United Bible Studies return to Deep Water with what may be one of the crowning achievements of their ongoing musical journey. Since 2001 the Ireland/UK-based experimental folk ensemble has explored sounds ranging from traditional balladry to avant-garde noise; and while “So As To Preserve The Mystery” features plenty of the haunting vocal melodies and collective improvisation for which the group is known, it also rises beyond any genre and stylistic limits via an extended compositional logic that feels both centuries old and brand new. Alchemically marrying lo-fi psychedelic drones with sweeping orchestral arrangements, poetic folk song and classical structures; all in support of heartfelt paeans to nameless gods, apocalyptic requiems for the new/old world, and an overwhelming sense of wonder at the natural beauty of Éire and the Western Isles; this is United Bibles Studies at their transcendent finest. Seven tracks, 40 minutes.
Released by Deep Water Acres / dwacres.com
“There is something in the much maligned dirge that somehow breathes life, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, that I find truly spiritually uplifting. The yearning quality to this music is in my blood, and never fails to stir the echoes of my ancestral sea-faring past.”—Chromaticism
“Readers of the Terrascope should need no introduction to the musical collective known as United Bible Studies. Since 2001 they have been creating music that is haunting, melancholic, psychedelic, filled with folk melodies and laced with exquisite drones. On this, their latest album, the energies are aligned perfectly, the result an astonishing collection of tunes that creep into your soul making it difficult to listen to anything else once you have heard it.” — Terrascope
“Across a career that has more highlights than this famously ever-shifting line-up has had members, United Bible Studies remain eminently capable of the one thing that ambient, experimental, atmospheric neo-folk ought to have: the ability to surprise. And keep surprising. It is that which keeps people returning to their catalog, long after other bands in similar fields had either given up or fallen out; that which ensures their latest, ‘So As To Preserve the Mystery’ effectively does exactly what it says on the cover. It preserves the mystery.” — Goldmine Magazine
“The album is described as 'in support of heartfelt paeans to nameless gods, apocalyptic requiems for the new/old world, and an overwhelming sense of wonder at the natural beauty of Éire and the Western Isles' and it succeeds admirably in its quest. Quite simply this is one of the best albums I've heard not just this year but in a long while. A beautiful sadness and nostalgia permeates the album and it is an incredibly powerful listen, despite its relative finesse and gentleness. There are not many acts who can conjure such wild, open landscapes in their music, with such emotive impact and sensitivity, yet United Bible Studies do this time and again. Essential.” — The Active Listener
“A chameleon-like mutability, natural and very fluid, represents the characteristic trait of the entire work... a visionary mix of folk and drone... more lucid and engaging than ever... deeply meditative stories and places of a lost time … ” — Music Won't Save You
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