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UNITED BIBLE STUDIES

Prog Folk • Ireland


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United Bible Studies picture
United Bible Studies biography
Founded in Dublin, Ireland in 2001

UNITED BIBLE STUDIES are an Irish folk music collective consisting of several core members, augmented on occasion by friends and fellows for live appearances and special projects. The band has amassed an extensive discography of limited and commercial releases, as well as promos, EPs and split discs. The band's music is clearly influenced by older generation psych folk groups like INCREDIBLE STRING BAND as well as newer free folk acts in the vein of SPIRES THAT IN THE SUNSET RISE and LONG LIVE DEATH.

>> Bio by Bob Moore (aka ClemofNazareth) <<

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UNITED BIBLE STUDIES discography


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UNITED BIBLE STUDIES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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Stations Of The Sun, Transits Of The Moon
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Lunar Observatory
2004
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Solar Observatory
2005
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The Shore That Fears The Sea
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Arboreal Observatory
2008
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The Jonah
2009
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United Bible Studies & Jozef Van Wissem: Downland
2011
3.00 | 2 ratings
Spoicke
2013
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Cearcall
2014
4.00 | 1 ratings
Doineann
2014
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The Ale's What Cures Ye
2015
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Rosary Bleeds
2016
3.00 | 1 ratings
Porti Sepolti
2019

UNITED BIBLE STUDIES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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Live at the Warehouse
2006
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Black Colcannon
2007
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The Gascoigne Observatory
2010
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The Dreamlike States of the United Bible Studies
2011
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Live at the Colchester Arts Centre
2012
3.95 | 2 ratings
I Am Providence
2012
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Beo Faoi Dubhlinn
2013
3.00 | 1 ratings
I Am Full Gibbous
2016

UNITED BIBLE STUDIES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

UNITED BIBLE STUDIES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

UNITED BIBLE STUDIES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

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Huntly Town
2004
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Airs of Sun and Stone
2005
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The Northern Lights and the Northern Dark
2006
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The Kitchen Session
2010
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A Shatner Observatory
2010
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Harry Potter Gone Evil
2014
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Meditations On Clayton
2014
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Why Planets?
2018

UNITED BIBLE STUDIES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
  Porti Sepolti by UNITED BIBLE STUDIES album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Porti Sepolti
United Bible Studies Prog Folk

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars United Bible Studies is a prog folk band with members coming from various places like Ireland, Italy, US, and Scotland, but centered in Ireland. They have been around since 2001, have had several line up changes through the years, but have been able to release 13 full length studio albums, 8 live albums, and numerous EPs / Split albums.

"Porti Sepolti" (Buried Ports) is their 13th full length album and was released in March of 2019. The current line up consists of 8 members. The album has 7 tracks that span a total run time of 51 minutes. The first track, "Umana Trama" (Human Plot) takes up most of the time at over 20 minutes. This track is quite minimal and spacious with wordless female vocals (only at the beginning), soft synths and guitar. After 4 minutes, percussive sounds join in and various other effects and instruments add minimal and pensive layers with no main melody. But around 8 minutes, solo synths start to provide an improvised melody and foundation, with nothing else playing. After 11 minutes, new effects come in and a guitar comes in later and pensive Italian male vocals at 13 minutes, but the music remains quite soft and quiet. Spooky vocal sounds come in once the Italian vocals stop and a guitar intensifies things a little, but create more of a hazy background for the strange vocals. After 16 minutes, everything returns to the minimal sound again with deep synths playing washing up dark waves against each other. Electronic music starts towards the end including a percussion electronic rhythm, but this is just for a short time at the end. There's not a lot of movement in this long track, and remains mostly minimal throughout. The music isn't traditional as far as folk music goes, but there is an underlying folk sense to it all, sort of like "Current 93", but much quieter. It seems to be more along the lines of minimal electronics with a few other instrumental layers mixed in.

