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Beck Siàn: Press

5 product stars- 'In the Winter Dark'

 

 Welcome to a dark winter wonderland ... - Laureate39 - 12/15/2014


... a cross between Narnia and Pan's Labyrinth. I've loved Beck Sian's music from the very beginning but this moves things to another level. The inspired move from guitar to keyboards adds volumes to the mystery and the well crafted lyrics and haunting vocals makes this album a real joy to listen to. For me, the stand out track is the icily atmospheric "The Frost" and the catchy little ringing hook from "When the Snow is on the Ground" will linger in the mind long after the first hearing. Anyone familiar with Beck Sian will love this but I'd strongly recommend anyone who loves beautiful music.

Laureate39 - (Dec 15, 2014)

5 product stars- 'In the Winter Dark'
Fantastic... - John Monk - 12/11/2014
I really love this CD so well crafted in every aspect. Beautifully put together package. Love the artwork and pictures. The wonderful vocals superbly sung along with subtle and atmospheric, enchanting music. So well produced. A masterpiece. I listened enthralled several times in a row. I'm giving out several copies to my really good friends only.

John Monk - (Dec 15, 2014)

BECK SIAN

Ye olde Silent Inn 

Haunted Forest Productions HFPCD03 

 

BORN in Australia, singer/guitarist Beck Sian now lives in mid Wales. Much of the 

inspiration for this third studio album though, is from the West Yorkshire Moors, 

where she has taken holidays, staying at Ye Olde Silent Inn near Haworth. It’s said to be 

haunted and the supernatural is a theme running through the songs on this CD. They 

include her own compositions, songs using her poetic lyrics with melodies from others, 

traditional songs she has adapted and arranged and adaptations of poems from 

Longfellow. The songs can be disconcerting, spooky and full of dark imagery. A striking feature is 

Beck’s voice. Her diction is more than crystal clear. She also has a remarkable range, 

especially at the top end and she uses it to good effect. She brings in several friends, 

including members of the Shropshire band Whalebone who fill out the sound. 

Beck Sian’s classic folk noir deserves a wider hearing. 

 

Keith Hudson

BECK SIAN - YE OLDE SILENT INN
(CD from http://becksianmusic.com/)

Beautifully produced and mastered by the Terrascope’s Steve Palmer, this album is an enchanting and dream-coated affair that is warm and ethereal, displaying a languid and mystical ambience throughout.

    Opening with the soft spoken delights of “Wycoller Hall”,  the first thing you notice is the haunting and beautiful voice of Beck Sian, crystal tones gliding over the  musical backdrop, reminding me (and everyone else) of Clannad. Next up “The Black Silk Handkerchief” is a traditional tale of love, parental interference, ghosts and death, here given a sheen of 70's acid folk, the droning backing the perfect foil for the sweet vocal delivery.

    As the album progresses it reveals a darker heart, the loneliness of the Yorkshire moors, a major influence on the writing, shadows at twilight and unease, with both “The Moon on the 13th” and the title track having a creepier atmosphere, the latter using a gently ringing guitar as its backing. Even more darkness is created on “The Dark Stairs”, a distorted droning guitar adding a harsher sound, building on a ghostly pulse and soft melodies, the song drifting into “The Moors”, another spooky yet serene piece that has bags of atmosphere and an ear for melody, the addition of drums giving the piece plenty of energy.

     Featuring the poetry and voice of John Carder Bush (Kate's brother), the spoken word of “Lady of the wind” adds another dimension to the collection, the sympathetic violin playing of Raven Bush and vocals of Beck creating a sultry drone over which the words dance.

     With the words of Henry Longellow and the contribution of folk group Whalebone “The Old Clock on the Stairs” is one of the strongest cuts and also the one which will remind you of Kate Bush, an acknowledged influence and to whom Beck is related, everything coming together in perfection, the wonderful production allowing you to hear everything as it should be. Equally as good, “Top Withens” is a gentle and gorgeous song that paints pictures of gnarled trees, stone walls and wind-dancing crows in your mind, whilst “Tales of a Wayside Inn”, recorded in one take, captures all that is good about Beck Sian, the simplicity and sweetness of the performance shining through delightfully.

    Finally “The Mirror in the Deserted Hall” is another ghostly tale with a suitable musical ambience created by Chris Gill who added guitar, keyboards to several tracks, the tune again bringing images to mind, aided by the lyrics as well as the chiming bells.

