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FOVEA HEX

Progressive Electronic • Ireland


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Fovea Hex biography
FOVEA HEX is an experimental group led by Irish musician Clodagh SIMONDS. The first band she formed and was a part of was folk group MELLOW CANDLE in the 60's which had a long period of inactivity until the 90's when she formed her second group FOVEA HEX (meanwhile she was active in her solo career as well as cooperation with other artists, like with Mike OLDFIELD on his Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn and Amarok albums). This new group creates ambiental and electronic music not completely without pop and folk sensibilities which they have released up to this point on one album and several extended plays. Beside SIMONDS, the line-up features Laura SHEERAN, Cora Venus LUNNY, Michael BEGG and Colin POTTER (from NURSE WITH WOUND) along with several regular musicians who contribute on instruments like violins, cellos or other. Among the more famous guest musicians who contributed to music of FOVEA HEX were Roger and Brian ENO, Robert FRIPP and Steven WILSON.

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"Salt Garden 2 -10""/Lp+Cd-"
H.DUS 2017
$61.20 (used)
Here Is Where We Used to Sing / Three BeamsHere Is Where We Used to Sing / Three Beams
Janet
$39.99 (used)
Neither Speak Nor Remain SilentNeither Speak Nor Remain Silent
Box set
PID 2007
$182.16 (used)
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FOVEA HEX discography


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FOVEA HEX top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 3 ratings
Here Is Where We Used to Sing
2011

FOVEA HEX Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FOVEA HEX Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FOVEA HEX Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.90 | 2 ratings
Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent
2007

FOVEA HEX Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Bloom
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Huge
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Allure
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
I:I:XII Hail Hope
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Salt Garden I
2016

FOVEA HEX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bloom by FOVEA HEX album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2005
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Bloom
Fovea Hex Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars "Fovea Hex" is a mostly unheard of band centered around Clodagh Simonds who was the lead of a prog-folk band started in the 70s named "Mellow Candle". My question is, how can someone so talented at creating music scapes as Simmonds is can still be such an obscure artist even in progressive music? She has support from a wide array of artists, a veritable who's-who list of prog music; Robert Fripp, Steven Wilson, Brian Eno, to name a few. Under this name, Fovea Hex has only released a few albums and several EPs. Each time a new recording is released, the band line-up changes somewhat depending on the atmosphere being generated from the recording, however Laura Sheeren, cousin of Ed Sheeren, is also a regular member of the band along with Cora Venus Lunny who has also performed with Sinead O'Connor and Damien Rice.

In the case of "Bloom", this EP is the first of a trilogy of EP that were released collectively named "Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent". This particular EP enlists the help of Brian and Roger Eno, movie soundtrack artist Carter Burwell (The Big Lebowski and Being John Malkovich) and Andrew McKenzie (Hafler Trio). The EP only consists of 3 tracks totaling just over 17 minutes.

The music is reminiscent of the electronic/folk styles of "Current 93" in their most ambient states. And just like Current 93, the music is considered progressive electronic, and because of this, it remains hidden away from prog-folk music lovers that don't venture beyond that genre.

The EP starts with the track "Don't These Windows Open?" which is a mostly acapella track of layered wordless vocals. A main vocalist sings a lyrical melody over the top of this. The layered background vocals almost become drone-like. This is a pensive and beautiful song, and leans completely in the prog-folk realm.

The middle track is the 9 minute "We Sleep You Bloom". It starts with an ambient drone and occasional chime-like sounds. A keyboard rises out of this sound building some intensity. Harmonized, processed vocals start as a sparse sounding drone goes on underneath. Sustained notes change tones as singing continues. The feeling is icy cold, yet beautiful and expansive. The vocals are quite lovely with a siren-like quality enticing you to come closer, but do so with caution or you will be drawn into an icy grave. The music is at its most intense when there is singing, and becomes quite ambient and atmospheric when the singing stops. The music is completely immersive.

"That River" is the last track. Starting with a harmonium drone which soon turns melodic, the vocals are quite up front this time with intriguing lyrics. Again, the folk leanings are very strong in the vocal melody. After the verses, the music turns ambient and drone-like.

This music is definitely a modern art rock sound. Yes it utilizes electronics on this EP, but has a very strong folk feeling, mostly Celtic in nature, and also experimental, but not really dissonant. The harmonies are lovely, the singing and lyrics are clean and crisp, the instrumentals are minimal and fit the lyrics perfectly. The only drawback, is that it is over much too quickly. But, when combined with the other 2 EPs in the series, it makes for a perfect album. Yet even if it is only an EP, it is 4 star material.

 Allure by FOVEA HEX album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Allure
Fovea Hex Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars This EP is the 3rd in a series of 3 EPs in the series "Neither Speak nor Remain Silent" by Fovea Hex, who by this time was all centered around the artist Clodaugh Simonds, who was the lead singer for a progressive folk band in the 70s called "Mellow Candle". They only released one album in the 70s, and then another one in the 90s. They were obviously not a very well known band, and I can't speak of their music since I haven't heard it. The reason why this was brought to my attention is because both Steven Wilson and Robert Fripp are involved in this EP.

The band records on Wilson's record label. Both Wilson and Fripp contribute guitars on this EP, which is very atmospheric and beautiful. Wilson also contributed treated bass. Their influences and styles are very much apparent on here too as the sound approaches the feel of Bass Communion and also some of Fripp's later music. Fovea Hex has also worked with Brian Eno in past projects. The band is listed under Progressive Electronic. The credit listing only shows traditional and contemporary instruments however, no synths, and the sound is very earthy, folkish and even ambient in some sections.

