Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The One Two Bird And The Half Horse


SOMEWHERE INSIDE the beginnings of a leaf in a forest far away from things, lays cocooned a memory of a song not yet born. If you lean a gentle ear close enough, you might hear her name spoken. Orla Wren is a dream child, a smile before sleep, an old lullaby, an ache in the space between. And my Tui knows Orla Wren best of all.

I have waited a long while to tell you about his incredible creation, this work that has taken him in and out of quite some years, and now I can. The One Two Bird And The Half Horse is here.
I have watched over two years as these most intricate of outpourings grew. As Tui made and remade these twelve beautiful sound sculptures with infinite care, I learnt that his craft is like mine, but the hairs of his paintbrushes are the most delicate of violin notes, and his paint is birdsong, netted from the bedroom window at dawn. I have never known anyone so heartfelt about the work he does. And it is this heart-feeling that he weaves amongst the melodies he makes with many strange and wonderful instruments. There are zithers and whistles and bells and fiddles and erhus and Uzbek changs and fence-twangs and melodicas and accordions and beautiful voices from Georgia and Japan and France and Scotland and birds and clarinets and cellos and creaky chairs and sewing machines and flugel horns and Tibetan singing bowls and pianos and music boxes and children's songs. And all of these are taken like threads on a laptop-loom and woven, with a quite extraordinary ear for detail together.



Tui is often asked what kind of music he makes, and this is an almost impossible question to answer. For him nature is his cello string, whether it be to record the rain on the tin roof of an abandoned house, or place a microphone close by the pebbles shifting at the sea's edge. Together with these collected voices of wild instruments he weaves into a precisely chosen part of the tapestry small lines of melody, sometimes played by him, and sometimes imagined by him but sung in imaginary words by others. And then he listens, sometimes for days, inside the womb of the music, until he hears more chinks in the warp and weft, where he gently places a harmony made from electronically altered footsteps or the rustlings of something that could be moth wings. And then maybe he takes a whistle and plays just two more notes, long and barely there, and lays them, repeated like a playground song, two octaves away from where they started and bouncing from ear to ear, like a blanket over the whole music as if to tuck it into bed for the night.





The One Two Bird and The Half Horse is Tui's second album, and in his sphere (seemingly named "folktronica") Orla Wren is quietly rather successful. This beautiful work has received some eloquent and deserved praise already (a few here below), though it has only just been released, on the Japanese Flau label. I am enormously proud.


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It distils sublime wood smoke folk atmosphere and pointallist digitalis to the subatomic level, until it becomes effectively the same stuff that makes brooks babble and winds whisper. ~David Sheppard

A dream I would like to return to... ~Ben Eshmade

...these porcelain pirouettes are possessed and woven of a beautifully demurred tapestry that‘s all at once untamed and pure, not so much primitive but rather more natural, the melodies appear like daydreaming serenades, barely there, as though like flickering apparitions caught from the corner of the eye, willowy and fragile, partly hazy and blurred seemingly just out of focus, their free spirited timbres idyllically teased with an unreal arresting tenderness as they sway murmuring like woodland opines caught adrift upon a delicate breeze... ~The Sunday Experience

...au vu de la petite fille crayonnée qui sert de pochette, et à entendre la voix fébrile, haut perché, qui s’échappe des morceaux, vous allez penser qu’Orla Wren est une fragile petite fée, qui dépose ses disques discrètement sur le rebord de nos fenêtres... ~Delicious Scopitone

Les pattes craquantes des insectes s’occupent des percussions, tandis que les toiles d’araignées se tendent dans le vent pour vibrer doucement, harpes minuscules. ~Delicious Scopitone

... achingly lovely ... ~Boomkat


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I have been enormously privileged to see inside the making of such unique music.
And even more so to have my scratchy pencil drawings adorn the album sleeve, my flute and clarinet and accordion meanderings to be mixed into the music and be asked to tell an animated story around one of the tracks.
For many months I sat crouched in our Scottish attic moving tiny pieces of paper underneath a camera to tell the pencil-drawn tale of The Fish and The Doll. And here it is at long last.







There is another film on the album too... made by Tui from little snippets of film of my family and me when I was just five. These he has made black and white and layered with old photographs, and exploiting my Dad's original wobbly video camera technique, he has created a glimpsed evocation of childhood, half remembered, and half longed-for. The First Born Daughter of Water.







Both of these films are for tracks featuring the amazing vocals of Georgia born Russudan Meipariani. We do hope you like them.




