Album: Gwyneth Herbert, All the Ghosts, (Naim Edge)

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The Independent Culture

Another step away from the showbiz ledge, towards which an early signing to a jazz major once edged her.

This is art-song contrived around a small acoustic ensemble which might, on other days, play jazz. But it isn't jazz. What is it? Well, it's mordantly English; it's largely narrative; and it's elaborate in the way that handbags can be but simple in the way they are simple. (The basic function is always legible.) If Hanns Eisler had been a woman and written with Ray Davies, he might have come up with something like this.