Silverling, by Meadow Argus
Silvering is the debut full length album from Meadow Argus. The 5th release from Qld folk stalwart, Jevan Cole's (One Straw, Charlie Moorland Trio, Ragged), current Psych-Folk project. This new release finds Meadow Argus breaching new bounds of the sonic wall. Fresh collaborations with Ellie Dalton (vocals), David Megarrity (vocals) and Emma McDonald (singing saw) lift the production and tie the album together into a coherent offering that takes the listener on an expedition from mystical acid folk to esoteric, droning ambience with detours through jangle fuzz pop and more along the way. The ghosts of Pentangle, Pink Floyd, Espers, and Neu! gather and smirk as Meadow Argus tip their hat to traditional folk while bowing to the spaced-out whimsy of epic psychedelia.
In these 10 tracks the listener is treated to the most refined version of MA's best self. Pour yourself a mulled wine, put on your comfy cloak and turn it up, Silvering is a real trip.
"…stunning, psych-infused freak folk…", The Revue (Toronto, 25/05/21)
"… a fascinating album weaving strands of folk, rock, psychedelic, dub, and electronic experimentation in varying degress; like an undiscovered 80s-era 4AD album…", Burl Veneer (Germany, 05/05/2021)
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Selected Quotes and Reviews
04/06/21 - We Love That (Blog, Germany)
What the Meadow Argus from Australia do is just real honest music. Here you do without any chichi, rely more on classic psych-folk and yet the sound never sounds boring. But on the contrary. Because of the melody, 'Twenty Five Years' just sounds beautiful.
05/06/21 - Tonic Grain (Blog)
“Twenty Five Years” is a gorgeous song by Australian band Meadow Argus, included on their intriguing latest album “Silverling.”
The track charms you right away with its warm lyrics and light aura. The perfectly balanced arrangement features playful guitars, magical organ, and atmospheric field recordings. The inviting, lovely vocals add a fresh and vivacious energy. “Twenty Five Years” delivers a pleasant nostalgic sound and sweet melodies.
25/05/21 - The Revue (Blog, Toronto)
"In the age of the internet, one’s place of residence is no longer an obstacle to having their music heard. Sure it helps to live in bustling metropolises like Melbourne, Tokyo, London, New York City, Toronto, and Los Angeles in order to sell more records and possibly sign with a label. But if one can create music that piques people’s ears and emotionally connects with listeners, then their name will mentioned and their songs shared on the multitude of cyber platforms. Jevan Cole is a prime example of how the world has gotten smaller and music more accessible.
The seasoned guitarist has played in various bands in his 25-year career. For the past three years, he’s focused his attention on his newest project, Meadow Argus, which is the name of butterfly native to his home state of Queensland. While we are not sure why he selected the name, we can only guess that he was inspired by how it and every butterfly undergoes metamorphosis. In other words, Meadow Argus symbolizes Cole’s similar evolution, from a gritty guitarist to one making stunning, psych-infused freak folk, as featured in his debut album, Silverling. As a sample of the record’s mystical hypnotism, take a listen to its opener, “Sunshine”.
Cole along with his friends and band mates Ellie Dalton (vocals), David Megarrity (vocals), and Emma McDonald (singing saw) take us on an extravagant escapade down the 1,000 kilometre Flinders River. The current is gentle, the air is crisp, and we expect to see fairies, trolls, maybe a unicorn, and a centaur playing the Pan flute. This imagery is only made possible from the immaculate and delicate orchestration of the quartet. The song also has a hint of Chad VanGaalen’s ingenuity with McDonald’s singing saw and an over-tuned toy piano (how great is that?). Just goes to show that music can be made anywhere and with virtually anything if one uses her/his imagination."
