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coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 194 - 07/03/12

Mariee Sioux
Gift for the End
Almost Musique / Whale Watch Records

Said to be 'a mineral album', being 'psychedelia on the native folk roots', Gift for the End made me curious to check it out. The album is also described as being '...a canyon crisscrossed by paths leading Joni Mitchell's, Neil Young's and Bonnie Prince Billy's (whom she recorded Bonnie & Mariee EP with, released by Spiritual Pajamas earlier this year) souls into a deep world music, mystical and ancestral...'. Mariee Sioux is musically related to Joanna Newsome, but other names dropped count Townes Van Zandt, Cocteau Twins, Enya, Kate Bush, Neutral Milk Hotel, Linda Perhacs, The Pentangle, Jackson Browne, Nick Drake. Quite a diverse bunch of names altogether.

Gift for the End is Sioux' second album, following Faces in the Rocks (Grass Roots Records, 2007). Mariee Sioux is an American folk singer, and her name seems to be rooted in native America. Despite of this she is the daughter of a mandolin player of Polish and Hungarian descent, and her mother is of Spanish, Paiute, and Indigenous Mexican descent. Sioux' songs circle around in the air, as they're balanced on her mild, sweet and fragile, yet intricate voice, and elegant finger picking guitar playing. Some additional instrumentation is discreetly added, the arrangements are sober and to the point. The guest musicians are (almost entirely) close friends and family members. Sioux' partner Sean Kae has arranged and produced the album, as well as playing traditional folk instruments with psychedelic effects, analogue synths, electric guitar, and adding multi-layers of vocal harmonies.

Opener "Homeopathic" is quite fascinating, and is a good example of how a Sioux song is built up like, spins around in various movements, and unveils new layers. "Old Magic" is a warm and pleasing song, more of the traditional kind. "Icarus Eye" is one magical little melody, and "Tule" ends the album in a wonderful way.

Gift for the End is a timeless beauty for all seasons. The label's description/depiction is very accurate: "...a sunset album that gives the mind room to wander, wonder, and relax."

Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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