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MOULETTES

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Moulettes biography
Founded in Glastonbury, UK in 2002

English experimental folk-rock (or self-proclaimed "craft pop") band Moulettes formed in Glastonbury, Somerset in 2002, out of a collective of like-minded musicians who had known one another and played together since university. Led by the charismatic Hannah Miller and originally featuring bassist Ted Dwane, who went on to join Mumford & Sons, their lineup was composed of phenomenally talented multi-instrumentalists who swapped instruments mid-set and regularly adopted experimental techniques such as electrifying and distorting traditionally acoustic instruments. Their unique and unclassifiable blend of old English folk, psychedelia, gypsy jazz, indie rock, classical, music hall, and avant-garde elements with close-harmony vocals was heavily influenced by the folk/prog sound of '70s greats like Pentangle and Gentle Giant, but also bore comparison with contemporary acts like Bellowhead and the Unthanks.

The Moulettes Moving quickly to London and eventually to Brighton, the lineup, once stabilized, was based around a core quartet of Miller (guitar, cello, vocals), Ruth Skipper (autoharp, bassoon), Oliver Austin (drums, guitar), and Jim Mortimore (bass, synth, guitar), but varied depending on the occasion and could sometimes expand into a chamber orchestra of up to 15 players. Their debut album Moulettes was released in 2010 on Balling the Jack, followed two years later by The Bear's Revenge. Violinist Georgina Leach was an integral member of the band on both these albums. 2014's Constellations came out via Navigator Records (home of Bellowhead), affording the band a bigger studio budget. It was their most fully realized album up to that point and featured a plethora of guest musicians. 2016's Preternatural, which saw them joined by guitarist Raevennan Husbandes, came out on their own C.R.A.F.T. Pop label and was a concept piece based around remarkable phenomena of the animal kingdom. The band regularly played at high-profile festivals, supported big-name artists such as Mumford & Sons and Arthur Brown, and received numerous "best-of the year" awards.

Bio courtesy of John D Buchanan via allmusic

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MOULETTES discography


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

4.00 | 12 ratings
Moulettes
2010
4.75 | 16 ratings
The Bear's Revenge
2012
4.20 | 15 ratings
Constellations
2014
3.89 | 18 ratings
Preternatural
2016

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

MOULETTES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

3.00 | 2 ratings
Horses for Hearses
2010
2.00 | 1 ratings
Sing unto Me
2012
2.00 | 1 ratings
Uca's Dance
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
Hannah Moule & The Moulettes - Xenolalia: Idolect
2020
4.00 | 1 ratings
Hannah Moule & The Moulettes - Xenolalia II: Attention
2020

MOULETTES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Bear's Revenge by MOULETTES album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.75 | 16 ratings

BUY
The Bear's Revenge
Moulettes Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars The sophomore release from this band of folk masters/virtuosi.

1. "Sing Unto Me" (4:53) immediately noticeable is the expanded lineup--as well as the far more prominent and continuous presence of multiple male voices within the vocal weave. (8.75/10)

2. "Country Joy" (3:33) a guitar-based song with delicate and precise female vocals for the verses, bull band chorale representation in the choruses. Great performances from the guitar, mandolin, banjo and female vocalists. (9/10) 3. "Uca's Dance" (4:21) amazing violin performance on an amazing song (string quartet with drums and many voices). (10/10)

4. "Some Who You Love" (7:25) tick-tock of a grandfather clock is soon joined by plucked muted cello and violin and then lead and background harmonized vocals. Gorgeous sound. Once again I am reminded of MEDIÆVAL BÆBES-- especially their 2012-13 incarnation. An absolutely beautifully paced, constructed, and engineered song. Another stellar display of violin play. Can Prog Folk get any better than this? (14.5/15)

5. "Revenge Of The Bear" (1:58) strings, bassoon and flutes building up to a frenzy before settling into a little "classical"-like control. (4.5/5)

