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Rose Kemp:
Golden Shroud

Album Review

Silence is... oh, wait, no it’s not.

The daughter of Maddy Prior and Rick Kemp from folk legends Steeleye Span, Rose Kemp’s musical education began early, singing with her parents’ band during live performances.

Unsurprisingly, there’s been a strong traditional element to Kemp’s own solo work in the intervening years, but the singer-songwriter has allowed herself to travel down some far darker avenues of self-expression. With two of its three tracks clocking in at over the 15-minute mark, Golden Shroud is a dense, hypnotic and powerful meditation on strange rituals and stranger catharsis. 

Quite what Kemp is purging from her soul is unknown, but as she chants, shrieks and hollers on Black Medik II like an arcane PJ Harvey cast onto a lake of Neurosis fire, her unconventional invocations offer few get-out clauses for the listener. 

Like Diamanda Galas, Jarboe or Mediaeval Baebe Melpomeni, Kemp isn’t afraid to sound ugly – either with her voice or the agonizing, grimy chords she wrings out of her guitar – you’re either in for the full epic, weighty journey or out, ears taped over. If you even think you have a choice, that is.

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