Dork Radio
Now playing:
In the mag...
Featuring The 1975, Rina Sawayama, The Aces and more.
Order a copy
June 2020
Review

Gwenno - Le Kov

A treat.
Gwenno - Le Kov
Published: 11:04 am, February 28, 2018
A treat.

Label: Heavenly Recordings
Released: 2nd March 2018
Rating: ★★★★

Taking the themes of a 1970s Welsh sci-fi novel as a jumping-off point, former Pipette Gwenno Saunders’ 2015 ‘Y Dydd Olaf’ was a cosmic marriage of motorik future-pop and the outer limits of Welsh psych. Exploring the unstoppable progress of tech and the desire to keep minority languages and cultures alive, nine tracks were in Welsh, with the final ‘Amser’ deviating from this, setting one of her father’s Cornish-language poems to music.

Continuing to explore similar territories, ‘Le Kov’ (‘The Place of Memory’) is sung entirely in Cornish, whose speakers number in the hundreds, a language reclassified from “extinct” as recently as 2010. But rather than being a distancing thing, ‘Le Kov’ invites us in, with a bewitching, otherworldly, sound palette, only enhanced by the unfamiliar tongue. ‘Hi a Skoellyas Liv a Dhagrow’ (‘She Shed A Flood Of Tears’), opening, immediately warms ‘...Olaf’’s more skeletal electronics with echo-drenched, dreamlike keys and a swirl of soundtrack strings, like being steadily sucked into a velvet whirlpool.

And the propulsive but plaintive ‘Tir Ha Mor’’s (‘Land And Sea’) synths tinkle like a sunbeam glistening off the tips of lapping waves. It’s a tribute, we’re told, to the St Ives-born painter Peter Lanyon, who took - ill-fatedly - to a glider to learn more about the landscape, and swoops and soars where the dream-popping ‘Herdhya’ (‘Pushing’) remains tied to the land and “the feeling of isolation after the Brexit vote”.

As she did with its predecessor, it’s likely Saunders will provide translated lyrics for ‘Le Kov’, but even without, the titles and the sounds she’s conjured speak clearly. ‘Eus Keus?’ - based on an idiom about cheese - is playful as it might be; ‘Jynn-amontya’ (‘Computer’) replaces the previous album’s fear of technology with something like lust, coming over like a 21st-century ‘Je T’Aime… moi non plus’ and ‘Daromres y'n Howl’ (‘Traffic In The Sun’) ropes SFA’s Gruff Rhys in for a bluesily loping, dissected driving song. A treat, no matter where you’re from. Rob Mesure

Give all this a try

Powfu: "Doing everything on my own is my favourite part of it"
Feature

Powfu: "Doing everything on my own is my favourite part of it"

Say hello to pop's new boy wonder, whose breakthrough single 'death bed' is set to be one of 2020's defining tracks.
Rina Sawayama: "Music has always been my comfort blanket"
Feature

Rina Sawayama: "Music has always been my comfort blanket"

Rina Sawayama was always going to be a pop mastermind, but with her debut album out and already gaining the kind of critical acclaim that makes a career, she’s quickly becoming something far more than she ever imagined.
Getting to know... Alien Tango
Feature

Getting to know... Alien Tango

Check out his new video for oddball pop tune 'Arthur Conan Doyle', too.
"I don't want to slow down" - introducing the new issue of Dork, featuring The 1975, out now!
New issue

"I don't want to slow down" - introducing the new issue of Dork, featuring The 1975, out now!

It's a 'Notes On A Conditional Form' extravaganza this month. Plus, Rina Sawayama, The Aces, Creeper, Orlando Weeks and loads more!
Like this? Subscribe to Dork and get every issue delivered direct to your door anywhere on the planet.
CONTACT PRIVACY ADVERTISE

© 2018 The Bunker Publishing