A Hymn For Ancient Land is Jim Ghedi’s second full length LP and sees his sparse, ethereal folk instrumentation made fuller and bolder through the inclusion of orchestral elements. Having travelled around the British Isles, Ghedi’s music is inspired by the sights and sounds he encountered and named after those places; Home for Moss Valley, Cwm Elan, Bramley Moor exc. The result is an enthralling expanse of folk music which shimmers between an ancient, haunting tradition and a modern ambience.
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Ghedi goes green. Or, to be honest, he always was, making lovely music for windswept fields and imagined pastoral lands. But this is the one: the most serene and the most grassy. ‘A Hymn For Ancient Land’ opens on some of Ghedi’s most patient and beautiful music ever, the strum-droning “Home for Moss Valley”, which sees him set the place and assess its environment before bursting into a near symphonic instrumental folk tale. Strings dip and dive over his spindly acoustics -- as if ornamenting Six Organs of Admittance, or telling Alasdair Roberts’ stories without any of the words -- and and I’m actually convinced I might want to listen to this forever.
Inspired by travels in the British Isles, Ghedi has come back from all the quaintest mud hotspots -- Bramley Moor, Cwn Elan and the likes -- with a record of sentimental chamber music that saps as much as it shreds. Where he may once have gone full blast on the American primitivism, he now offers a track of harp melodies and gentle finger-picking, offering an unabashed ditty on “Cwn Elan”. He describes “Bramley Moor” in quicker, twelve-string expressions, but still accents it with gorgeous twang and noticeable melodic slides, giving us the kind of swift but melodic access Ryley Walker once did.
It’s such an unyielding triumph of loveliness, this record, the experimentation inherent in Ghedi’s craft meeting something deeper and richer in communicative songwriting. “Phoenix Works” sees a traditionally inspired hymn cruising atop of a mix of scratchy dissonance and hummable, melodic guitar work. This one really took me by surprise -- Ghedi's made for a real special end to this dastardly winter month.
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- A Hymn For Ancient Land by Jim Ghedi
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