Anian is the third album by 9Bach and builds on the foundations laid down by 2014’s Tincian
to expand the band’s exploration of Welsh folk traditions and
contemporary music to include influences from elsewhere around the
world, always looking outside as much as in. Recorded live at Real World
Studios, with the lightest touch when it came to overdubs, it covers a
range of sometimes challenging subjects in a way which makes each of its
eleven songs an engaging listen, always accessible even as they push
the boundaries of their craft as musicians, singers and writers.
Inspired by the novel One Moonlit Night by Caradog Prichard, the brooding ‘Llyn Du’ (‘Black Lake’)
begins with slow electric piano chords over which Lisa Jên’s
otherworldly, wordless vocals swoop and dive, before breaking loose into
an irresistible rolling rhythm driven by Ali Byworth’s kicking
percussion and Dan Swain’s fast, rumbling bass.
‘Anian’ builds on the sense of anticipation, of something
about to happen; its mood matching Lisa Jên’s comment that connections
can only be made when we start paying attention to the world around us.
Martin Hoyland’s wah-wah guitar and distorted licks add funk to the
groove, again powered by the tight but spacious rhythm section – but
it’s the combination of Esyllt Glyn Jones’ rippling harp and the deft
interplay between the voices that tie it all together; the billowing
echo which wreathes the vocals towards the end is especially effective.