6. "Songbird" (4:11) guitar and female alto vocal opens in a very old-fashioned 1970s-like folk fashion. Background female vocals join in at 0:40 for the chorus, violin in the second. A Vaughan-Williams-like lark-like violin soars in instrumental passage before third verse. What a beautiful vocal weave. Pure folk perfection. (9.25/10)

7. "Muse Has Wings" (3:42) banjo and Hannah in the lead with smooth, more traditional choral background vocals. Other instruments (like violin, hand percussions, clapping) join in at various points during the song. The vocal weave does begin to unfold so that the final third sounds very much like an old-time ANDREWS SISTERS performance. (9/10)

8. "Unlock The Doors" (4:56) much more aggressive, proggy soundscape and emotion open this song through the instrumental first minute. Voices and clapping enter, totally arranged like an Andrews Sisters style. Male voices join in during the chorus. Violin and bassoon stand out during the instrumental bridges. Great musicianship and composition; not my favorite melody or form. (8.75/10)

9. "Half-Remembered Song" (4:54) a bluesy 1940s Haarlem feel to this one. I'd almost expect Billie Holliday to be standing at the microphone in a smoke-filled jazz hall singing this one. I absolutely love the sudden switch in the back ground weave at 3:50--tossing an almost-Russian element into the song. (8.75/10)

10. "Grumpelstiltskin's Jig" (3:31) cello warms up before launching the band into a traditional sounding contra dance. Violin and flutes trade the lead through the first half, but then it gets dark and dreary in the middle "intermission." Again I feel as if I'm being immersed into some very dark Eastern European musical traditions. Luckily, it returns to the upbeat jig for the final minute. (8.5/10)

11. "Circle Song" (5:05) sounding much more like a Moulettes song--like the shantie styles of their first album: the presentation and arrangements are just more theatric than the more "traditional" forms, the lyrics more intellectual and multi-dimensional. (9/10)

12. "Blood And Thunder" (8:01) opening with some mood-setting effects and sounds, the musical palette is almost bluegrass before the vocals enter. Effects used on the vocals reveal an attempt to tell a kind of detective mystery. Again, this is The Moulettes at their finest. Banjo and squealing violin are quite prominent trhougout as the vocals and effects give this quite a familiar MEDIÆVAL BÆBES feel. (13.5/15)

Total time 56:30

The sound engineering on this album is so phenomenal that it just feels like such a treat to be allowed to be present among these musicians (for that is truly the feeling of the headphones experience). While many of the songs represented here are absolutely stunning creations, I feel that the album is a bit too scattered in its sounds and styles. On their debut, The Moulettes established a kind of forma and style that now feels like their truest style, the sound that is their destiny, but here the band tries to "branch out" into other, often simpler styles--which, to my mind, is almost demeaning to the potentialities of this creative crew. I like it much better when The Moulettes are The Moulettes for there is now one else out there like them, no music so fascinating and impressive. While mega kudos are again in order for Hannah and the gang's creative arrangements and precision performances, I'd like to add a special shout out to violinist/violist Georgina Leach for her meteoric rise in confidence and virtuosity.

A-/five stars; a masterpiece of Prog Folk music and a highly recommended addition to any prog lover's music collection. This band may be the finest Prog Folk band I've ever heard.

 Moulettes by MOULETTES album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 12 ratings

BUY
Moulettes
Moulettes Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Part CARDIACS, part MEDIÆVAl BÆBES, part cabaret/SHEN TEH, these uber-talented story-tellers burst onto the scene with this debut album of intricately arranged shanties and more.

1. "Recipe For Alchemy" (2:57) is this jazz, cabaret, or folk music? It's definitely got an old, traditional, theatric feel to it. The instrumental and vocal performances are so tight, so intricate, and performed with such smooth precision! And the arrangements are so fresh! I'm quite stunned. If I were a lyrics guy I'd probably be even more blown away. (9/10)

2. "Cannibal Song" (3:28) another rollicking sea-shanty like composition. (8.5/10)

3. "Wilderness" (3:29) multiple cellos actively playing beneath intricately harmonized vocals. (8.75/10)

4. "Devil Of Mine" (6:17) intricate mutli-voiced harmonies dramatically singing/telling a story with chamber strings weaving beneath. Wow! What an intricate arrangement! (check out the wild choreographed video on YouTube!) (8.75/10)

5. "Horses For Hearses" (3:01) the first song whose arrangement falls a little flat (or, perhaps more accurately, fails to live up the the standards established by the previous songs). (8.5/10)

6. "What A Way To Spend A Day" (5:13) opens with solo cello playing something sad and ponderous. Joined by a second cello, and then violin and field military snare drum, it takes 75 seconds to establish the foundation for this one. The vocals, once entered, are very interesting for their gradual and sometimes weaves--and for the "open" chorale chorus (like they're in a bar). Such a dramatic song. What creative vision! (9.25/10)

7. "Requiem" (feat. Emma Richardson [Band Of Skulls]) (6:46) opens with solo cello before morphing into a brilliantly arranged mood-setting 100 seconds of syncopated patterning. When the surprisingly smooth MEDIÆVAL BÆBES- like vocals enter, their story is clear while it is the instruments that tell the more interesting story. There is a shift in the fourth minute before solo vocalist Emma Richardson takes the lead. Her voice seems much more "normal" mundane than the choir-like crystalline voices of Hannah and Ruth (who continue to dazzle in their background harmonizing capacity). The bassoon is a cool addition. There is another shift for the instrumental section in the fifth minute--which meanders and morphs in several directions over the sixth and seventh minutes before the chorus of voices enters for the "big finish." Great song! (14/15)

8. "Talisman" (4:06) a jazzed up sea shanty. (8.75/10)

9. "Bloodshed In The Woodshed" (feat. Modernaire) (4:50) a theatric song of female love spurned or scorned--and the vengeful thoughts and actions thereafter. Part expression of anger and injustice, part sympathetic dirge. What genius! What talent! (9.25/10) - 94.25

10. "Going A' Gathering" - silence - "untitled song" (11:29) this is not really an eleven and a half minutes long prog epic, it's more like two normal folk pop songs joined by a long gap of silence. The first (4:35) sounds more like THE ANDREWS SISTERS than any other song on this album--making it once of the more brilliant vocal performances on an album full of breathtaking vocal performances. (9/10) Then there is three and a half minutes of silence before sounds of a couple members of the band picking up their instruments and then starting to play a slow sad song with hannah singing the plaintive lead while Ruth vocalises "ooo"s in the background with two cellos and a violin. (8.5/10)

Video - "Devil Of Mine" - awesome! Well worth checking out.

Total time 48:34

While this is not my favorite kind of music or folk music, I definitely and fully appreciate the talent in composition, vision, and performance that it takes to pull together songs like these! The vocal arrangements and performances are alone worthy of raves and adulation--are reminiscent of by-gone days and groups like The Andrews Sisters. Mega kudos Hannah and Ruth! Bravo!

B+/4.5stars; while this may not be a masterpiece of progressive rock music, it is definitely a masterpiece of progressive folk music! So, perhaps not the essential choice for all prog music lovers, I would definitely consider this essential listening to all lovers of folk and Prog Folk music.

 The Bear's Revenge by MOULETTES album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.75 | 16 ratings

BUY
The Bear's Revenge
Moulettes Prog Folk

Review by JimC

5 stars The Moulettes in this incarnation are a predominantly acoustic five-piece, dominated by superb vocal harmonies, cello, bassoon and violin, with excellent support from the rhythm section. The album starts with a single lone high note followed by gentle picked guitar and melodic vocals. Then a bodhran picks up the rhythm for a repetition of the main theme, while the chorus is driven by punchy harmonies, drums, acoustic strumming and handclaps, ending with a low moody cello line. The rest of the song is marked throughout by weaving violin lines and other well-placed instrumental flourishes from the whole band - 'a symphony of colour and sound' as the song says, and pretty much setting the scene for the whole album. Other highlights include 'Uca's Dance', 'Songbird' and the wonderfully progressive 'Unlock The Doors' - one of the most exciting and energetic pieces I've heard in a long time.
Thanks to sean trane for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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