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Music Review – Djinn – Louisa John-Krol
Genre: New Age, Folk, Ambient
Similar Artists: Loreena McKennitt, Kate Bush
Australian singer-songwriter Louisa John-Krol has a background as a storyteller. She plunders myth and folklore to create elaborate, abstract music to compliment her extensive research. Her last album, 2005’s “Apple Pentacle,” weaved together myths about Robin Hood and Green Man mythology. “Djinn” explores cat mythology and imagery. As fits with the subject matter, the resulting work is magical, whimsical and mysterious. John-Krol’s music mixes Celtic folk, new age atmospherics, a dash of electronica, and a smidge of prog rock. Her pure soprano reminds one of Kate Bush and Loreena McKennitt; she sings, whispers, narrates and chants through the song cycle’s fifteen tracks.
The opening track, “Cauldron of the Morning” is about cats as familiars and is followed by “Blue Beyond the Sky”; both are a mix of new age and folk pop. Double tracked, John-Krol’s voice is lovely and complex—Enya can easily be used as a reference point. A couple of interlude-like songs adapt texts, like “Temples of the Jaguar,” uses a text by modernist author Ford Maddox Ford while the diptych song “Two Cats Return Pomegranate to the Underworld” references Lord Dunsany. The hypnotic song “Fai” is dreamy electronica that famed faerie artist Brian Froud used to accompany of a video of his paintings. “Dulcinea” and “Chant of the Chimney Cat” sound like lost Walter De Lar Mare poems. “A Retinue of Mandrakes” floats by like a host of seraphim, while “Aphelion” and “Colours of Angels” are experiments with ‘space music’. John-Krol and her producers fashion soundscapes out of odd instruments, like the charango, ocarina, bowed psaltery, and rainsticks along with keyboards, guitars and John-Krol’s own signature mandolin playing. The lyrics full of magic imagery and don’t really follow any narrative path; it’s like a remixed fairy tale book.
John-Krol’s work mines the same ‘mythpunk’ roots as authors like Patricia McKillip and Catherynne Valente. In place of plots from the cultural subconscious and glimmering language, she offers her gossamer melodies and silvery vocals.