After meeting not too long ago in London, violinist Agathe Max and multi-instrumentalist Natalia Beylis have released an album, the surreal, experimental The Garden of Paradise. Inspired by the macabre fairytale art of Harry Clarke, who illustrated many of Hans Christian Anderson’s classics, the album was conceived during improvised recording sessions at Beylis’ home in Leitrim, Ireland.
Max’s violin and Beylis’ use of instruments like the cümbüş (a Turkish instrument that resembles a banjo) and mandola (a larger ancestor of the mandolin) create an atmosphere of simmering menace, like Godspeed You! Black Emperor before they boil over into one of their crushing climaxes. This mood lightens at times for brief spells of airy piano from Beylis, on two short tracks with incredible titles (“They Danced with Shawls which were Woven of Mist and Moonshine” and “She Took Her Girdle and Bound One End of It Round the Butterfly”).
The Garden of Paradise is available now as a limited cassette courtesy of Irish label Fort Evil Fruit. Stream and purchase here.