Cynefin Cae Gwyn2014 : Cae Gwyn
This site started as a general heritage and culture website until a copy of Cae Gwyn's 2016 compilation Swooshed came through the letter box and the whole plan fell apart with one listen.
Cynefin Cae Gwyn is the more consistently folkier older sibling of Swooshed. It may have elbow patches on its favourite cardigan and a long forgotten bouzouki in the attic, but it is an extraordinary feat, in that it is an outstanding compilation and all the artists either come from, or have a link to, Penmachno in Snowdonia. If not an encompassing genre there is a definite sensibility, perhaps the pervasive influence of place and people, uniting the psychedelia, folk and elements of electronica.
The cover has been illustrated by Yvonne Amor, and as with all her work for Cae Gwyn it is striking, individual and vivid. Inside its virtual wrap there are 12 tracks; there's a high standard maintained from end-to-end - all are very good but the set is pushed over the line for five stars by three that (just) standout ahead of the crowd: Huw Owen & Dan Amor's exceptional Ym-ym-ai-ia and both of Siôn Richards' tracks.
A quick open-topped tour of the songs:
Huw Owen and Dan Amor have two songs in the set - the first Ym-ym-ai-ia is a remarkably accomplished mix of psychedelic pop rush and acoustic whimsy; when they work together the creative synergy is often little short of momentous. Their other collaboration here, Cyfandirol, is great too - it has a simple mid seventies sounding organ riff developed into a hypnotic instrumental.
Siôn Richards first contribution is Rhaid I Ti - voice, drum machine and acoustic guitar - it is just a lovely song. His second offering Bradwr, about the Penrhyn Quarry Strike, is a great, evocative contemporary folk song.
Dan Amor's solo song Mawrth showcase his talents as a singer songwriter, a really well structured, played and delivered piece.
Falcons have Breath In and Y Dafarn Wen included - the former is an effective and serene acoustic song, the latter a notable and folky full band instrumental, with, to my addled ears, a nostalgic hint of mid period Led Zeppelin in its sound.
Sen Segur's exceptional late 60s psychedelic infused rock is found encapsulated on Ar Dy Wyneb, whilst Tom ap Dan's Cig has fruitful contrasting influences rooted deeply both in rough edged pre-punk and upbeat pop.
Mr Huw's Ffiniau has a great intermittent keyboard motif rolling around its choppy, bright energetic guitars. It is brilliant and alive.
Ebol Digon Tebol's track Gwallt is an enthralling gentle psychedelic influenced piano based piece - which is no surprise as this is a guise of the multitalented George Amor, currently taxiing before taking flight in his newest project Omaloma.
Ben Marshall's Tonnau Gwanwyn is just a marvellous guitar instrumental.
All good, some truly exceptional - hats off to the force behind Cae Gwyn, Dan Amor; Cynefin Cae Gwyn is a wonderful compilation, and the song Ym-ym-ai-ia, that Amor has co-written and performed with Huw Owen, is a phenomena ... Listen & repeat.