I've always fancied folk music, but what really got me into the genre was a matter of happening across the Strawbs way back when. Their progressive bent brought out a hidden intelligence within the mode that was enthralling. After them, I began to search out more of the Euro folk scene and ran into String Driven Thing, Paul Brett, Ralph McTell, and then folk predecessor sounds like those purveyed by Conventum and other chambery ensembles blending madrigal strains with classicalism. Fresch is very much in the vein of those estimables.
Along with Umnachter Project (here and here) and Scharlatöne (here), Robert Polsterer has been relentlessly presenting sophisticated, clever, absorbing, inventive neo-folk and world musics for a while now, each new release eagerly awaited by a growing catalogue of fans. Vision, however, is a good deal more traditionally oriented than the vocals-and-vocables dominated atmosphere of Scharlatone. In fact, where the larynx was the star (or rather: three larynxes) in that group, this one features complex layers of guitar interplay alongside the singing. Abetted by Erich Schacherl and Sascha Esters, Polsterer weaves interconnecting melodies and variations, the 18 strings twining around each another in shimmering cascades of plectrum bliss. Sonnenfeuerglanz in fact has a number of similarities to Brett's marvelous Interlife suite.
The vocal content is mostly straightforward, precisely what you'd expect in such a venture, though there are touches of the Tuvan here and there. The lyrics are in English, thus understandable, and only two cuts are under five minutes, thus allowing expansive room for extrapolation of themes, digressions, mood, etc. Vision's tone is laconic, as so much folk tends to be. The mode, after all, began chiefly in madrigalian tales of lost and unrequited love and social protestation, joyous resplendence not exactly boffo among the practitioners, but there's multilayered beauty here and in abundance. Thus, the October Project-ish I am Here and a few others dip into a tentative state of hope (after all, an appeal not to be shot by one's love is, well, a bit on the if-y side, isn' it?) and lift the milieu in stately fashion.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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