Finally we have a new Mediaeval Baebes album! After a wait of three years they needed to come up with something pretty spectacular and they absolutely hit the mark with Mirabilis. It is one of the most beautiful, enchanting pieces of music I have ever heard. It really shows a progression in terms of songwriting and musicality. With the addition of two new members - Maple Bee and Emily Ovenden in the years since The Rose the Baebes have evidently managed to gel. Trovommi Amor is breathtaking and a month on Temptasyon still makes me want to cry with delight! All For Love of One has a thundering drumbeat and races along. What is really brilliant about the album is that you can hear every single members' voice and they've all contributed something aside from being part of the choir. Tam Lin transports you to the wilderness of Scotland and Return of The Birds lands you on a lush green verdant meadow. Another special mention must go to Away, which although incredibly simple and paired down is utterly gorgeous and sets off Audrey Evans voice perfectly. The general theme of seduction into another world and enchantment is brought off perfectly. No matter what kind of music you listen to buy this album.
As I walked home from work, with my just arrived copy of Mirabils waiting for me (compliments of Amazon.co.uk even though I live in Australia) I expected to be disappointed. Expect too much and disappointment follows. But I wasn't. I've just finished listening (at least for the first time but certainly not the last) to an exquisite album. The overall feeling that I got was 'silk-road'. I've listened to a few early music groups, eg Cantigas and Sirocco playing silk road music and the feel was the same. I can't help thinking of the TV series 'Monkey' - magical eastern stuff. The costumes on the album and the new website go some way to enhance that idea. The Baebes no longer sing about the divine and the other-worldly - they have crossed over and joined the faeries. I especially appreciated the show-casing of individual talents. Long have I wondered "who's who?" and this album addressed that issue very well. I was especially interested in songs that I know well from other artists. 'Scarborough Fair' is very well know from Simon and Garfunkel's version, and I am in fact trying to learn to sing it myself at the moment. I found the Baebes version, more in the style of some of the earlier versions, to be really interesting. As for "Tam Lin" (and I'm a huge fan of Sandy Denny and Fairport Convention") I found the Baebes version to be radically different and fascinating. A word of warning - I listened to the sound clips a couple of weeks ago and was a bit disappointed. But the whole deal is just so much better. I guess I should have realized from my experience with movie trailers - rarely do they convey what the movie is like. Summing up - a very sophisticated, beautiful album, which highlights individuals while maintaining the group cohesion which I have always felt to be such a wonderful feature of the Baebes.
I've never before felt compelled to write a review for Amazon but I've been lucky enough to have acquired a preview copy of 'Mirabilis', the new Mediaeval Baebes album. It's utterly sublime. The song-writing, performances and production are superb and it's clear that the group has matured - there's a sophisticated refinement to the material and a coherent identity to the sound. I saw the Baebes perform live last year and was charmed and captivated by the choir's melodies and harmonies but I didn't fully appreciate the complexity of their compositions. The new album showcases the girl's virtuosity, the songs are by turns; vibrant and dynamic; mournful and haunting; Temptasyon is sensationally ethereal with an amazingly cinematic scope to the soprano harmony. Previously, I would never have considered myself to be a fan but I'm now truly converted and I'm convinced that this album is going to be a huge hit. Ps. I've also heard a rumour that there'll be a video to promote the album; a mouth-watering prospect!
