Prince Pansori Priestess


180-gram white LP. Limited edition of 500. Bamboo is a sublime project from Nick Carlisle (of Peepholes, Don't Argue) and Rachel Horwood (of Trash Kit, Halo Halo). Their music is vivid and deeply poignant, locking into a magnetic attraction between Horwood's flawlessly resonant folk cadence and Carlisle's pristine synth pop production. Far from being a one-off, Bamboo is very much a fully realized pursuit, with the band working on multiple records simultaneously from their Brighton and London base camps. Prince Pansori Priestess is the first album to see the light from this pairing of talents. Recorded from spring 2014 to spring 2015, this was before the band expanded to a four-piece for live performances, showcasing Bamboo as an original duo with a sound-world very much their own. The title references a Korean genre of musical storytelling alongside notions of majesty and faith, which are all streams that weave their way through the record. Central to the work's sound is the meeting of the warmer tones evident in the vocals, acoustic drums, and banjo with the immaculate, spatial nature of the synths and beat-scapes. It feels very pure, prismatic, and even mystical at moments without losing any of its human touch. "Auroch" opens this debut album and slowly unpacks all the qualities that make Bamboo such an incredible band. At first the pitched-banjo paces out a chiming circle allowing Horwood's entrancing vocal to follow the line, then Carlisle's pristine beats and synth clusters blossom into almost sub-aqua realms of lush swirling melody. "Stone" is an aching song of self-reflection set amid flourishes of reverberating keyboard that at times sound like gamelan and at others like fireworks in the daylight. "Sangokushi Love Theme" was written by Haruomi Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra, and in the hands of Bamboo it begins to shine with even brighter colors. It's beautiful, serene, and nothing short of spellbinding. "Be Brothers" is another highlight from the second half of the album. The first part of the song begins with a fragile plucked banjo motif underscored by drifts of blushing ambience before the percussion picks up, allowing the rippling synths to walk hand-in-hand with Roedelius toward the horizon. Verity Susman (of Electrelane) guests toward the end of "Be Brothers" on saxophone, helping the song reach its more resolved future. Bamboo hit the ground running with this debut record, sounding as unique and mercurial as the gift of song itself.