Stone Breath

A Silver Thread to Weave the Seasons

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While Stone Breath had already begun promisingly, it was with their second album that the band's pitch-perfect combination of reviving old musical forms in combination with a more recent sense of moody atmospherics from various goth and industrial roots fully gelled. Helped quite a bit by lead figure Timothy Renner's astonishing sense of visual design -- the elaborately detailed pen-and-ink cover image is one of his best efforts -- A Silver Thread to Weave the Seasons wears its debt to the work of numerous mystic folk forebears openly, especially the Incredible String Band (whose Clive Palmer is covered twice) and '90s-era Current 93, but does so with such individual style as to become its own source of inspiration. Existing as the first full collaborative effort between Renner and fellow multi-instrumentalist Prydwyn, A Silver Thread also embraces the model of another key forebear -- Dead Can Dance -- in its sonic roots and reach, with instrumentation and lyrics coming from world-wide sources, from Irish banjo to dumbek to sitar, from Shakespeare to Bengali saints, and back again. The resultant songs range from calm, haunted drones to spare and focused fingerpicking exercises, further tied together by Renner's steady singing, itself used in a variety of ways from quiet hush to stern pronouncement, and on "Listen, Listen," an adaptation of a mantra, favoring one of the longest and most elaborate arrangements. In 2008, Renner re-released the album on his own Hand/Eye label with liner notes and a full bonus disc of related sessions. Most come from the first side-project album by the Spectral Light & Moonshine Firefly Snakeoil Jamboree, which concentrated on a more straightforward, traditional folk approach, but a variety of compilation appearances and similar one-offs also turn up, ranging from two songs by another understandable touchstone, Syd Barrett, to an elegant, fiddle-tinged version of a harrowing song written by Glenn Danzig for Johnny Cash, "Thirteen."

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