Blue Hour, The – The windless path

The second album by The Blue Hour, again on the Perun label from Poland. The Blue Hour is the project of the American Brian Hodges. On ‘The windless path’ he is assisted by various musicians. Most noteworthy guest is Matt Howden, with his instantly recognizable violin sound and string arrangements.

Acoustic guitars and the peculiar, emotional voice of Hodges form the base of the songs, which are adorned by strings, keyboards and many effects, loops and samples. Despite this modern technology and experimental elements The Blue Hour still sounds mostly like a traditional folk act, in the vein of acts like In Gowan Ring, with a hint of psychedelica and ethereal music. Finding peace in nature seems to be the main theme of the album, as indicated by the cover art, albumtitle and quotation of Lord Byron: ” […] I love not Man the less, but Nature more”.

The album starts with an excellent instrumental track called ‘Mother of the dark sea’, incredibly atmospheric, and with a prominent role for Matt Howden. It is followed by ‘The night is windless’, probably the highlight of the album. A lovely poetic song, perfeclt fitting for the deeply melancholic, tragic vocals of Brian Hodges. The previous album contained a Sol Invictus cover. This time The Blue Hour goes back further in time with the Nick Drake song ‘Clothes of Sand’. A well-chosen cover, because The Blue Hour makes me think more often of Drake’s work.

‘The windless path’ is very succeeded, and a clear evolution compared to the debut album. A lot of atmosphere, a lot of melancholy and a good combination of traditional folk music and modern sound technology.

A limited version of this album with a bonus cdr is available from the label itself.

artist: Blue Hour, The
label: Perun
details: 12 tracks [run 0403]