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“Meeting Is A Pleasure” is the first official release since Marlais’ debut album “Warm at Last” in 2016, which hosted a mixture of traditional folk songs from Britain and Ireland intertwined with his own experimental compositions.
Taking a more structurally conventional approach than before, “Meeting Is A Pleasure” fuses various elements: the arpeggiated flutes recall the melodic playing from Irish Uilleann pipers, a slow moving organ takes a stylistic cue from ambient drone while the nostalgic 60’s Mellotron sounds orchestrate a bold cinematic scope that dramatises the heartbreak at the centre of the song:
“Meeting Is a Pleasure” is an incredibly popular traditional song found on both sides of the Atlantic. It goes by different names, different melodies and different texts. It’s a shapeshifter. What lies at the heart of these various versions is that it’s a love song. A song of unrequited love; the moment you realise your lover has eyes for someone else. Then there’s the part of bottle sharing. Is this song about drowning your sorrows? Perhaps it’s a parting gift, perhaps it’s poison. The version found on Nic Jones’ Penguin Eggs has accompanied me through many moody moments in my life but the raw a capella version of the Watersons sisters Norma and Lal singing it on the compilation “River Of Song”, has influenced this recording me the most. A very special moment can be heard where Margaret Barry and Jean Richie compare versions on a recording session in London made by Alan Lomax in 1953
Marlais is the stage name of Michael Culme-Seymour, who has been living and working in Berlin since 2011. After gaining a following on Soundcloud for his remix’s of Alt-J and his folk-sampling beat driven instrumentals, Marlais consolidated this style into his debut EP “Dreams of Jarvis”, inspired by the literary fantastical folk worlds created by Dylan Thomas, whose middle name Marlais adopted to be his moniker. 2016 saw a directional change musically: “Warm at Last”, his debut full length album hosted traditional ballads and songs from Britain and Ireland, sung to experimental electronic arrangements. Slotting in between songs were a mixture of instrumentals, slow moving drones, whirling guitar loops and ambient explorations.
Recorded, produced and mixed by Marlais.
Mastering: Enyang Rubriks
Cover art: Franz Böhlke