ALBUM: Ghost Bees – “Tasseomancy” 2008
BEST TRACKS: Sinai, Erl King
LISTEN TO IF YOU LIKE: ethereal folk, pagan folklore
If anyone reading this is a fan of Grouper, think about if Grouper was to make music similar to Agnes Obel or Joanna Newsome. Oh, and if Grouper obsessively wrote lyrics about pagan myths and sacrifice.
At any rate, the group now called Tasseomancy (based on the title of the album they released under the name, Ghost Bees), the sisters Sari Lightman and Romi Lightman produce some of the most lyrically intriguing modern folk. Their first album under Tasseomancy, Ulalume (2011) attained some significance in the underground music community as an experimental folk album dedicated to poems about death… but before that, they released “Tasseomancy” in 2008, and this is truly a hidden gem.
Some background on this Toronto based group: their great great grandmother was a Russian Jewish tea-leaf reader so the name “tasseomancy” and the album cover for this album are dedicated to her. In general though, their lyrics have an extreme pagan influence, with songs like Tear Tassle Ogre Heart with lyrics like “But god, I trace your guts and wear them as a beauty mark.” Tracks like Erl King refer to the legend of the “Erlkönig,” or king of the fairies (written by Goethe) about an anxious young boy who is lured by the fairy to be murdered. Some example lyrics from this track are “The gifts I could give to you, the wind and the wild river spring. Child, you’re beautiful, come quiet, come willing.” A truly disturbing, but remarkable track.
The vocals are just absolutely haunting on this album, both in terms of tone and lyrics. Certainly check out this album if you want to hear some folk music with dark under and overtones sung by two women who are great a capella performers as well as guitarists.
-ArtZoyd (Host of The Eclection)