05/05/2021 - Burl Veneer (Bolg, Germany)
"Meadow Argus - Silverling - a fascinating album weaving strands of folk, rock, psychedelic, dub, and electronic experimentation in varying degrees; like an undiscovered 80s-era 4AD album"
September, 2019 - Come Here Floyd (BLOG, USA)
"MEADOW ARGUS is a studio based musical project with Australian composer, Jevan Cole, at the helm. The guitar centric ‘neo-mythic’ story telling concept is a journey through the rural span of Australian living. Reverb, swirls, vacuum in consequences – all come into play as the song deviates from road to road, with hymns in tow. ‘A Tender Terror’ is another part of Jevan’s spacey and folksy commentary of sound and unremitting audible resonance"
20/10/2018 - Come Here Floyd (BLOG, USA)
Just like the dipping of your fingers into a vat of freshly made taffy, MEADOW ARGUS introduces their studio musical project, ‘Chandra Barks’, where the feeling is odd, but oddly familiar. The Australian composer, Jevan Cole’s aim is to “explores the rich, deep and underlying connections between traditional folk musics, psychedelia, folklore, mythology and environmentalism.” What a combo. And just like the fresh taffy made at the boardwalk, it’s sticky, tasty. The ‘oddity’ is the ingredient, that shouldn’t be missed.
Cole and Van Dijk
January, 2013 - Rhythms Magazine
"The intimate interplay between the pair and the excellent harmonic and rhythmic structures exhibited in their self-penned instrumentals is evident throughout a beautifully recorded set..." ...Tony Hillier
April, 2013 - Living Tradition Magazine
"...every track resonates with a sparkling musicianship which indicates a deep understanding not just between Jevan and Jan, but amongst all of the musicians..." ...Gordon Potter
March, 2013 - Bright Young Folk
"...Sins of a L’il Later Kiss is a treat for the ears. " ...Lucy Houlden
December, 2012 - Fatea
"...Perhaps most typical of the duo's invigorating, close-knit approach to tunesmithery is the epic set that comes smack in the middle of the disc, close on eight minutes long but not outstaying its welcome at all, and the delightful "slip jig of sorts", Menagerie, which displays a significantly "curly nature"! The scintillating set of jigs (track 9) provides another highpoint of finger-blistering technique. But in truth, there's never really any dull moment in the disc's 48 minutes, and as all-instrumental albums go this is a bit of a rarity in that it's one I could easily keep in the CD player and listen to in a continuous sitting either at home or on a car journey." ...David Kidman
April, 2013 - Trad and Now
"...this is an album of delicate and intricate tunes, in which the various parts are densely interwoven, often with multiple layers of overdubbed fiddles which sweep the listener off into an entranced reverie. This is an album for the “endless replay” function on your CD player!!." ...Ian Dearden
August, 2013 - The Folk Rag
"I admit that I approached the latest album from Jevan Cole and Jan Van Dijk with trepidation. I had previously skipped over the tracks too quickly on my laptop and somewhat dismissively labelled it as simply another instrumental album of sometimes repetitive trad folk tunes. How wrong I was!!!
It was not until I sat down and took time out to listen properly to Sins Of A Li'l Later Kiss, with my classical ears on, that I realised I was in the presence of musical greatness. I do not say this lightly. This is warm, intelligent, noble folk music, to be savoured with respect.
There can be no doubt about Cole and Van Dijk's instrumental talent individually and as a duo. On their album Jevan Cole’s fingerstyle guitar and five string banjo blends beautifully with Jan Van Dijk’s fiddle and tenor banjo. The album's instrumentation is variously supplemented by piano, Wurlitzer and Hammond organ, percussion, cello, and accordion, to add layers of sound and melody to the mix. Its tunes are mostly all Jan or Jevan originals, with some traditional folk seamlessly woven through their own compositions.
The duo's years of playing music together gives the album a sense of ease and grace, and even the most vigorous dance tunes are imbued with nearly Baroque restraint. European folk tradition is respected but never slavishly mimicked on Sins Of A Li’l Later Kiss, and you can almost breathe in the scent of the Australian bush. There is a lovely mix of tempo between tracks that keeps things interesting and provides good contrast. Who'd have thought triplets could sound so sexy?!
The ponderous longing and regret of You’ve Got Me All At Sea contrasts nicely with the cheeky bustling of Bogan’s March, while Three Days’ Notice has a quiet contemporary urgency about it. The medley beginning with Good Morning to My Nightcap stands out for sheer virtuosity, and the final live track is a gorgeously languid offering that could grace the soundtrack to “Carnivale”.
