what comes over here is the personality
and panoramic musical vision of a wonderful,
restless spirit, hopping from mood to mood
like the rabbits she loves

One voice plus acoustic stringed instrument is one of the oldest musical combinations on the planet, used by anyone from troubadours to aural insurrectionists to create a mood or tell a story since time immemorial. Having delved with vengeful passion into a variety of musical styles since the early 90s, Nina Walsh has now alighted on this most basic of forms, using it to construct her own unique world in a hallucinogenic bed of subtle electronic undergrowth and insidious melodic flourishes.

Although Nina started her musical journey with four years learning Spanish guitar at the age of 13, it’s a bit of a contrast to her recorded debut as a member of the Rabettes, a one-off tribal techno project which made one 12-inch called Bunny New Guinea-Pig, released on Sabrettes, the label she started as a sister imprint to Andrew Weatherall’s legendary Sabres of Paradise, which she co-ran. After overseeing a barrage of seminal techno on both labels, Nina formed a big beat sleaze assault called Slab with Lol Hammond from the Drum Club, who released two albums on Hydrogen Jukebox. She then appeared on two tracks on The Orb’s Cydonia album [Ghost Dancing & Plum Island], more recently participating in the Rootmasters project with Dr Alex Paterson.

This album is her most personal yet, both intimate and other-worldy, underpinned with a gamut of emotions and a healthy dose of Nina’s humour. The haunting Sweetest Cure wafts in on a bed of flutey tones intertwining with Nina’s guitar and classically-trained Audrey Riley’s cello, one of the album’s defining sounds. The psychedelic undertow of this track, appealingly-vulnerable love song Sail and gorgeous Maybe [complete with gargling rabbit chorus and theremin-like melodies] recall anything from 60s underground acid-folk mavericks like Pearls Before Swine to the log-cabin confessionals of Bon Iver as gentle melodies sigh and fizz in the distance while Nina displays her deceptively-strong, lived-through voice.

Storms, sung with Gareth Thomas, conjures an autumnal feel with Audrey’s cello and subtle electronic swells, somewhat recalling John Cale’s work with Nico in the late 60s. Reference points can be a bit silly but this album does evoke some of that period’s overlooked but highly-influential artists. I Believed In You is another atmospheric soundscape topped with eerie sci-fi melodies and heavily-treated vocals, a disembodiedly beautiful feel continued in the deep cello heaves and subtly-shifting electronic melodies of Narcissist. Changing mood again, Bright Lights And Filthy Nights is a catchy, lyrically-poignant slice of urban folk, then offset by the mischievous whoopee of Love Leech, helped by Max Garrett. One of the highlights is Industrial Folk, a collaboration with Spooky’s Charlie May which charts similar hallucino-folk terrain to Tim Buckley’s Goodbye And Hello with its shimmering textures and marimba tones.

After the brief, John Fahey bounce of No Deliverance, the defiant, spirit-hoisting Strong steams in, boasting an air-punching chorus which would be a worldwide smash if Oasis had done it [coming with whirring swamp-gas bonus remix]. Finally the gentle Goodnight My Sweet, sends the album out on a rippling bed of swirling textures and baroque subtleties.

You can buy Bright Lights and Filthy Nights HERE.