1 review »Shadow Kingdom is an excellent Natural Snow Buildings album. That's pretty much all that those who've heard them will need to know but for the uninitiated, NSB are a boy/girl duo from France and they operate in two distinct modes which they then mix together in varying quantities as the mood takes them. The first tends to dominate, a kitchen sink drone style (featuring guitar, piano, harmonica, ce ... »
- Triple LP £55.49
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- / USED 3LP and 2CD set on Blackest Rainbow with comic and lovelyness, NM/NM/NM/NM/EX+ (good as new & R
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- Shadow Kingdom by Natural Snow Buildings
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9/10 Brett Staff review, 24 September 2009Shadow Kingdom is an excellent Natural Snow Buildings album. That's pretty much all that those who've heard them will need to know but for the uninitiated, NSB are a boy/girl duo from France and they operate in two distinct modes which they then mix together in varying quantities as the mood takes them. The first tends to dominate, a kitchen sink drone style (featuring guitar, piano, harmonica, cello, plenty of pedals and whatever else happens to be around in their room at the time) which goes against the currently prevailing drone fashion for ultra-minimal cookie-cutter borescapes with a busy sound in which there are always plenty of points of interest to latch on to. The second style, gorgeous folk balladry, crops up less regularly but always provides highlights and is all the more fascinating for the revelation that the sweet voice who voices the tracks so enchantingly actually belongs to Medhi, the male of the band. The recordings are very lo-fi and full of overloaded mics and feedback, something which is crucial to their earthy appeal, keeping them grounded in this world (or some alternate version of it) while others go in search of the cosmic. It's a similar approach and aesthetic to the early days of Six Organs of Admittance except instead of dealing in Indo-American mythologising they conjure up a unique fairy tale dream world of misty forests, ice palaces, muddy gypsy trails and dank dungeons that's heavily indebted to European folklore, such as the Romanian vampire tale bizarrely and gruesomely adapted in the lush comic Solange created for the album. This band will really take you places if you let them and I think their capacity for wordless storytelling, painting such rich pictures in the mind, is probably their most remarkable gift. On to the practicalities then and Blackest Rainbow have done the band's insistence on beautiful presentation proud with said comic included in both the double CD version and the triple vinyl WITH double CD version (the CD features a couple of tracks not on the vinyl), the latter also packaged up in a pro-printed sleeve with insert. Each version is limited to 500 which I think makes this NSB's biggest ever release but that certainly doesn't mean it'll be around forever as the vinyl's already gone at source.. And I don't think you'd want to miss out on this one.
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