Like listening to a Bach fugue and wondering at times where the great man will take you, then feeling that sublime ah-hah moment when you finally get it, so it is with experiencing the music of Cole and Van Dijk on Sins Of A Li'l Kiss. You just need to put your trust in them to lead you down meandering but deeply understood musical paths that, by the end, will leave you gently astounded." ...Robyn Clare
January, 2013 - The Courier Mail
"...the atmosphere is earthy, pungent, and invigorating." ...Noel Mengel
The Charlie Moorland Trio
January, 2004 - Greenman Review
(I've included the complete review from Greenman below. Not because it is particularly positive or insightful; but for the sheer confusion the unknown author exhibits when trying to make sense of such (seemingly) a strange record. Enjoy!)
"On the sunlit uplands that surround our publication's multi-billion dollar premises, the Editorial Board of Green Man Review and their cronies swan about, eating chocolate sent in by artists hoping to bribe their way to good reviews, then flit from Charles de Lint's newest champagne-lubricated booklaunch to cocktails to mark the start of Fairport Convention's latest North American tour, before finally repairing to the luxurious editorial suite and listening to the finest music sent in by the mega-recording companies while plying each other with mead, cider and other delights. Meanwhile, down in the infernal bowels of the GMR complex, the hacks are slaving away to churn out reviews of the bizarre material spurned by the toffs upstairs. Thus it is that I find myself listening to these two oddities. And very odd they are!
The Charlie Moorland Trio describes its own recording thus: "A collection of swing/French/Gypsy/trad and original material, including some French musette transcribed from disc, jazz from the real book, a Romanian Gypsy tune 'Doda' from a trad score and Macedonian tunes from Linsey Pollak's collection."
As an accurate description, this is not a bad start, although if the writer wanted to be exhaustive he or she might have mentioned torchsongs, klezmer and bebop too -- and all that in only 12 tracks! It's the opening number that first recalls bebop, for it is nothing other than an extremely odd version of Thelonious Monk's "In Walked Bud." You would not normally expect to hear this piece begin with solo violin, soon joined by clarinet, both of them soaring off into some decidedly avant garde realms while the acoustic guitarist lays down a Django Reinhardt rhythm track and the band then starts swinging more conventionally, with the first of many nods to the Reinhardt/Grapelli/Hot Club of France sound. Well, that's the surprising start to a CD that packs a lot more surprises.
The three instruments already mentioned are the chosen vehicles of the trio's members: there is Seamus Kirkpatrick on clarinets and vocals, Jan Van Dijk on violin and Jevan Cole on guitar. In addition, the booklet lists the special guests: there is Dominic Hede, who plays drums on some tracks, and also, confusingly, Jan Van Dijk and Jevan Cole on banjo, although how two members of the trio can also be special guests is not the least of the mysteries about this record. Attentive readers will already have spotted another mystery: if this is the Charlie Moorland Trio, where is Mr (it seems not to be Ms) Moorland? Well, he is also listed among the special guests, with "spiritual guidance" attributed to him, and the tombstones drawn in the booklet rather imply that poor Charles is no longer of this world (along with Miles Davis and Stéphane Grappelli, who are most certainly dead). I hoped to find enlightenment on the record company's Web site, but the link didn't work. A little websurfing informed me that this band hails from Brisbane in Australia, but I could find out little else.
The jazz is mainly in the first part of the CD, with more beboppish sounds in track 2, a Seamus Kirkpatrick composition entitled "Destroy All Nature," a drum-driven piece on which the composer treats us to some comical scat singing in addition to his clarinet-playing. He has rather mixed vocal ambitions, since track 3, "Traditionnel Musette," which is a good description of the music, even if the French is ungrammatical, also includes some la-la-la-ing. This music is alleged to be the theme from "The Gilbert Principal," although a Web search failed to turn up any work of that name, just as Van Dijk's jazzy composition "Pardon My Hat" purports to be the theme from "Pickering's Folly," another work that is equally unknown to search engines. Later on the disc, Kirkpatrick performs -- dead straight - the torchsong "Angel Eyes," which I last heard performed by Frank Sinatra about 40 years ago. Jazz pops up again in a swinging version of McCoy Tyner's "Blues On The Corner" -- here unfortunately attributed to McCoy Turner -- and there is also a Miles Davis tune, "Dig," which brings out more Reinhardt/Grapelli echoes and gradually degenerates into "Sweet Georgia Brown."
