I picked this up in Sydney last week. I was in town for a conference and walked up to Red Eye during a particularly boring session. Red Eye’s experimental section is pretty tiny when you compare it to the wall of noise records that Rockinghorse has here in Brisbane. The pleasant difference is that Red Eye manage to sell their stuff without the bullshit massive markup that we get slugged with here in Brisbane. Anyhow, the other great thing about Red Eye is that their staff know their shit. I wandered up to the counter with my purchases of Ashtray Navigations and Zelienople and the counter guy starts talking up the Zelienople record. Now I’d never heard of either Zelienople or Ashtray Navigations but I nodded my head so I didn’t look stupid. He mentioned The North Sea as a band I’d probably like. Being the impulsive little fucker I am I bought the only record of theirs in stock. He was right. This is great.
The North Sea is a fellow called Brad Rose who collaborates with one of the guys from Hush Arbors in the band Gold Oaks or it could be Golden Oaks (I can’t read my writing). Despite my unabiding hatred of hippies, this is free-folk with an emphasis on the free. How about this for an association game. Earth is to Black Sabbath as The North Sea is to The Woods. This is gentle folk: guitars strum, a cello does it’s thing, there’s even a harmonica on there. All of the songs are instrumental and are played under a blanket of nature. On the first track it is the sounds of birds and the forest which rest on top of the music. On the second it’s the ebb and flow of the sea. There is no electronic fuckery on this thing. Nothing strange or seizure inducing. There is a very peaceful drone-like quality to this record whilst still being melodic. There is tune! Its like the free-folk equivalent of a cup of tea, it always calms you down, will never do your head in and is strangely satisfying.