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In case you missed it: Aurelia, The Hour of the Wolf

Aurelia
The Hour of the Wolf
[Home Records (2010)]

Although Home Records is little-known in North America, the label from Liège, Belgium is well worth exploring. With a catalog that lists over six dozen titles, they’ve shown remarkable panache. Quite apart from the attractive packaging, the label’s releases have been, for the most part, quite consistent in both quality and originality. It’s admirable that they release so much good music that seems so difficult to categorize for marketing purposes. Aurelia is a good case in point. The group is an experimental folk trio that consists of Aurélie Dorzée (violin, vocals), Tom Theuns (guitars, vocals, piano, harmonium, banjo, electronics, sitar), and Stephan Pougin (drums and percussion). As for the title of the group’s third release, The Hour of the Wolf is the hour just before dawn, the hour when sleep is at its deepest and when dreams and nightmares are most real. It’s also the hour when death most commonly occurs.

The music on The Hour of the Wolf runs the gamut from mysterious to slightly whimsical. The unifying thread from track to track seems to be a certain degree of serendipity. And yet, as with so many other titles on the Home label, Aurelia’s music manages to be highly inventive while still remaining quite accessible to open-minded listeners. The disc ends with the playful “La Mazurka du Chat,” while the penultimate track is a stunning eight-minute rendition of Schubert’s “Ellen’s Gesang,” otherwise known as “Ave Maria,” that features guest singer Laure Delcampe.

—Paul-Emile Comeau (Comeauville, NS, Canada)

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