Tui sees the world in a very beautiful way. Like me he always notices the outsider, the one who is innocent or old, who has known madness or has lines of sad experience etched around her eyes. Those who long to hold hands with these folk will hear what Tui is trying to say in his music. Orla Wren is for these people and about these people, and if you are one of them it is for you.
These songs are fragments of a yearning with no name. They will evoke in you a childhood, down amongst the grass blades, where it was once possible to find sunlight floating in a puddle and make stories for all tomorrow's mayflies.
The songs' names are as beautiful as their sounds, and you must listen to them alone, sitting by a tree or at the edge of a hill. Put the music right into your ears so that you can hear every lilt and scuttle, so that you can find that place in you where your tears began.








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Here are some places where Orla Wren can be found...

orlawren.com
orla wren on myspace
orla wren at flau
You can buy the album from cargo records here
sideways through sound (A psychedelic reverie of a radio station half way round the world who made The One Two Bird And The Half Horse the featured album on the show a few weeks ago.)
orla wren blog
orla wren at expanding records (the home of his acclaimed debut album Butterfly Wings Make)
& on street corners and village greens of Europe playing wonkily handmade instruments alongside my yet-to-be-made puppet theatre...

The lovely delicate photographs of frosty leaf, downy seed-head, foggy trees and moth-cocoon are Tui's too :)


65 comments:

Tess said...

I'm sitting here completely stunned: by the beauty of the music, the images, the lovely loving poetry of your words about Tui, and just the sheer technical brilliance and imagination of the two films, each very different. Absolutely amazing.

Heather said...

An exquisite post Rima. The little films are so dreamlike and simply delightful as are the wonderful photographs. You are such a talented couple and deserve all the recognition you can get.

mademoiselle G said...

Wow, this is just amazing...and so poetic!

Snippety Giblets said...

Lovely Rima ! You capture Tui's personality and music completely; still and calm, and yet so dynamic and energetic.

Curt pointed out that when he recently put his complete musical output on Last fm my comment on his blog was somewhat less complimentary :0) Hope you are ok leaking roof notwithstanding.

pRiyA said...

Rima everything in this post is magical, exquisite - your writing, Tui's gorgeous photographs, the animations and last but not least, the delicate music. I just have to go back and look through everything again....but then i do that for all your posts.

acornmoon said...

Hauntingly beautiful, a perfect alchemy of sound and form.

Owlfarmer said...

I am normally cranky, skeptical, and seldom really moved. Even less frequently do I find myself speechless, as I am now.

Thank you for posting this, Rima--and thanks to Tui for his craft. What a fortuitous pairing you have made, and we are all further fortunate that you share it with us.

The films and the music are remarkable.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Funny that we are both married to songwriters and musicians. It's a lovely life to live, isn't it? I send warm congratulations on the finished product! I do know what a wonderful feeling it is to finally have it out there!

threadspider said...

Thank you for this fabulous post Rima-I feel as if I have peeped into another, more lovely world.Good things to you and Tui.

Shelley Rickey said...

It's just gorgeous Rima. An incredible amount of work went into it i'm sure. It's enchanting.

fairiemoon said...

Tui's music and the images you have used to capture the feeling in it are both beyond beautiful! Words cannot express. I cannot wait to hear more! Thank you for sharing this little tidbit with us!

Erin

Erika said...

Such lovely music. I did indeed listen with tears in my eyes. I followed all the links looking for a way to purchase the album, but no luck. Flau was sold out. What do you suggest? I would like to be able to listen to this music all the time. Blessings!

Yoli said...

Your love and pride spills like clear water for this man. Beautifully said Rima and I will be purchasing this enchanting music.

Owen said...

What a beautiful, beautiful blog...

Owen said...

Or on second thought, perhaps what I meant to say was : What a beautiful, beautiful world you have created to blog about...

Allegra Smith said...

What balm for a bruised spirit, the story, the look, the sound.
You two were meant to be so long ago that I suspect you speak an unknown language, lost in time and found in beauty. The grace of sharing this is a gift of the spirit humbly taken to treasure in memories.

Night Owl said...

Just beautiful...........

Arija said...

Rima, you are a wonderful wordsmith as well as painter. What a heartfelt tribute to Tui and the essential being.
I hope I can come by a copy.

Liza said...

It's just so lovely that in this stressful, modern world, you two have crafted your own wonderful little haven and travel around, seeking pockets of beauty and creating the most amazing music and art to share. I admire you so much and always look forward to seeing what you've been doing.

Anaïs Goldemberg said...

The words, the picture, the videos... they are all amazing. And the music... it's fabulous. Thanks !

Kitty said...

For some reason I'm crying now; the music and art has been a rare pocket of beauty in a cold world.

Sarah said...

Hear hear!....missing you two! xx

Deb G said...

