Caoilfhionn Rose: Truly (Album, 2021)

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Caoilfhionn Rose: Truly – Album – 2021 – Gondwana Records

Genre: Folk, Modern Folk, Indie / Alternative

Caoilfhionn Rose (pronounced Keelin’) from Manchester, whose second album Truly is out April 9, 2021 on Gondwana Records, is waiting for me to finally get the review of the album “Truly” together and finished.
And that was/is quite a hard nut to crack for me and had massively stopped my writing flow for about 14 days, but please don’t judge that negatively now. Caoilfhionn’s sound can hardly be classified, is absolutely unique and fits perfectly with Gondwana Records, the UK label for demanding music such as jazz from the meditative-spiritual world, more contemporary modern jazz, neo-classical, ambient and electronic crossover. The review was a feat … 🙂

(c) Emily Dennison

To assign Truly to any genre is really extremely difficult. Juno Records from the UK just puts this in the indie/alternative bin, which is certainly not wrong, but doesn’t really tell that much. I would put a second copy on the folk shelf and tag it with a gaudy “Modern-Folk” sticker.

A third copy is then added to the jazz shelf, which is pretty daring, but the jazz fan will definitely be enthusiastic about “Truly” if you are a good record seller and do a little educational work And a fourth copy of the album fits very well on the psychedelic shelf and I would offer a potential customer a cup of strawberry tea with it. He will buy – he will have to – I will bet on it!

The opener on the album “Flourish” is a real ear catcher and goes straight into the ear, where it bites into the ear canal with a wonderfully reverberant twang guitar. And with the extremely delicate, fragile second song “To Me” – that twang guitar again – I ask myself the question, dammit, where have I heard that before? And the penny falls by the penny, but it falls. Chris Isaak used this reverberant twang guitar (album Silvertone, 1985), and as for reverb, there is a great master of reverberant folk, the Irish folk singer Luka Bloom, who set standards with the 1994 album “Turf” .

Caoilfhionn Rose
Caoilfhionn Rose – Truly

And so we have already set two stakes for those who are interested in the album “Truly” and are still a little undecided.

With her flying musical carpet Caoilfhionn steers unerringly over different genre landscapes like Folk, Jazz, Ambient, Electronica, but not to plunder them mercilessly, but to be inspired for continuously developing her own sound. Caoilfhionn does not shy away from a musical time travel to the middle of Woodstock in 1969 and inhales the feeling of Love, Peace & Happiness, she also takes the one or other psychedelic influence – and that gives her album “Truly” a – as the Austrian says – light sympathetically “weird” (i. e. inspiring crazy) touch (“Teburcular Skies”, “Paths”, “Truly”).

The ingenious “Readiness is All” and “Hold Your Own”, maybe also the awesome “Fireflies” are some of the more tidily arranged tracks, which makes one or the other listener think of jazz when listening to these songs. However, Caoilfhionn is breathing jazz at most without actually playing it, these three tracks evoke associations for me with Paul Weller’s early Style Council (Introducing, 1983) or the very early Pengiun Cafe Orchestra (dto, 1981)…. And Caoilfhionn Rose also likes jazz à la Portico Quartet, GoGo Penguin or the unbelievably creative Hania Rani, who are all at home in jazz and related styles and belong or have belonged to the creative laboratory of Gondwana Records. So a certain influence by slightly jazzy styles of playing will certainly be noticeable.

“Every Waking Minute” and “Point in Time” are very nice midtempo folk/folk-rock stuff, even Natalie Merchant (Leave you up, 2010) or Cat Power (the wacky but fantastic 2012 album “Sun”) wouldn’t be able to do better.

However, the acts I mentioned are not meant to be 1:1 comparisons, but may just throw a spotlight on what music from my musical past comes to mind again when listening to Caoilfhionn Rose “Truly” – and you don’t get something like that too often. Rose awakens old musical passions in me again.
The album was co-produced by Kier Stewart of “The Durutti Column”, with whom Rose had already worked on Durutti’s album “Chronicle LX: XL”. Kier Stewart has done a top job on this and has given Caoilfhionn’s incredibly wide musical range, with all its many inspirations and influences, an awful lot of room to crystallize.

“This record marks a difficult time in my life and writing it has helped me get through that time. I’m really grateful to have music as an outlet,” Caoilfhionn Rose says about her album “Truly.” This positive force emanating from the songs can be felt on the whole longplayer and shows us that there is a sunny side of life even in these difficult times.

The album in 24 bit 88.2 kHz convinces with a great sound quality at reference level. The recording is unbelievably precise and mixed in the best possible way – with round deep basses that don’t rattle at all, airy realistic midrange, clean and clearly mixed vocals and a treble range that is impressive all along the line.

Facts about Caoilfhionn Rose – “Truly”

Artist: Caoilfhionn Rose
Title: Truly
Format: album
Label: Gondwana Records
Release date: April 9, 2021
Genre: Alternative / Indie / Modern Folk
11 tracks • 35m 15s

Available at Qobuz in Hi-res
24-bit 88.2 kHz stereo

My test equipment:

Studio 1 (High End):

  • 2 x System Audio SA Mantra 50 (front)
  • 1x System Audio SA Mantra 10 AV (center)
  • 2x System Audio SA Legend 5 (rear)
  • 1 x System Audio Saxo 10 (subwoofer)
  • 4 x Onkyo SKH-410 (B) (Dolby Atmos)
  • Auralic Altair (audio streaming client with max. 32 bit / 384 kHz)
  • NVIDIA Shield Pro with Plex, Kodi (max 192 kHz for  Audio, Tidal (MQA Streaming Client)
  • AppleTV 4K (Streaming Client) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
  • Amazon Cube 4K (Streaming Client) Dolby Atmos (restricted), HDR, Dolby Vision
  • Panasonic DP-UB9004 (4K UHD Player) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
  • Oppo UDP-203 (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player) Dolby Atmos, HDR, Dolby Vision
  • Yamaha CX-A5100 (Preamp) 4K, Dolby Atmos, Hi-res
  • Yamaha MX-A5000 (Power Amp)
  • Sony KD-55A1 (TV) 4K OLED, HDR, Dolby Vision

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