This is a very beautiful and low-key EP all the way through. Clodaugh's vocals are lovely and fit the music perfectly. It has a slightly Celtic vibe to it, but much more experimental and ambient than what you would expect from Celtic music. There are definitely a lot of treated or slightly processed sounds here, but they work to bring about the overall atmosphere of the music. It is somewhat minimalistic, but not boring in the least. Although it has that celtic vibe to it, it follows no traditional song pattern, and at times is free meter. So it is definitely progressive.

It's too bad it's so short, and it definitely does not wear out it's welcome with only 3 songs spanning about 25 minutes. This is a case where a person would want to get all 3 of the EPs to experience more of this music. The music line up changes and adapts to the feeling of each EP. Even as short of a statement as it is, it is still an excellent addition to any collection.

 The Salt Garden I by FOVEA HEX album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Salt Garden I
Fovea Hex Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars Besides this being not Progressive Electronic and reviewing only the non Steven Wilson limited bonus disc release, here it goes.

Fovea Hex, "The Salt Garden 1", 2016 is closer to Prog/Folk or Crossover, tops. This mentioned to set it someplace in PA's sub-genre's universe.

Some, outside of PA's reviewers, comment that Fovea Hex is a genre itself. Quiet daringly, I will add. There is an unexplainable attribute the Irish music scene beholds, that certainly sets them apart, yet holds them up together. This I comment because, even if I try, I can not detach Fovea Hex's music from its Irish roots. Of course there is no demerit in this, yet this holds back any kind of explosive groundbreaking experimental route that could possibly emerge along its direction.

This also comes to mind because Fovea Hex's music also reminds me of Enya's at some distant point, but oddly to Canadian Loreena Mckennitt's musical environments, who may well be included in these PA's archives if measured by the same rule and who in fact is far more daring, music composition wise speaking.

Anyway, beautifully performed and composed "Salt Garden 1", 4 tracks EP, is a dream like, short ride, to some peaceful lands which inhale sorrow and by contrast also exhale light. But above all, it keeps you hooked for more, which could explain the addition of the last track "SOLACE" in an extended Steven Wilson intervened and remixed version, in the limited, 2 cd edition, "not available" package.

****4 PA "EP" stars.

 Here Is Where We Used to Sing by FOVEA HEX album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.95 | 3 ratings

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Here Is Where We Used to Sing
Fovea Hex Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars HERE IS WHERE WE USED TO SING

So as I mentioned in my Fovea Hex last review, this is not progressive electronic music as such. So Berlin School expectants, this is even less P/E than their previous compilation.

That established let me make some references to what to expect in this "HERE IS WHERE WE USED TO SING", 2010, release.

The characteristical melancholy of Irish music floats through the air, the ethereal quality of acoustic instruments is ever present and emphasized, so expect remarkable cello playing by the great Julia Kent (honorable guest in this effort) as John Contreras also on cello, alongside founder member Clodagh Simonds' piano and vocals with Cora Venus Lunny's violin threading bright and obcure ambients crossed between female singing and choruses, detailed by the again present Brian Eno and Colin Potter, accompanied here and there with Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo's guitar and Marco Schiavo's drums and percussions.

As far as making some kind of musical comparison I will think of Loreena McKennitt but stripped down to less baroque terms, a much less sugarly coated Enya, tainted with the detached, obscure and sad atmospheres of "Love Is Colder Than Death" or "Black Tape for a Blue Girl" or the closer to prog "No Man" and the ever present "This Mortal Coil's" mutability of personnel and "darkness" in musical language and intention.

****4 PA stars.

 Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent by FOVEA HEX album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
4.90 | 2 ratings

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Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent
Fovea Hex Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Lucky us Prog Electronic followers.

"Fovea Hex" a.k.a. Clodagh Simonds (with Laura Sheeran on supporting vocals) an Irish experimental project band is a very well kept secret, so it seems, here in PA. So lucky us electronic enthusiasts this project/band was set here in this prog category.

Anyway, quiet strange that this Fovea Hex "Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent", 2010, a compilation consisting of three earlier individual EPs "Bloom"-2005, "Huge",-2006 and "Allure"-2007, which were put up in a single cd and adapted time wise, has gone unnoticed.

Strange because it features top of the game guests in this prog universe. Therefore to push this crossover/electronic project into any kind of thirsty prog throat, I, inevitably, will reveal the list of honorable guests. Michael Begg, Carter Burwell, Roger Doyle, Brian Eno, Roger Eno, Robert Fripp, Percy Jones, Cora Venus Lunny, Donal Lunny, Andrew Mckenzie, Sarah McQuaid, Hugh O'Neill, Colin Potter, Lydia Sasse and this page's prodigal son Steven Wilson. How is that for a party?

Music wise, as I mentioned, this is just too ethereal, cosmic, obscure and experimental to be called folk even prog's one, unless we are talking about an alternate habitable planet somewhere in a parallel universe where there is a folk/band from a place named surprisingly also Ireland.

If I really need to mention that this release is not just flawless and ground breaking music composition wise, but that involving not only extraordinary musicians, some of them are also 1st class high tech sound engineers, as you will obviously have deducted from this master musicians guest list, therefore it sounds like a sound engineer's heaven.

*****5 PA stars, at least!

Thanks to historian9 for the artist addition.

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