You have both created magic.

Ember said...

Oh WOW !!! This is so fab! I love the music, the pictures, the films, the animation, the concept, the titles - and I also love Rima's love and the pride in what Tui has made.

:0D

Vita said...

Rima this is absolutely stunning!
my whole family watched them with me and we all really enjoyed it. YOu are both wonder makers!

Jessie said...

The Fish and the Doll...I had tears.xx

Latreille said...

It's incredible... I'm only reading, reading with anticipation and already I feel an overwhelming wave of nostalgia come over me... I have a friend I like to call a musical prodigy, and I made her read this post. We both think the way Tui pulls out the music from the soul of the earth is inspiring.

beadbabe49 said...

Ethereal, mystical, magical....there just aren't any words that can truly describe your amazing works...but we do what we can with them...

Karen said...

Tui's music and your work compliment each other perfectly. Beautiful!
You were obviously made to be together :)
x

ruthie said...

oh my, rima & tui, as i sat & read & listened something moved within me. then i sat and i closed my eyes and i listened again, with the images running through my head and i felt myself step into that other place, a place i hadn't known yet recognised at once & knew as a friend ( if that possibly makes sense?) thank you for your perfectly formed magical works both of you x

BT said...

wow, how on earth do you make such wonderful things in such a tiny space? I love the artwork, the music, especially the animation film, it's so so beautiful, I hope it sells well for Tui and you.x

Jo James said...

DYlan and I sat here together watching your pencil-invented world and listening to the feastly music and marveling.
Thank you! And thanks to Tui too :)

Rima said...

Wow thank you all so much for your warm appreciation of this work :) We are smiling :)

As for getting hold of a copy, we have a few left if you email us quick.. or you can get it from cargo records here.
Thank you! x

Babur said...

Extremely sweet. Thank you.

John said...

This post is so absolutely beautiful. I come to The Hermitage when I want to enter an inspiring and magical world.

Anonymous said...

Rima, when I first encountered your work on this blog, I believed you had created a wonderful, magical world. Now, with the films and Tui's music, I know I was mistaken. It is a wonderful, magical, beautiful UNIVERSE the two of you have created, and I envy the people who meet you in real life. Also, I do not think it is possible to write more lovingly about another's work than you did in this sweet story about Tui's music. I hope to visit this extraordinary universe of yours many, many times.
Margaret

Clare W said...

Just a wonderful post and film. So inspiring and thought provoking....

giftsofthejourney said...

The Fish And The Doll is so lovely and both films have a haunting quality that's difficult to forget.

I so enjoy when you post...it's always thought provoking.

John asked me this morning after I told him to pop over to your place for a look if you two had found a place to rest your caravan while on the road or if you were still having issues. I told him to read your previous post. :)

Pam said...

You are gifted and blessed in your work and each other. You are indeed two very special people who so beautifully and humbly use these gifts.I am in awe of you both with such talent and goodness.Long may it continue dear Rima and Tui.Our world is better for it.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

The animation is so perfect, Rima!!!!
Congrats to Tui, gorgeous for the ears.

susan said...

Hello Rima and Tui,
My friend Laughing Wolf told me about your blog this morning after we'd been talking about Miyazaki's English countryside inspirations and I've been here for an hour's worth of sheer delight and amazement. Your horsebox house on wheels is magnificent as was the attic you left just last December. Unfortunately the music and video didn't download properly to my old favorite computer so I'll have to come back later with the newer one.
Essentially, I'm still British even though I've spent most of my life in Canada and the US. I'm also an artist whose main early influences were the 19th century illustrators. I once had to be dragged out of a rare exhibition of Edmund Dulac's original paintings.
Your work is wonderful as is your vision - both of you. I will return.

mademoiselle sand said...

the fish and the doll is such beautiful work. i feel lucky to have seen it; thankyou!

Barry said...

Absolutely a stunning post. The description was almost as lyrical as the music.

joanasoares said...

Thank you very much you both - Tui and Rima - for sharing so wonderful and gentle art. It seems to me that couldn`t be more connected, such wonderful and perfect harmony between your drawings and Tui`s music.
I wish you both all the best.

Melanie said...

Congratulations to both of you. It must be such a relief for the music to be finally out there with the videos. The fish one Rima is a gorgeous story.

heidiburton said...

I absolutely love Orla Wren, such beautiful music! Your animation is stunning, gorgeous pencil-work, it must have taken a very very long time, and how splendid to collaborate with a loved one :)

Jericho said...

very amazing video! i like your stop motion animation!

Nao said...

Beautiful Post Rima~

You and Tui weave magic together.