    So, hats off to all concerned for creating a great sounding album that is perfect for  a night around a roaring fire or a rainy Sunday evening, just relax and take a walk across the moors of your imagination. (Simon Lewis)   

"The third full-length CD from Beck Sian "Ye Olde Silent Inn" will delight and amaze her fans and followers whilst winning her many new ones.

Inspired by Beck's visits to that inn, near the village of Stanbury near Haworth in West Yorkshire, the album marks her move into what she terms "haunted and enchanting folk noir" with an enthralling mix of stories and influences - haunted houses, windy moors, spooky moonlit walks, highwaymen, moths, ghostly inns, ruined halls and creaking staircases to name a few.

The album sounds darker than her previous works, but there is also perhaps more coherence here in Beck's talent for creating evocative melodies and lyrics which she seamlessly weaves into the soundscapes that form the album.

Beck's vocal range and power is showcased and lovers of traditional folk songs will delight in her re-interpretation of "Molly Malone", sung unaccompanied amongst distant ghostly echoes of church bells, street traders and horses. "Down in Yon Forest" will particularly delight fans of Beck's first album "Unfurling" with its ghostly cries from the ruined hall in the woods.

However, Beck has also gained a reputation for experimentation. In "Top Withens", one of her few instrumentals, Beck uses her voice as an instrument in itself to depict the howling winds on the moors. These techniques are also used to great effect on "Lady Of The Wind", a poem written and narrated by John Carder Bush and set to Beck's music. The track also features his son Raven Bush, who contributes beautifully sensitive violin motifs.

One of the most atmospheric songs on the album is "The Moon On The 13th", remarkably improvised during an otherwise unproductive session with co-producer and engineer Steve Palmer.

Once again, Chris Gill makes stunning instrumental contributions on four songs, most notably in the opening bars of "The Moors" - perfectly capturing the spirit of the countryside around Haworth and the Plas Teg inspired "The Dark Stairs". These tracks are the perhaps the most rock-inspired songs Beck has recorded to date - in interviews she has cited the influence of heavy metal bands from her childhood.

Whalebone make a hypnotic, mesmerising contribution to "The Old Clock On The Stairs" with their unique blend of guitar and fiddle and together with "Tales Of A Wayside Inn" are perhaps the most catchy songs on the album.

Beck writes in a very visual way. I have had lots of fun in forming my own mental images from the songs and the album well rewards repeated listening. This is an album from the heart and one to treasure".

Andrew Shaw - Ye Olde Silent Inn review (Jan 18, 2013)

Luminous Wings & Unseen Things - Beck Siàn

The second CD from Beck Sian, I came across this album as a fan of Kate Bush (to whom Beck is related), but this album grabbed hold of me almost from the first listen. She proudly cites Kate’s work as an inspiration (most noticeably for me in the opening words of “In the Greenery”) however Beck’s musical journey is very different having it’s roots in folk music, yet interwoven with a vividly surreal mix of Irish, Welsh, Australian, gothic and world music influences.

 

Luminous Wings & Unseen Things is loosely based on the atmospheres and legends inspired by the various themed gardens of a haunted Welsh castle.

 

The arrangements are sparse, yet form lush tone poems, occasionally complemented by collaborator Chris Gill’s haunting keyboards as in “The Topiary Garden”.

 

Beck has a rare gift for creating evocative and original music, with lyrics often inspired by her own poems and musings as well as texts taken from classical literature. As an independent artist, she follows her own intuition - this is music made with love and care and as such works its way into your soul.

 

One of the most memorable songs is “Thornfield” with its strong imagery of Jane Eyre. Rather than focus on merely telling the story, Beck draws you powerfully into the hearts and minds of the characters and their dilemma: “lighting strikes and splits our tree. The fire rages, tries to take you from me”.

 

Her voice has a remarkable range and power, pitch-perfect, at moments intimate and delicate, yet she is not afraid of using it as a musical instrument in a more experimental fashion as in “Weep Ye No More, Sad Fountains” and “Tall Waving Delphiniums in Storm Light”


She has gained a reputation for her vivid and spine-tingling reinterpretations of traditional folk songs, really getting “under the skin” of the songs, giving them new emotional meaning.  In “She Moved Through The Faire” an old familiar supernatural ballad has never sounded so haunting and otherworldly.