"La Chiocciola" (The Snail) starts with a drone before the synth melody starts and soon wordless chanting style vocals ebb and flow around the synths. "Respiro Profundo" (Deep Breath) uses minimal guitar strums and some type of reed instrument with airy female vocals. This makes for a nice avant garde and folk sound. "Canto di uno Schiavo" (Song of a Slave) has a more pastoral feel with acoustic guitar and male vocals with female vocal harmony. Mellow synths are added later. Dissonant wordless vocals meander around the organ effect before a keyboard loop begins and other subdued vocals usher it all out.

"Voce della Sorgente" (Voice of the Source) feature more synths and electronics and dissonant wordless vocals come in halfway through. "Pensieri Sacri" (Sacred Thoughts) features spoken vocals with a mysterious echo effect, electronic percussion and more synthesizer. "Alontanamento" (Removal) is a lovely, but short atmospheric track using acoustics and synths.

The basis of the music does have a somewhat folk feel to it, but is more along the lines of electronica music with very minimal or ambient sounds. All of the vocals are in Italian and the melodies are more free flowing than they are structured. The music is peaceful enough and sometimes even reaches unsettling. The very long initial track has some interesting sections, but not much really happens, and the entire album seems to stay in the avant-garde genre more than folk, but the elements are there. Anyway, it's interesting music, but it is not something I would come back to a lot.

 I Am Full Gibbous by UNITED BIBLE STUDIES album cover Live, 2016
3.00 | 1 ratings

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I Am Full Gibbous
United Bible Studies Prog Folk

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars The band's bandcamp page presents the album with this sentence: "sounds and samples that begin to disorientate the listener, that very moment that you fall into a dream state". It's true, and this could even be a very short review as it's a good synthesis, but to be interested in checking out an album a potential listener needs more.

So, what can you expect from this album? Mainly darkness. It's a dream, true, but not about flowers and sunny days. United Bible Study is an unusual mixture of electronic, sequencing and sometimes a bit of Irish folk, all tied by dreamy soundscapes which sometimes change into nightmares.

In some parts the music can be even scary, but in any case it requires attention and possibly headphones. It's quite incredible that it has been recorded live. If it wasn't written on the bandcamp page, I would have thought it as a studio album.

This three parts suite has almost no rhythm and could even be considered as a progressive electronic piece. In some parts it reminds also to the Berlin school, but the scary vocals that sometimes appear, in particular on the final crescendo of the first track can't be easily classified.

The second track is the darkest, like a descent into the REM phase. Made mainly of speech and everyday sounds. The third is defined as " like a wyrd-folk Buttholes jamming with Timothy Leary in an abandoned church". Not so dramatic, maybe, but really weird. The alternance of screams and sequencing continuously interrupting a sort of cabaret folk song is genial.

Not a masterpiece, but an interesting thing, likely very different from everything you have heard before.

Give it a try.

 Spoicke by UNITED BIBLE STUDIES album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Spoicke
United Bible Studies Prog Folk

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

3 stars Describing the nusic of United Bible Study is really uneasy as it's different from everything else but similar to a lot of other things at the same time.

There is folk, but there is dark ambient as well. Let's see how this "Spoicke" looks like.

The album consists in 4 tracks, two lengthy ones (around 15 minutes) and two less long which score about 5 minutes each, but the second is a reprise of the first long track.

"Black Matthew 1" is a long dark ambient track which reminds me a little to the progressive electronic of Richard Rich on which the lectronic is the modulation of acoustic instruments and natural sounds. On this track we can hear harp and sitar together with background noises and sometimes distorted voices. As in a lot of medieval music inspired tunes, there is no rhythm and the mood is calm and sad. I think to some early Clannad or Pentangle. You know those long harp based instrumentals? Well add to those electric guitar in saturation,and various background noises, some electronics (possibly) and ethnic instruments. If you like the genre it's an excellent track. About 16 minutes of dreamy sadness to swim into. If you think to prog-folk don't expect anything like Mostly Autumn.