Deeply inspiring.

Chrisy said...

oh my...just wonderful...thank you...

Mokihana and Pete said...

You and Tui make such marks ... thank you both for your examples, your sensibilities gentle and sensitivities healing tonic to the rush to be heard.

Aloha, Mokihana

Graceful Moments said...

Lovely music, lovely videos. Just a big of sadness and longing. Like when you see a beautiful tree in the spring and it makes you feel like you've been with that tree in a better place. I think I am one of those people for whom this music was made. Thank you.

Carolee said...

I've spent the last hour or so listening, and watching...Delicate and exquisite. You have every reason to be proud of Tui, and he of you...

Thank you both for sharing your gifts. :)

~ Carolee

mama p said...

moved to silence...
so grateful that i've been so lucky to know of you both through this little screen of mine.
joy to both of you-

mixdbrew said...

I've never, ever encountered people like you guys in my life. It seems like some parallel universe with so much beauty, love and peace...devoid of all of a human's ugly traits. How could you have built this cocoon within this chaotic world??!!? It baffles me!

Your sketches for Tui's album are so whimsical, light and floating, yet so grounded. I love the melancholic expressions and the delicate hands and feet. The pictures are a window to your soul. You guys...never cease to amaze me!

erin gergen halls said...

since you posted this poetic and swooning description of orla wren, i have been shooing, pushing, begging, charming, herding, cajoling, and insisting to everyone i know and meet to gather at the place where tui stands, so that he may blow softly on his flute and lead us all, as the ethereal pied-piper he is, to the place where orla wren waits to pull us into her mysteries.

i am there, holding my breath, afraid that in letting it out just even one tiny fragment of sound will miss my ears.
i am there, though, absorbing every nuance and enchantment. the map was somewhere in the music, and i am there!! huzzah!

Pam said...

Hi Rima.Tried to email you but had difficulty finding an address. Just wanted to say I came across some artwork I think you would like at http://www.felixgirard.com/

Aileen Clarke Crafts said...

So incredibly beautiful, creative, imaginative, evocative and clever. A visit to your hearth never fails to uplift and inspire : )

Threadhead said...

I don't know tha I can comment, for words are not enugh..for there is ebauty on this film. of drawing, of cinematography, and of souls taht have clealy wrapped around me as I watched through a tear or two

Ulla said...

Dearest Rima! How I adore your little passage into a fairytale childhood... and Tui's version is completely enchanting... What dreams the 2 of you must create together in your 'castle on wheels'.
Mermaid kisses,
Ulla

Aly Beth said...

That top picture could have been the cover to Sleepy Hollow. It was chilly and beautiful!

~Aly

Ciara said...

Oh Rima.

I have had this post open on my computer for days, stunned and dazed and completely at a loss, looking for words that simply are not in my scope, words that could in some small way respond to words of such beauty and love and delight and pride.

The world you two have created, you bring alive with your words and pictures, and now sounds. And I am richer these last two years for finding this little peephole into it.

I am heartened. I am reassured. I am soothed.

For the world to have two like you, can only mean the sun is a little brighter, the green a little greener, and the air a little sweeter.

And all the more because you share it so generously.

Thank you. From my heart.
C x

Kat_RN said...

Wow, love your little video about the fish and the doll. His music and your work go perfectly together. Thanks you oh so much for sharing.
Kat

Ben said...

Well done to you both, sincerely. True greatness and conviction abound. The music of oRLA wREN is sublimely enchanting. At times the softer side of Bjork and maybe faintly reminicent of some of Radiohead's work on Kid A, but at all times unique and original. I have purchased the CD from Cargo Records and am listening to it here while I type this note. Wonderful! And you Rima have such talant for words and pictures. It surely is a funny old world where talent like both of yours exists with such grace and beauty in relative obscurity and scant financial reward when a lot of the famous rich people in the world flaunt themselves around with very little talent or skill to warrant their status. Love your wonderful wooden wagon by the way. I am very impressed!

Ben

a fanciful twist said...

Rima, I ordered a copy last week from Cargo records and received it very quickly.

I have no words to express the voyages Tui's music has taken me on. I am transported through his sonic masterpiece and the incorporations of others voices and sounds...

Hauntingly beautiful on every level. Thank Tui for sharing such a gift with the universe.

Your video is music in itself, moving art on papers, to create such a vast sense of feeling... I stare at your cover drawings lit by the moon as I listen under the night sky...

I could go on and on, but I shall stop for now, and simply offer a sincere thank you to both of you really...

Warmly, Vanessa Valencia

Cold.Fire said...

You have such an unforgettable way with not only words, but art as well. Never stop either (: