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Tirill A Dance With The Shadows album cover
3.99 | 12 ratings | 3 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Nights Are Colder (4:33)
2. Don't Dare To Love You (2:37)
3. Winter Roses (4:42)
4. June's Flowers (3:25)
5. Dressed In Beauty (5:21)
6. Heavy Heaves (2:43)
7. Vendela (6:37)
8. Golds Of Morning (4:45)
9. It Was Blue (3:24)
10. Ruby (4:41)
11. When You Sleep (3:34)

Video - It Was Blue (3:33)

Total Time 46:22

Bonus tracks on 2011 reissue:
12. It Was Blue (instrumental) (3:33)
13. Signs (2:04)
14. June's Flowers Whole in the Soul Remix (6:01)

Line-up / Musicians

- Tirill Mohn / vocals, electric (5) & acoustic (1,3-5,7-9,11) guitars, keyboards (1-3,5-7), violin (3,5,8), flute (4), glockenspiel (9), percussion (1,4,5), djembe (3), bass drum (6), composer, arranger & co-producer

- Odd Håkon Solbakken / vocals (1,7,8)
- Sylvia Erichsen / vocals (7)
- Edel Bjelde / vocals (8)
- Øystein Vesaas / electric (1,7) & 12-string (8) guitars, bass programming (1), glockenspiel (1), sounds (1), backing vocals (5), mixing & co-producer
- Nils Einar Vinjor / guitar & bass (2,3), acoustic guitar (3)
- Christos Sarakatsianos / bouzouki (11)
- Øyvind Fossheim / grand piano (8)
- Peter Kristianson / violin (10)
- Dagfin Koch / viola (8)
- Sigrun Eng / cello (4,7,8)
- Ketil Vestrum Einarsen / flute (2,6-9), flute arrangements (7)
- Morten Michelsen / clarinet (9,10)
- Espen Leite / accordion (9-11)
- Henning Sandsdalen / bass (5), double bass (9-11)
- Atle Rakvåg / bass (7)
- Helge Norbakken / percussion (2,3,5-8), sounds (6)
- Baran Kurd / percussion (11)

Releases information

Artwork: Teresa Katerina Aslanian (photo)

CD The Wild Places ‎- WILD013 (2003, US) Includes a Video clip directed by Kaia Hugin and Tirill
CD Fairy Music - FAM001 (2011, US) Retitled "Tales From Tranquil August Gardens" with 3 bonus tracks, new cover art

Thanks to kenethlevine for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TIRILL A Dance With The Shadows ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(58%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TIRILL A Dance With The Shadows reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars The first solo album from ex-White Willow member multi-instrumentalist Tirill Mohn, `A Dance With The Shadows' is a lush folk/prog album that bridges traditional and modern influences with contrasting light/dark moods, intelligent progressive musicianship and lyrical intimacy. I love the cleverness of the title, the `dance' flirts with upbeat and positive playfulness, while the `shadows' brings a more somber and ponderous quality. Tirill's voice itself is a mix of hushed whispers, pleading reflection and wistful longing, full of girlish feminine charm and unique commanding personality.

Comprised of entirely original material taken from a five year period, Tirill's words read like a snapshot of various points in her life, of a particular emotion, frame of mind or feeling that she relates to the listener in the beautifully haunting work that is frequently somber, quietly reflective and deeply moving. Although written over a long time frame, the album never sounds fragmented or like a mere compilation thrown together. She also brought in a string of great musicians to piece together her magical work, and they play with subtlety and taste. The album maintains a particular mood and cohesiveness that creates a great sense of flow, and it sits nicely alongside White Willow's `Ignis Faatus', making it the perfect companion piece to that stunning album. But Tirill successfully forms her own unique identity throughout this one, and it's a thoughtful, bruised and deeply human work.

Opener `Nights Are Colder' has a somber atmosphere with drifting hazy electronics and other- wordly treated vocals from Tirill, her beckoning voice full of sensual longing. This tracks sets the tone for much of the album, and It's a hugely dramatic and confident opener. Not the happiest of tunes, but very striking and immersive. Male vocals contrast her voice in a few spots to great effect too.

The sad and lyrically honest `Don't Dare To Love Me' has mournful flute with just a hint of danger, weaving around a swirling atmosphere of acoustic guitar, gentle percussion and eerie synths. I have a feeling this story didn't have a happy ending, and it brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it.

`Winter Roses' is more upbeat with a pleasing repeated chorus, making superb use of her multi- tracked voice to bring a soothing and cooing sound to the piece. Listen to how well the sparse and slowly unwinding electric guitar solo falls in alongside Tirill's quietly effective violin. Slightly more uplifting tracks like this help balance the album out so it's not always so glum.

The medieval flavoured `June's Flowers' has a dramatic classical guitar theme, with stirring cello and flute. Despite a rather sweet opening melody, the piece turns quite negative and cold throughout many moments. This track reminds me a little of Loreena Mckennett, though not as over-thought or overproduced. The simplicity and restraint of this one is it's greatest strength.

Lyrics like `Dressed In Beauty's "I gaze at the trees' reflections in the water, my heart untroubled and free, but awondering..." perfectly encapsulates the entire album for me. It's a dreamy gothic piece that utilizes Tirill's musical guests to great effect with a captivating mix of violin, keyboards, bass, nylon string and electric guitar to create a lot of light and shade. Especially listen for the deeply psychedelic and droning middle section with the mix of her multi-tracked choir vocals and swirling instrumentation! Very impressive track that really keeps you on edge due to the abrupt and tense direction changes.

The seriously unnerving synth dirge `Heavy Heaves' has a despondent and resigned Tirill whispering over a backdrop of dark keyboard tones, ghostly flute and taunting chanted voices backed to a thunderstorm. Very draining, yet also very effective and striking, it sounds like nothing else on the album, and even hints at a direction she might like to revisit on a future work?

Then `Vendela' hits you right in the face - a heavy and obsessive gothic fairytale, that opens with very harsh metallic percussion and musical malevolence. Vocally Tirill takes a back seat on this one, handing the male and female leads to future White Willow lady Sylvia Erichsen and Odd Hakon Solbakken. But the musical arrangement is very dramatic and rich, with dark jazzy moments, brooding melodrama and a lurking malaise. It reminds me of a mix of gloomy trip- hoppers Portishead and Swedish misery-mongers Paatos' debut album` Timeloss', it's also the longest track on the album, and the one that sounds the most like her previous band White Willow.

`Golds Of Morning' sounds quite like the first track, but this time a lush orchestral arrangement with some beautifully poetic light/dark contrasting lyrics full of rich detail and a majestic classical folk- styled flute finale. Yet another wondrous piece.

Accordion and clarinet carry `It Was Blue', a simple but delicate acoustic story with wistful longing and deeply romantic lyrics. Just beautiful. The instrumentation is carefully played, but I could easily imagine Tirill performing this one just as well on her acoustic guitar alone.

`Ruby' is another historical Loreena Mckennitt styled number, with violin and clarinet giving the piece a very serious and almost morbid sound. The intricate and richly dramatic words sound like an old poem brought to life, although this one is much harder to interpret. Just another reason to give the album more time and attention to unlock it's treasures.

The album closes on the acoustic lullaby `When You Sleep' with warm and occasional vocal playfulness from Tirill. It's strangely soothing and comforting while still retaining the album's gentle melancholy due to more lulling accordion and the down-tempo melody. It's a very restrained arrangement, and you really focus on Tirill's voice and purring words in this one. It's the perfect way to wrap the album without leaving the listener withdrawn and unhappy from the gloomier and heavier pieces that make up parts of the rest of the album.

The album has now been given a new reissue on both CD and vinyl, renamed `Tales From The Tranquil August Gardens' and given the addition of some bonus tracks. It was originally released on the late Michael Piper's label `The Wild Places', which is the version I own. Michael was a wonderful progressive music vendor many of us remember fondly, and I feel there's no greater tribute than owning this sublime album.

From the mysterious front cover image of Tirill, to the semi-erotic and free-spirited photographs of her inside, to the lovingly reproduced lyrics in the CD sleeve, `A Dance With The Shadows' is a timeless folk work of maturity and sophistication, rich with exquisite instrumental playing, subtle arrangements and wonderfully charming female vocals from a contemplative and unique artist.

Like the different seasons that particular pieces were written in that Tirill lists in the album sleeve, `A Dance With The Shadows' offers a great variety of moods and emotions for any occasion, and it's beauty and fragile compositions will ensure an album you'll treasure forever.

Four and a half stars.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A Dance with the Shadows is a collection of mostly soft and somber single-instrument based folk songs sung by the delicate voice of former WHITE WILLOW violinist, Tirill Mohn. "Vendela" (6:37) (8/10) stands out as the only faster-paced, full-band supported "prog" song. The album's finale, "When You Sleep" (5:15) (9/10) is another standout due to the contributions of the ensemble of accordion, violin, and percussion that give it its Italian café feel. Tirill is obviously a very contemplative poet/lyricist as her season-based lyrics are quite evocative of the thoughts she has during certain times of the year. My recommendation of this album pales next to her 2013 release, Um Himinjo∂ur, due mostly to the feeling that this is really a pop folk album more than a Prog Folk effort. A variation of this album was released from a different label in 2011 under the title, "Tales from Tranquil August Gardens." While it has a few more songs added to it, the packaging of the original is part of what makes it worth owning. Try the following song samples from YouTube: "Dressed in Beauty" (5:21) (9/10), "June's Flowers" (3:25) (8/10), and; "Winter Roses" (4:43) (8/10).
Review by kev rowland
4 stars Tirill Mohn will always be best known for her part in the formation of Norwegian Progressive Rock band White Willow, although her sole album appearance was on 1995's debut 'Ignis Fatuus'. It wasn't until 2003 that she released her debut solo album, titled 'A Dance With The Shadows' on small independent label The Wild Places, but in 2011 she revisited the album and added three additional bonus songs, changed the title and with new artwork 'Tales From Tranquil August Gardens' was released. Then, at the end of 2018 her three albums were finally reissued on CD in the UK for the first time. With White Willow she provided violin and classical guitar, but here the album mostly concentrates on her delicate vocals, and as well as her own talents on multiple instruments she has a great many guests adding nuances here and there.

However, the album is incredibly delicate, with a feeling that a good puff of wind could cause the whole thing to collapse at any time. There are times when she reminds me of the wonderful Talis Kimberley, as well as Judy Dyble. Her style feels very much like that of English folk which was coming out in the early Seventies, yet with additional instrumentation which moves it more into the prog folk field than that of a purist approach to either genre. There is a strength and spine within the vocals, and Tirill can be forceful when she needs to, but never at the expense of beauty and grace. Space is an important instrument on the album, with music and vocals creating a web which is much stronger than may initially believed. I missed the original, and the last reissue, but am glad it has finally come to my attention.

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