Thursday, 22 August 2013

Pondman - In Between (2002)

In Between album cover (section of painting ‘Barclodiad y Gawres I’ by Mary Lloyd Jones)

Fiona and Gorwel Owen have been central figures in the Welsh music scene for around 35 years, through their own music with Sgidia' Newydd, Eirin Peryglus and Plant Bach Ofnus as well as their invaluable contribution to the likes of Datblygu, Super Furry Animals, Igam Ogam, Ectogram, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Rheinallt H Rowlands, Pop Negatif Wastod, Ffa Coffi Pawb, Cut Tunes, Vaffan Coulo, Fflaps and many, many others who had passed through their legendary Ofn studios in Rhosneigr and Llanfaelog.

In 2002, they released an album under the name Pondman that stood in stark contrast to their previous pioneering electronic work, comprising as it did, a selection of beautifully arranged subtle low-key acoustic songs. In Between saw Gorwel forsaking his trusty mini-Moog and Akai S3000XL in favour of the more pastoral tones of the acoustic guitar, weaving a delicate lattice around Fiona's ethereal and richly poetic voice. An all-star cast of guests helped out on the album, including Wales' leading exponent of the ancient crwth, Cass Meurig, noted jazz double bassist Owen Lloyd Evans and various members of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci.

Pondman live: L to R: John Lawrence, Fiona Owen, Cass Meurig, Gorwel Owen (photo: Gwion Llwyd)

The record was released on the couple's own independent label Yamoosh! and immediately drew enthusiastic reviews:

‘Suitably for people whose operations are so out of the trend-loop, this is a deeply, often thrillingly unique record’ – Noel Gardener / Honk
‘This is a fantastic album. In Between is full of beautiful pastoral melodies and feedback/drone sun-drenched backing’ – Wil Williams / SNOG Online
‘Creadigol ac ysbrydoledig’ – Catrin Dafydd, Golwg
‘Strange goings on in deepest Wales, extemporised pastoral psychedelia’ – Taplas
'Imaginative, low-key and finely judged … always beautiful and sometimes profound’ – Malcolm Lewis / Planet

There was a six year wait for the follow up Spring Always Comes, for which the couple retired the Pondman name, crediting it simply to Fiona and Gorwel Owen. The album was well worth the wait and every bit as good as In Between. More recently, they recorded a session for Adam Walton's excellent Radio Wales show in 2012, which can be heard here.

Fiona and Gorwel have now decided to make In Between available to stream for free, so check it out below and if you like what you hear, maybe buy a physical copy or/and Spring Always Comes from Palas Print, Spillers or Sadwrn.


In Between (Yamoosh! 2002)

1. Miss A
2. Birdcage
3. Passers-By
4. Note Under A Stone
5. Let Me Be Still
6. When It Rained
7. All Things Wish To Fly
8. Black and Gold
9. Always Intending
10. Being Poemed
11. Fire Ballad
12. When We Danced,
13. In Between.

Fiona and Gorwel Owen with guests: Cass Meurig, John Lawrence, Owen Lloyd Evans, Peter Richardson, Megan Childs, Euros Childs, Euros Rowlands, Rob Mackay, Idris Morris Jones.

hear it here

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