Two years on from their wonderful debut and Katharine Blake (Mediaeval Baebes, Miranda Sex Garden) and Michael York (Current 93, Coil, The Utopia Strong, Teleplasmiste) are back with their second album. Katharine provides Katharine Blake vocals, sopranino, descant and treble recorder and violin, Michael synthesisers, bagpipes, duduk, great bass recorder and electric guitar while they have also brought in Mediaeval Baebes multi-instrumentalist Charlie Cawood on lyre, gothic lap harp, zither, guzheng and taishogoto. There is one more guest in Catherine Gerbrands on musical saw while additional vocals are provided by Sarah Kayte Foster and Rosa Marsh (Blake’s youngest daughter).

I have long been a fan of Katharine’s vocals and know her albums are always going to be a delight as while there is room for improvisation and excitement with some artists, one knows that anything she is involved with has been planned and fretted over to ensure the end result is as close to perfection as possible. Katharine did not provide all the lyrics for the debut, but she has on this one, with tales of ritual sacrifice, parasitic aliens, the perpetual circle of life and much more. With her incredible range, clear diction and tonal quality one is drawn to everything she is doing but it is the backdrop being provided by Michael which enhances what is going on in the foreground and provides the support for it. There are times when the listener feels we are being drawn into something quite mystical, a world which exists just out of touch with reality and that the music is taking us into a realm where there is the promise not only of great joy but also of danger.

There are often times when it is just the two of them, and then others when Charlie is brought in to provide that additional source which takes us in a slightly different direction, asking us to reach further inside our minds. This demands to be played on headphones and for the listener to do nothing else but listen to the world being displayed within our ears, allowing ourselves to be taken on a journey from which awakening again the present day is quite a shock to the system.

Rating: 9/10