 

In “Lavender’s Blue” the strains of the opening tin whistle give way to a beautifully arranged madrigal style keyboard arrangement.


In “Siúil a Rúin”, Beck gives this song a dreamlike feel, with the comforting sound of a running stream and birdsong only for accompaniment.

 

“Old Mr Crow” has a delightful almost maverick eccentricity. The song touches on one level with personal change and growth but I love it’s humorous feel.

 

An album to treasure for years to come!!!

Andrew Shaw

Unfurling - Beck Siàn

Unfurling is Beck Sian’s first full length recording, following on from the ideas and themes explored on her Ethereal EP, which is included here as a bonus (worth seeking out in it’s own right, if you can find it, for an extra spine-tingling rendition of “Danny Boy”). Her music defies obvious categorisation but may be loosely described as a blend of folk with strong shoe gaze and world music influences.

Unfurling is themed on the environment of an Australian rainforest (Beck was born in Australia of English/Welsh parents), but is remarkably diverse in its influences. She is equally at home adapting traditional music and literature, for example Greensleeves or presenting her remarkable and memorable original poems and songs. Paul Strahan provides sure footed keyboards and arrangements and the innovative use of wind chimes, bullroarers, tropical birdsong recordings and thunderstorm effects create an almost visual light and shade in the musical textures.

Given the diverse range of influences from the Irish of Beck's grandmother to her friend Stax's didgeridoo flourishes, the album never sounds disjointed. Her voice has an astonishing range (most apparent on “The Foggy Dew”).


A particularly favourite track is a delightfully mellow early version of her classic “Moss” (based on a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson). The song contains one of her most sparkling blends of music and lyrics: “music that gentler on the spirit lies, than tired eyelids upon tired eyes, music that brings sweet sleep, down from blissful skies”.

 

Beck's voice is especially evocative when unaccompanied - songs such as “The Night Will Never Stay” and “Messages In Dreams” can melt all but the hardest hearts and burn their way into your memory.

 

Pride of place goes to the evocative, dark and ominous sounding “Under Thunderous Skies”, which ends on an unexpectedly positive note representing the sense of positivity after overcoming the fallout from a failed relationship, an experience common to all.

This album is timeless and will never sound dated. I hope Beck will continue making new music for a long time to come.

Andrew Shaw

"The beautiful and haunting voice of Beck Siàn lulls the listener to another place... a wild, forgotten realm inhabited by faeries and spirits, where raindrops fall upon tangled ferns and ivy... where hidden things dwell! To listen to her songs is like taking a stroll through a secret garden... or a Haunted Forest!"
Faerie & Fantasy Masquerade Ball 2009
Beck Siàn - 'Unfurling'

"For virtually all of this disc's 53 minutes the result is charming and intriguing and yes, quite magical. Both earthy and unearthly. Weird even, sure. Charisma aplenty, an amazing singing voice, and a quirkily original writing talent are but three of the common factors, but Beck sounds like no-one else even though there are occasionally theatrical touches in her delivery which definitely remind me of Kate Bush. As well as possessing an amazing voice, Beck's a multi-talented musician, on this CD playing guitar, tenor recorder and Celtic harp. As a general observation, Beck's music - and her writing - is marked by a quite special quality of tactile sensuality in the way that she uses her chosen images and sounds; she also has a natural ear for creative instrumentation in her settings, for the most part eschewing the obvious effects and going instead for innovative colours that genuinely enhance the words. My favourite pieces here are those where all these expressive virtues come together in a unified attempt at conveying a special experience or mood or quality of atmosphere: the extraordinarily powerful 'Under Thunderous Skies', also 'Moss', 'Tangled In Green', 'Mountain Ash' and the two brief a capella tracks. Beck's music is seriously enchanting; she clearly has a very special talent. Generally speaking, Beck's music isn't really like anything else you will have heard."
David Kidman - Folk Roundabout/NetRhythms

Album Review: Unfurling by Beck Sian

April 22, 2008

Album Name: Unfurling
Artist: Beck Sian
Year/Label: 2008 / Independent


Review by Anna Maria Stjärnell

Beck Sian is a relation to Kate Bush which hardly comes as any surprise if you hear her music. She has an ethereal voice and the Celtic influences are present and correct. She writes her own material and adapts traditional folk songs. She’s clearly her own woman and as a listening experience this album is hard to beat.

