Following her last release, Light Year, Jenny Gillespie has ratcheted up the lush ambientalization in segments of Kindred to a point that the opener, Golden Central, slowly becomes a vast environment of ringing echoes, cross-wafting spirits, hazy golden fogs, grey skies, and memory-lost impingements, Gillespie's voice pealing forth in baroque lament amid lazily swirling hinterlands and the lapse of Summer into warm Fall, but a fall nonetheless. Then Secret Passageway reverses speed while retaining topography, almost impossibly slow while dreamily alive and hazily glowing, pensive and lethargic.
All this, however, is not to say that the singer's forsaken her basically folk roots but rather has expanded them. "Swimming in Amber" could have been smuggled straight out of Joni Mitchell's pre-Court and Spark studio tapes leavened with touches of Hejira, forlorn lap steel keening in the background as Gilespie enchants. In the Garden strides into a tinkly electronic-based mode, a more crystalline reprise of Amber, also building and opening into larger contexts. 'Gentle' may be the term that best describe's Gillespie's music—a trait that doesn't rob her of vitality, though. There's a Byronic strain by way of Poe and Proust that envelops an understated intensity but never unleashes it, preferring to abide in subtler denotations and inferences.
Kindred is a very solid release showing Gillespie to be neither a dilettante of paper machier edifices nor frenetic constructionist scrambling to blurt out every expression possible, instead crafting delicate but very palpable scenarios and miniatures. Last time, I noted the Tori Amos and Annie Lennox kindredness (here); this time, I detect more of Kate St. John, Kate Bush, Mary Fahl, and similar. Next time…well, we can all sit blissed out and wait to see, 'cause Kindred guarantees that there will be a next time.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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