room and are left chilled.

The rest of the EP is just as strong. On Ramble Ramble and Rebirth the echoing, empty thump of her guitar body is the only percussion you hear, but again it really helps finish the stripped down tracks. It’s hard to convince you why these songs work so well; they are nothing more than emotion and a few guitar strums but they hit you like a broken heart or a solid right hand.

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Posted at 7:37 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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