Moss sees the voice reach high, pure notes and the music sweeping along nicely.

Greensleeves is familiar territory, but this version fits into Sian’s mystical soundworld. Her vocals are like something out of a dream.

Under Thunderous Skies sees Sian take a song of her own that’s quite lovely and strum her guitar wonderfully.

The Foggy Dew another traditional song, gets a nicely atmospheric reading. The use of a didgeridoo elsewhere spices up the album’s sound and gives it a unique flair.

Beck Sian’s Unfurling is an album to treasure.


Review by Anna Maria Stjärnell - 'Unfurling' review (Jan 25, 2012)
ARTIST: Beck Sian

CD Title: Luminous Wings and Unseen Things

Label: Haunted Forest Productions

REVIEWER: Jules Cohen

DATE 1-17-10



Beck Sian's latest CD offers so much lush for our ears. "In the Greenery" is a soundscape of birds, piano and vocals followed by "The Garden Seat". Smitten with an angel's message and visual songbook of folk/duets/with guitar, piano and confidence in what she wants us to hear. The titles are like fairytales and stories and at times Beck Sian reminds me of Kate Bush meets Lisa Gerrard. Beck Sian's voice soars on "Weep Ye No More, Sad Fountains", notes that fly into the heavens and back down to present moment. Beck Sian's music is a beautiful blend of folk/shoegaze/Celtic

"Some singers have only to utter a note and instantly, you're transfixed. They've reached out, touched your soul. Beck Siàn has that rare quality. In Beck, you sense she's on a journey and, for a short while at least, you're a traveling companion. She draws inspiration from the subtropical rainforests of her native Australia, creating what she fittingly calls 'Haunted Forest Music', through voice, guitar, whistle and didgeridoo. It's mystical, magical music, spiritual and enchanting. There are touches redolent of Kate Bush, to whom Beck is related, but these are mere brush-strokes of influence. Overall, it's as distinctive as it's original. With a soprano voice to die for, her approach is highly individual, the ambiance emotional and utterly entrancing. She's charismatic, convivial and funny on stage - in short, a real show-stopper! Her outstanding debut album is called 'Unfurling'. And artistically, that is precisely what Beck is doing. Unmissable." (Julian Badcock - Wheaton Aston Folk Festival 2007) “Really great. She’s got an amazing voice…” Reg Presley (The Troggs) “Bucketloads of charisma and a fabulous, enchanting delivery…” Steve Harley (Cockney Rebel) “She is fabulous!” Genevieve Tudor (‘Sunday Folk’ BBC Radio Shropshire) "She silences audiences with her breath-taking voice. She sings of storms, nature, emotional journeys and a ghost story or two. This is stunning music with a Celtic foundation, a Supernatural thread, a World music vibe, a Gothic darkness and, dare I say a new category, of Fantasy Folk!" Haunted Forest Productions “A multi-layered unique artiste with a vocal gift to carry her anywhere.” Judith Durham (The Seekers) “Beck Siàn conjured up a magical evening of great good humour, enchanting music, disarming honesty – and just a spoonful of craziness! Her exuberance and love of life is infectious.” Phil Gillam “It is one thing to be admired by the Folk Establishment and a whole other matter to be taken into the hearts of the audiences, which Beck Siàn is. Everything about Beck tells you she is a star.” Bob Lines (St. Valentine’s Charity Folk Festival 2007) “Her presentation is impeccable: between her songs she tells her story in her soft Australian accent, on equal terms with her audience. It’s like listening to a new friend. Her beautiful voice delivers her beautiful words wrapped in velvet: she captivates.” Tony Charnock (Topic Folk Club 2006) “Her vocal range and haunting delivery raises the hairs on the back of your neck.” David Parker (The Beat International)

 

Some Reviews and Comments.
"Haunted Forest Music Wins Over Audience"

Beck Siàn
The Keay

"Saturday night saw the sensational Beck Siàn give her first performance at The Keay, St. Austell. The scene was set with candle-lit tables providing the perfect setting for the evening ahead. The stage was decorated, with the microphone dressed in Autumnal roses.
Beck walked on stage as if she had been doing it all her life. She has a tremendous stage presence and began by talking a bit about her background. This was carried on throughout the evening between songs.
She has a unique voice, amazingly with no prior singing tuition, a talent for story-telling and is a multi-talented musician."
Rachel Wakeman - Cornish Guardian