Cassette version of one of 2021's best - homespun and gently profound intimate folk musings with few peers.
It's not difficult to imagine Maxine Funke opening a window and a song presenting itself on the breeze as a gift. It's an easily romantic idea that demands a bigger question: a gift from whom, i wonder? From Nature, from the Divine, or perhaps simply that of Chance? The beauty of Funke's music, held in the songs themselves and also manifest in its reclusive presentation, is that it seems to express all these possibles at once: private and domestic in its concerns, yet somehow also profound in its ability to find quiet revelation in gentle movement and expression. There's just seven songs here, notably shorter than previous collections Lace & Felt (i favour the word collection instead of album, as i dont think there's many discrete or compartmentalised aspects to Funke's songwriting - it's an endless river) but Seance does seem definitive. The recordings are a little clearer, and perhaps, dare i say it, more confident in the audience they're finding. What i prefer about the shorter running time is that it allows more space into which these songs can flower - and flower is what they do, slowly opening to reveal their wonder, particularly so on the lengthy Quiet Shore and the luminous Lucky Penny. The unadorned qualities of these songs suggest simplicity, but it's a bit of a misnomer. Vulnerability is rarely simplistic, folk (as people, as song) and nature more complex still. Seance's strength is in not trying to figure out everything at once.