As the CD progresses it gradually seems to move towards a fascination with central European/Gypsy/Balkan style music, which this instrumentation frankly suits better than it does modern jazz. Apart from the Romanian and Macedonian pieces mentioned in the liner notes, there is also what looks like a Hungarian tune.
The eclectic choice of material suggests that this is one of those small-town bands that has to be able to turn its hand to any style of music in order to satisfy the various publics to which it is obliged to play. OK, I know Brisbane is not really a small town, but you know what I mean. All in all, Excentrique is an extremely strange collection of music by three musicians (plus occasional drummer) who really seem to be having a whale of a time and probably don't care too much who is listening, which may be just as well if, as the persistent inaccessibility of Treeskin's website implies, the record company no longer exists. In any case, this CD is in the category of those that you buy after a gig because you had a great evening, and probably not one that you would search out unless this eclectic and unusual music particularly appeals to your curiosity. Nonetheless, it has to be said that the musicianship is of an extremely high standard, with a display of technique on both violin and clarinet that suggests classical training to my (possibly inexpert) ears." ... ????
January, 2004 - Barfly Magazine
"...The Charlie Moorland Trio excels at this light jazzy material. They've got the chops to deliver real class." ...Steve Baker
December, 2003 - Barfly Magazine
"...Dublin born Jenny Fitzgibbon has a lovely voice; pleasurable enough to hold sway on her solo voice album of 2001 called Temple Bare, another Treeskin Music product. Not many singers have the confidence or ability to travel that road. Cole and Van Dyke are very worthy musicians to complement Fitzgibbon’s talents." ...Steve Baker
Cole, Kirkpatrick and Van Dijk
December, 2002 - Acoustic Guitar Magazine
"This vibrant CD of English traditional folk music is full of the sort of power and invention that is usually the province of folk musicians so steeped in the tradition that they are completely free to reinvent it. But even though Jevan Cole (guitar) and Seamus Kirkpatrick (vocals, clarinet) have teamed for two CDs of original tunes, this is the debut trad CD from these three young Australian lads. Cole is a future folk guitar star; his playing here puts him in the same league as Martin Carthy, Martin Simpson, Davey Graham, and Nic Jones, but he's managed to fashion his own style by melding the English folk-baroque school with other influences. For example, his accompaniment on "Jug of Punch" sounds like something Nic Jones might have come up with after spending a few days at Michael Hedges' house. The playing in general could be described as idiosyncratically traditionalÑCole and Jan Van Dijk (fiddle) have clearly passed their Celtic trad board exams with flying colors, but they give free rein to their own inventive harmonic and rhythmic ideas. Crows Three marks the debut of a great traditional trio." ...Scott Nygaard
December, 2002 - Indie CDs Review
Jevan Cole, Seamus Kirkpatrick and Jan van Dijk - a.k.a. Crows Three - have a major achievement with this release recorded in 2002. That is to take a collection of traditional material, some of it very well known, and make it completely fresh and individual.
The musicianship on this album is impeccable, though some who are familiar with some of these songs may take a little while to adjust to the style and rhythmic feel, which is very much these three players own. True, one can cite influences which seem to be there - the fiddle playing has a staccato feel reminiscent of Dave Swarbrick, the vocals owe stylistic dues to Martin Carthy in places, arrangements of guitar/vocals (especially on Jennie Jenkins) bring Nic Jones to mind.
The arrangements are highly inventive (sometimes as they say on the liner notes, arranged beyond recognition), and I particularly enjoyed the wildly explorative blues/jazz version of that classic bourree "Les Poules Huppes". All the playing is extremely tight, the album seemed all too short, but is a good 52 minutes. An essential CD!" ...Malcolm Fielding