Casgliad Cae Gwyn09.02.2018 : Cae Gwyn
If ever music disturbed my psychogeography, then Cae Gwyn's last compilation, Swooshed, did.
With an impact on my world view difficult to overstate, the connections I slowly found from Swooshed, starting with Nia Morgan, created a nagging impulse to explore Welsh language music further, to go out and see the bands live, and then start to learn the language itself. Which makes, for me at least, the release of Casgliad Cae Gwyn on 2018's Welsh Language Music Day an apt choice.
Not that the album doesn't stand on its own musically - it could be a wet Wednesday in March with absolutely no other significance, and the music would still beguile; repeated and regular airplay of Cae Gwyn tracks on 6 Music, as well as BBC Radio 1, 2 and 3, attest to that.
Cae Gwyn is a micro-label based in Snowdonia that specialises in the left-field psychedelic tinged experimentation. For creativity, quality and fascination it ranks with three other Welsh labels (Sbrigyn Ymborth, I Ka Ching and Libertino) in offering music that always engages and enchants. This set mostly ranges over the label's last few years of work, offering one new delight and a lesser known marvel from the past.
The delight is Cysawd Yr Haul (Solar System), by still school-aged Anglesey band An(n)naearol, and Sen Segur's Gwreiddyn is the wonder that will be new to many ears, taken from their 'never-quite-properly-released-as-they-broke-up' debut Films.
On more familiar ground there are two recent Mr Huw tracks from Gwna Dy Feddwl I Lawr - Llosgfynyddoedd (Volcanoes) is a energised, upbeat grimy bubble-gum pop, whilst Du (Black) is an accomplished, atmospheric, stately piece with a bleak lyric. Also notable by his presence is Omaloma's George Amor, who has a hand in at least four of the ten songs here - two Sen Segur tracks (the magnificent and moody Pen Rhydd from 2011 is the second), the shimmering psychedelic pop of his debut single as Omaloma, Ha Ha Haf, and the impressive, piano based, Gwallt, recorded during a brief period working as Ebol Digon Tebol.
Which leaves the sixties psychedelic garage sound of Jelo by Lastigband from last year's Torpido EP; Brenhines Y Tonnau, a winsome acoustic song by Dan Amor (the musician who provides the drive behind Cae Gwyn) and Teasero - stilling, baroque classical guitar from New Zealand duo Pablo Vasquez - to complete what feels like a proper celebratory line up as the label reaches its tenth anniversary.
I was sat last year on a wall next to a beach watching Llŷn peninsula folk band Patrobas, when in the middle of the set a woman on holiday (who to be fair was slightly tired and emotional at that point) shouted, bemused "Why are they singing in Welsh? They know we don't ******* understand it". The prosaic answer in this instance was, as always, it is who they are. Vibrant contemporary music offers one of the best paths to follow to begin to understand, learn about and respect Welsh language and culture; once again, with this compilation, Cae Gwyn has crafted another perfect place to start a journey.
Casgliad Cae Gwyn will be freely available at gigs featuring Cae Gwyn acts. It will also come free with selected purchases at www.recordiaucaegwyn.com