Review: Alan Morse Davies + Gillian Stevens – Y Crythor Du a’r Bleiddiaid / The Black Crwth Player And The Wolves

“Coedwig – Ogrof” swells into the air like a church organ in a grand cathedral; devoid of source and utterly immersive, both distant and intimately embracing. Its penetrative minor key resonates with a sort of deep and spiritual morning, with weeping bows of crwth (a traditional Welsh stringed instrument) dispersing gradually into echoes that tear timbre sombrely away from its source instrument. As with Morse Davies’ Svalbard, tradition is both lovingly re-introduced and warped into entirely new shapes, gifting new life to a forgotten musical history while simultaneously reimagining its construction.

Meanwhile, “Ddianc” sounds like a choir melting and slipping down the cathedral walls. A swarm of falsetto glides ghost-like into dissonant patterns, constantly tumbling downward in weighty glissando slides. While the voices never deviate from their infinite cycle, they become increasingly haunting with each recurrence; the lack of escape begins to feel like a hellish limbo state, full of tortured souls swirling within an eternal in-between. It’s an absolutely masterful – and somewhat terrifying – slab of musical stasis.