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Peake - EP Review: Fearne

04 Dec 2019 // A review by Mike Alexander

I have been a fan of Marigold Music ever since they released their first album, Traces’ Monuments To Souls in 2015. It came with little fanfare and their website reveals little about who is behind the label but, from what I can gather, it’s the "love child" of Chris Van de Geer, a two-time Tui winner with Stellar*,and Joost Langeveld, who some may recall was the bass player for Strawpeople, among other bands. They’ve both gone on to make a huge impact as “creatives” on the other side of the industry in advertising, album engineering and production, so it doesn’t surprise that they have been the ears behind albums by the likes of the aforementioned Traces, Arli Lieberman and Levi Patel, all of whom have released music that has made my “best of's” list since 2015. Peake is their latest 'discovery'.

In typical self-effacing style, I only found out about Peake through my Facebook feed. Her EP Fearne is out now – and ready for your ears”. It seems, also, as if Peake (who does actually have a Christian name - Gabrielle) is equally as modest, as, at the time of writing this review she had yet to announce her 'Peake experience' on social media, or, at least Facebook.

Fearne is a rarity in New Zealand music – a solo piano EP, that’s not drawn from re-workings of the classical cannon, and therefore has few reference points. More power to it. It’s an astonishing delight and would be equally at home on one of my favourite overseas labels Erased Tapes, who have delivered us the 21st century piano reveries from the likes of Peter Broderick, Matthew Bourne and Nils Frahm.

I am not qualified to critique Peake on her technique but, as is often the case, with any instrument, you can have all of the virtuoso in the world and still lack soul. Suffice to say, Peake has the skills that might fool the unstudied ear but has the touch and feel that no academic could ever dream to envisage.

Fearne comprises of four tracks – Felt, Colour Fade Away, Fearne and Adieu – and it is the musical equivalent of falling in love and being intimate with someone for the first time. Felt, searches -a touch here and there, notes exploring, questioning, opening, enfolding. Colour Far Away is delicate and gentle, soft, at times swelling with a light intensity not too coloured with emotion and yet fully informed by it. The tile track unfolds with more imagined intention. There’s an assuredness to it, a familiarity that’s as reflective as a life that been well lived but as refreshing and graceful as the perspectives that come from those very same realisations. And then there is Adieu, the more familial French word for goodbye. It does speak of loss in some ways but more the kind that’s gained from those experiences in your life when you were awakened by something new and unexpected but understood deep down that while they have found a passageway into your life they are not permanent, no matter how much you want to hold on tight to them.

If music has a voice that speaks to the soul, then Fearne is another one of its many gifts.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )


Year: 2019
Type: EP
London Tree
Year: 2019
Type: EP

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