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It’s been little over a year since we last heard from the breathtaking Hollie Fullbrook and the Tiny Ruins crew. The band’s second full length Brightly Painted One was well received, and rightly so. Haunting melodies and deeply involved lyricism marked Tiny Ruins as one of the best acts to harness the power of dark folk. After spending the time since that release touring non-stop, Fullbrook has teamed up with Hamish Kilgour for their collaborative EP Hurtling Through.
Expansive, experimental and exciting. The E’s have it, Tiny Ruins and Hamish Kilgour have delivered and exceptional piece of folk on Hurtling Through.
Kilgour is an accomplished muso in his right. He was a founding member of Kiwi band The Clean with his brother David in 1978, and later made the move to the Big Apple to form a new band The Mad Scene in the early 90s. It was in New York where Fullbrook and Kilgour first met, playing a couple of shows together back in 2013. On Fullbrook’s final day in the city the pair recorded two songs together with engineer and producer Gary Olson, in a basement no less.
When Fullbrook returned to New York a year later the threesome reunited to record four more tracks that would form the collaborative EP Hurtling Through, a record that used W.B. Yeats poems on Tread Softly and field recordings of spoons on rails. Fullbrook has referred to the recording of the EP as ‘Ad hoc’, with the musicians recording what they could together and then adding to it when they thought of new things later.
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“Hamish worked on washes of percussion & was an inventive force throughout,” Fullbrook says. “At one stage he went and nabbed Gary’s wind chimes from out the front of the house to add to the mix. When I’d returned home to New Zealand, I recorded some cello parts and the odd backing vocal, which Gary wove into the mixes.”
Listening to it there is a distinct flavour to this record that makes it subtly different to what we’ve heard from Tiny Ruins in the past. Yes, Kilgour’s influence is palpable, his willingness to use any and all sounds available to him shines vividly. It pushes Fullbrook’s dark melodies to their peak. Take title track Hurtling Through. Those wind chimes Kilgour nabbed are used here, giving the dark narrative a gorgeous dreamy quality, especially when paired with the wailing slide guitar and cello.
The off-the-cuff nature of their recording has instilled the music with a raw edge, in comparison to the more patient and grounded folk of Brightly Painted One. Even if you’re not a fan of folk, this record is the kind that can convert disbelievers into fans. Tiny Ruins just wrapped up a quick tour of Australia, but be sure they will be back soon.