Pefkin might have remained a complete mystery were it not the moniker of Gayle Brogan from Scotland, who is also well-known for being one of the main European purveyors of all that is so great in experimental underground music these days.
The music of pekin could be characterized as a unique brand of minimalist song-writing. To present it as a mere atmospheric affair would be too simplistic though.
This new record expands some of the ideas that can be heard on her debut cdr that was released on Foxglove last year. As far as Pefkin music goes, it further explores how some of its more song-based elements interact with certain textures and a very unique use of repetition and silence.
The first tracks opens with what may be considered as a recurrent figure in this particular record: the presence of a few descending/ ascending chords delicately played on a warm-sounding electric guitar. This is quickly contrasted with a deceptively simple melody line played on the clavioline. Then, there is Gayle?s voice ? soft and delicate, clear and vaguely distant at the same time.
Such apparent contrasts are only the first elements that gradually invite us to enter the world of Pefkin.
There may be a limited array of instruments here, but they are all used to maximum effect. There is Gayle?s voice, of course, but also old keyboards, clarinet, melodica, harp and violin. However, it is important to note that they?re all used very sparsely as you would with a few light strokes of paintbrushes on a canvas.
As on the Foxglove release, some ?songs? are more like short poetic vignettes, but there seems to be a new-found emphasis on space and silence in music, which may draw comparisons with some of the quieter moments of Christina Carter?s works or even My Cat Is Alien. This is apparent on track 4, for instance, the aptly-named ?Breathing Inhabits Listening?.
On track 6, ?We Have Nothing to Fear (but the Sky Falling on Our Heads)?, subtly-changing vocal loops and other sound effects only reinforce the emphases put on particularly evocative variations of tone and texture ? both the music and the song titles acting as a sort of sonic haikus in the listener?s mind.
On the epic ?Seasons Come and Never Go?, the dark atmosphere may recall some experiments to be found on early Piano Magic records. However, what makes this track (and Pefkin music in general) so unique to my ears relies on how it actually enables us to call on our sensitive imagination, constantly pushing it to uncharted territories ? each song and sound treatment adding up to a very subtle emotional experience ?, while the very last track ?rising dawn and breaking light? simply invites us to capture a moment of beauty.
Actually, it is in the full immersion of this record that the magic truly reveals itself. Far from being a collection of more or less loose songs, the effect produced here is of carefully controlled disorientation ? in the most profound way. It is a music that never exhausts itself and which will always keep its mysterious charm intact. 9/10 -- Francois Hubert (28 June, 2006)