A bit more "traditional" is the second track. "The Shore That Fears The Sea" is a stupendous folk song with a medieval flavor. I can imagine it sang by Angelo Branduardi as it's more or less the kind of music (and vocals) that you can find on his first albums: some slow finger picking, little piano and harp background and some electric guitar in the instrumental part in the middle of the song with also some wooden flute. Great!

The second long track "Hazelhurst" is of the kind of Black Matthew, but something more happens. If psychedelic folk exists this can be an example. While on the first track there's a basic melody played by the harp, initially here is the harp in background while the other sounds appear disconnected, but after a couple of minutes we are back in line with the first track. More dreamy than sad it is made of little changes so that the listener is not consciously aware of how it's developing. If it wasn't for the harp I would have added this band to progressive electronic. Noting celtic, anyway, especially when, around minute 11, there's some which sounds electronic, but may be the glass harmonica sampled by Michael Tanner.

There's still time for a coda consisting in the second part of "Black Matthew". This time there are vocals, high pitched with some falsetto. Less than for minutes with David Colohan who on this song sounds like the Thinguma-Jigsaw banjoist-singer Seth Buncombe. A quite challenging track.

Three 3-stars pieces, 2 of which long and a 5 minutes 5 stars song. I'm rating it 3, but this band is a really worth trying.

 I Am Providence by UNITED BIBLE STUDIES album cover Live, 2012
3.95 | 2 ratings

BUY
I Am Providence
United Bible Studies Prog Folk

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams

4 stars For a H.P. Lovecraft (the writer more than the band) fan, this album has a very particular meaning.

The band spent a night jamming by the grave of H.P. Lovecraft in Providence, Rhode Island, and this is obviuosly reflected in the music.

The album is opened by a choir containing some little dissonances. The kind of dark rituals often suggested by the novelist. If the choir doesn't sing "Cthulhu Ft'agn" it's only because it could have been too "easy", but it's horrorific enough. I wonder if a footage has been taken. Imagine a dark cemetery and a bunch of people singing this choir...I hope they have informed the neighbours before making it. In the last minute of this "I Am Providence Part I" some instruments add their effort to the choir, and the result is even more weird and horrorific than the choir alone.

Strings and female mute vocals start "Chtonic Spiral". It's not the music of Eric Zann (I know there's an experimental British musician with this name but I mean the Lovecraft's character). It's not because it's not so parossistic as described in the novel. It has a celtic flavor instead. It gives the idea of dancing driads, something that's still in line with the Lovecraft's mythology. When young, the writer was highly fascinated by the celtic legends as well as by the One Thousand and One Nights. Regardless the sensations that it can make emerge, this is an excellent track. For a while I have heard a relationship with the Japanese Ensemble Geinoh Yamashirogumi. I think who likes that band can love this album as well.

Things become more "normal" with the banjo and vocals of "Tributary Of The Styx Under Providence", which is a celtic slow ballad with a bit of psych added. Really a lovely song, quite an elegy. Less than 3 minutes for a two chords song which I think will remain impressed in my memory.

"Swan Point Petrichor" is another slow ballad. Havign vocals but no lyrics makes it a bit darker than the previous, but the feeling perceived is more sadness than other. I didn't know the meaning of the word "Petrichor", which now I know is the "scent of rain". Swan Point is the name of the cemetery. With this information in mind we can fully appreciate this sad and crepuscular song.

The weird choir which started the album is back with "Grave Trudge". There's a bit of electronic noise behind , like ghosts have started waving around the singers. The melody is dark and sad and proceeds very similarily with "I Am Providence Part 2". This reprise is more weird than the previous, more in line with what one can expect from the Providence's night owl. Even if this band is in the prog folk subgenre, this album has a RIO flavor. Who likes Art Zoyd and Shub-Niggurath will probably love this album as well.

For me it's a 4 stars album, and it has been done in one night!

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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