Meg Baird, Best Fwends, Hrsta, Fortdax Reviewed

on Monday, 10 September 2007
Meg Baird, Best Fwends, Hrsta, Fortdax Reviewed

Posted on 2007.09.10 at 20:01

Current Music: Fortdax, Fortdax, Fortdax

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Right now, I’m working my way through Meg Baird's wonderful Dear Companion, a higly enjoyable collection of tracks from the Espers female vocalists. If you’re familiar with Espers you will know of Megs honeyed vocals, soaring and high, not a million miles from those that grace albums by the likes of Fairport Convention, Pentangle and even Vashti Bunyan though much stronger.

A more recent comparison would be Charalambides Christina Carter, Sharon Krauss or Saint Joans Ellen McGee. Lovely folk music with lovelier titles “The Waltze Of The Tennis Players” “Riverhouse In Tinicum” swaying occasionally into full on Celtic folksiness such as on the very traditional Sweet William And Fair Ellen. It’s not the Espers but it’ll more than suffice whilst we await a new album.



Meg Baird - Waltze of the Tennis Players MP3

Best Fwends – Alphabetically Arranged (Moshi Moshi)
I’ve been familiar with Best Fwends for some time, in fact their track Ninja Turdle pretty much opened up every compilation made during 2006. Here they treat us to a massive 29 tracks alphabetically arranged as the title would suggest PLUS an additional five remixes.

I imagine Best Fwends to be a pair of snotty nosed punk kids who had the good fortune of stumbling over a DAT Politics album one day and as such decided to break into the Tigerbeat 6 headquarters stealing Kid 606s laptop and still finding time to sift through ten years of Smash Hits taking in depth notes as to what to makes a feel good radio friendly tune whilst remaining undeniably cooler than anything ever printed on those pages.

The Crystal Castles full frontal heavy electro attack of Diet Coke Head, the pre pubescent Numbers sounding Dump in the Dark, the ultimate going out feelgood tune Earth, Fwend, Fire, the Printed Circuit pop Greetings to You, the supermarket nintendo pop of Skate or Live, the “if Erase Errata was a game for the gameboy” riot of Ultimate Teem, stand out but all in all you will not disappointed in anyway by the latest of a string of great releases by Moshi Moshi.

Moshi Moshi


Hrsta – Ghosts Will Come and Kiss Our Eyes (Constellation)
Haunting songs that meander through drone, rock, and space. Hrsta are at their best when they drag songs out, removing all life from them, then, such as in Hechicero del Bosque when at six minutes you think the best has past, they somehow manage to resurrect the song from nowhere full of screams blended into guitars drenched in feedback and delay, it’s a beautiful couple of minutes.

Saturn of Chagrin similarly is a haunting chorale that evokes haunted houses and nights spent alone in cold empty houses with creaking floor boards, uneasy and unsettlingly. There is a spoken word sample just quiet enough for you to not be able to make it out, but loud enough for you to strain your ears in hope of making out a word or two as you grip your bed sheets tighter by the second. Kotori likewise is soaked in terror and apocalyptic drones and could possibly be the finest Hrsta moment yet.

And yet amidst the fear and remorse Hrsta are quite capable of producing sixties Kaledoscope-like ballads such as Holiday, mediaeval and beautiful in appearances and at points you’d almost call it singalong.




Hrsta - Folkways Orange (live) MP3

Hrsta - Swallows Tail MP3

Rest in Peace...Fortdax

Those familiar with the paper zine that bore this name will be aware of my fondness for a certain electronic genius going by the alias of Fortdax. Although the final album Divers didn't quite do it for me (with the exception of a few stunning tracks, how could I not mention The Pheasants Eye!) Fortdax has graced our lives with some of the most lovely music you'll set your ears on, music box delights that twinkle against rubbery basslines and at times glorious, angelic choirs.

The At Bracken mini album boasted the lovely understated and near perfect yet simply named (as yet untitled) , such a modest statement in minimalism and the ability to capture a moment in song, and yet better was to come with the split release on the sadly missed earworm label with Roircat and EU who to be honest needn't have bothered showing up. The track W.H. Coder was such a masterpiece of beauty, glimmering like ice falling, it had a certain Edward Scissorhands feel to it, the scene where he carves the ice sculpture, a tragic beauty, a lonely misunderstood beauty and best of all a hope inspiring beauty, an ability to catch "that moment" in time in sound, a rare talent.

And who could forget the 2003 masterpiece Folly, an exceptional album featuring some of the most lovely collaborations to grace my ears with Acid Mothers Temple singer Cotton Casino, the descriptions of exceptional and breathtaking would be well considered as understatements if not insults...

Fortdax was magic and we'll always cherish his music.Luckily he's been kind enough to dish out a free archive of everything except the two full length albums at the following links...treat yourself, you would be stupid not to...all the best Fortdax and thanks again.'s where the story ends.
after an enormous delay, the FortDax archive is finally ready. it comprises three seperate FREE downloadable bundles of mp3 files plus a mini-site (included) that covers almost everything* aside from the two full-length albums. the archive contains, amongst other work, the very first digital appearance of 'at bracken', a previously unheard remix of 'as yet untitled' by piano magic, the original version of 'fortune-telling fish' and a host of unreleased material...
FortDax archival part 1:
- 'unreleased' (11 previously unavailable tracks) (2001-2005)
- 'at bracken' (mini-album) (2002)
- 'like cream inside your spine' (7" single) (2001)

FortDax archival part 2:
- 'bbc radio 1 session' (john peel show) (2004)
- 'remixes'
- 'witch hazel tales' (split cd) (2001)
- 'van84' (cd single) (2005)

FortDax archival part 3:
- full FortDax live set inc. 4 otherwise unrecorded tracks (2006)

*does NOT contain the albums 'folly' (2003) and 'divers' (2006), the radio 3 'mixing it' session from 2006 and my remix of nathan fake's 'you are here'.
although copyright remains in all of the material, please feel free to distribute any of it as you see fit.

i'm indebted to my webmaster jeff keibel for his help & support throughout the archival project, which is hosted via .

my own notes and feelings about the material can be found within the mini-site, so i shan't go into detail here, but this is essentially my parting gift to you all. we'll catch up soon, although i'll have a different set of identities by then. thank-you very much for your support throughout what was FortDax.

as ever, take very good care.
darren durham, 'FortDax' (2001-2006)