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C Joynes & The Furlong Bray
The Borametz Tree Tom Bolton , June 11th, 2019 09:33

Bringing together members of Dead Rat Orchestra with Cam Deas and Nick Jonah Davis, C Joynes and the Furlong Bray have produced an album alive with a rich sense of place, finds Tom Bolton

The layers of guitarist C Joynes latest album take a little unpeeling. He plays with the Furlong Bray, assembled for the occasion by adding sound artist Cam Deas and guitarist Nick Jonah Davis to free folk ensemble Dead Rat Orchestra. The album is named after a hybrid animal/plant of Central Asian legend, and North and West African gusts blow through the music. Like Joyne’s previous album, Split Electric (also with Davis), The Borametz Tree is instrumental. But, while Split Electric was focused and spare, the new release is a storm of sounds. From the first notes of ‘Triennale’, with its sonorous finger-picked guitars, percussion, bells, and what seems to be a reversed, rattling sample, the music is complex and highly atmospheric, like a central European wedding dance. There is no pinning down the sound, however, and it is followed by a tango with a home-made sound reminiscent of Tom Waits’ Bone Machine.

Joynes, a highly individual guitarist, feeds non-European musical influences into a folk background as Davy Graham once did, and his eclecticism is a powerful expression of traditions remixed and remade. An actual wedding song, ‘Hamasien Wedding Song’, has shades of the late lamented Jack Rose, but with wild, background chanting that make it clear this is a very good party indeed. Elsewhere, such as ‘Librarie Du Maghreb’, Joynes guitar sounds deeply Moroccan and evokes a powerful atmosphere of crowds, sweat and dancing. The Borametz Tree is also part of the animal/plant legend, as is ‘The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary’, a track with medieval tambourines and the air of a danse macabre striding through the streets of an Andalucian town.

Dead Rat Orchestra – Daniel Merrill, Nat Mann and Robin Alderton – have previously worked on site specific historical projects from British execution sites to an Outer Hebridean gannet hunt. They bring a documentary soundtrack quality to the album, evoking fierce sounds that belong to places that may or may not exist. C Joynes and the Furlong Bray have produced music that is finely considered and full of energy, amply repaying multiple listens.