Memory Drawings is the beguiling, drum-less project of Minneapolis-raised, Morocco-based hammered dulcimer player Joel Hanson, erstwhile Hood guitarist/multi-instrumentalist and sometime Declining Winter main-man Richard Adams, and Lanterns on the Lake/Brave Timbers violinist Sarah Kemp.
Partly inspired by Adams’ native West Yorkshire landscape (particularly as enshrined in Ted Hughes’ and Fay Godwin’s 1979 poetry/photography essay Remains of Elmet), Music For Another Loss maps the contours between brooding melancholy and redemptive calm. It’s an equipoise reflected in a musical signature which simultaneously suggests both classical minimalism and hearth-side folk, but which, tantalizingly, is never quite either. With Hanson’s exotic dulcimer peals always at the core, framed in Adams’ and Kemps’ halos of poignant melody and harmony (here and there augmented by guest keyboardists Rachel Grimes, of Rachel’s, and Gareth S. Brown, along with the occasional trace of vocals from Yvonne Bruner) this is a seductive, watercolour music whose true potency lies in its subtlety, but which gets right under the skin from first listen, nonetheless.
While Memory Drawings is an ostensibly instrumental project, Music For Another Loss also features a second disc comprising Yvonne Bruner-led vocal versions of many of the first disc’s tracks, alongside a clutch of total reinvention remixes by Rachel Grimes, Dakota Suite, Piano Magic (featuring Disco Inferno’s Ian Crause on guitar) and Bracken.