To use the words of one of the greatest female music icons Ms Siouxsie Sioux - "Following in the footsteps of a rag doll dance, we are entranced, Spellbound". This sums up the new Mediaeval Baebes album to a T, absolutely Spellbinding. Where as previous albums retained an earthy feel inspired by the seasons:- Salva Nos and The Rose both representing Winter,Worldes Blysse the Autumn, and Undrentide the summer, Mirabils sets its sights on the world not always seen,but often felt - the supernatural fringes. This is reflected in the glorious music. Although the Baebes are now down to 8 members a fuller and more confident sound has emerged. I did start to write this review with the aim of describing some of the songs but ive realised i cant, the songs hang around like mist on an early morning lake, swirling and dissipating before you eyes. Special mentions go to "Temptasyon", which is the most Etheriel moment in music (even beating Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights!), and the downright eerie "Tamlin" which tells of an encounter with the Fairie Queen whom promises to "Pull out both your eyes and give you eyes of stone" if caught on Halloween. Whats the bets Tim Burton will use this song in one of his gloomy epics!! The rendition of Scarborough Fair has to be heard to be beleived, and could even trouble the singles charts if it was given a single release. The album is probably best summed up by the playful and exhuberant "This worlde fareth as a fantasye" with its gorgeuos melodies and harmonies often soaring into the ether. There really isnt a duff moment on this album, and considering theres 18 tracks thats some acheivement. Its not stuffy and dry like most classical music, nor is it a group of (admittedly gorgeous) girls getting their "earthly charms" out to entice the men like female crossover groups like Bond. This music is new,fresh and exciting even though it draws on the past for its influences and lyrics. I urge you all to listen to the samples and follow your instincts by pressing the Order now button... i can guarantee none will come away disappointed.
I just heard all of the sound clips from Mirabilis. It is hands down the Baebes most gorgeous album to date. There's far more 'harmony',it is the group as a whole amorphous being and is achingly beautiful; an album that is more 'delicate' than any to date. I am enthralled. When I first heard Trovammi Amor I was slack-jawed gaping at my computer... I cried. Having all of the Baebes releases to date, I can honestly say I place Mirabilis well above them all (They are ALL fabulous in their own way, albeit more 'archaic') as the Baebes seem to have finaly found that near perfect unison that makes this album an otherworldly experience. A must have... La Femme Vendredi.
Next year the Baebes will celebrate their 10th year together and this album shows how they have gone from strength to strength.Although, now only 8 members , they are all talented musicians within their own right and this shows with the arrangements both vocally and instrumentally. If you want to be transported to a magical land then buy this album, because I can guarantee you be wanting a return ticket!
This album truly is musical/choral beauty unbound, from start to finish it is a veritable tapestry of ethereal delight with even more versatile texture and depth over their previous outings. I love all of their works but this album really plays the heart strings and immerses the listener in a new (old) world.
I can't really pick a favourite here as so many tracks stand out for me and each deliver something quite different from the next like the gently sound of `San'c Fuy Belha Ni Prezada' to the pounding rhythms in `For the Love of One' for example. There's also a beautiful version of `Scarborough Fayre' to be heard and without the Bæbes I think some of the beautiful arrangements they re-work would eventually be lost forever (well at least not Scarborough Fayre anyway).
If you're a fan and haven't yet purchased this offering I sincerely urge you to do so, and if you haven't yet heard the sweet sound of the Mediæval Bæbes you seriously can't go wrong making this album a first purchase, be prepared to fall in love with the enchanting harmonious sound of this superb album.
I believe there also now a DVD available from their site.
I've heard an advance copy of 'Mirabilis' and it's fantastic. The songs, the singing and the music are all beautiful and perfectly executed, with strong dynamics, and light and shade. None of the Baebes' established musical references are abandoned, but this album is also injected with fresh influences from folk and psychedelia. Without being too contentious, if Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane were making music in mediaeval England, it would sound something like 'Mirabilis'! For me, it's the best Baebes album so far as it adds a more mainstream appeal to their traditional mediaeval sound. Order it now.....you won't be disappointed.
"Mr Epstein you have a good business in Liverpool.We suggest you go back to it.Besides guitar groups are on the way out" Just how would Decca have viewed a group like the Medieaval Babes if they'd auditioned? Doing music which only existed in the furthest corners of the Classical field? Where the Carmina Burana was the nearest to the mainstream yet was music from World War 2. Of course since the Medieval Babes Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple has gone Medieval.Because its the New Thing and only need a TV ad to give it the final push.Same as the music of Hildegarde von Bingen