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United Bible Studies -  Porti Sepolti CD (album) cover


United Bible Studies


Prog Folk

3.00 | 1 ratings

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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.

TCat | 3/5 |


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