Hogweed And The Aderyn: I
Wounded Wolf

Hogweed And The Aderyn: II
Wounded Wolf

Hogweed And The Aderyn is comprised of Gozde Omay and Atay Ilgun, whose music offers an arresting amalgam of Turkish and English musics; the two EPs they've issued under the name appear on their private-press imprint Wounded Wolf and are available in artfully crafted hand-made editions as well as downloads. Eastern and Western sounds come together in the EPs' ten songs (all recorded in Ankara), the first set of which appeared last summer and the second a few months later.

Theirs is a dreamy and haunting sound pitched midway between Turkish and English folk musics (track titles alone such as “Lore Bodhran” and “Life at Countryside” suggest as much), and it's an instrumentally rich one, too, with Chinese flutes, bells, acoustic guitars, strings, ukuleles, and hand percussion the primary sounds utilized. Driven by small armies of hand percussion, the songs' swinging rhythms are often hypnotic in effect; at their core, the songs are straightforward and often vocal-based, but Ilgun and Omay build them into complex entities by adding multiple layers of instruments. Omay's soft voice sometimes acts more as an extra instrumental colour than a lead element when it blends in with the complex surround (as occurs during “Sacred Alchemy”). On the four-song debut outing, the Turkish dimension of the duo's sound comes to the fore immediately when bells and drums accompany serpentine vocal melodies in “The Pariah” (later in the song, the swoop of a clarinet briefly points the material in klezmer's direction). The group's English leanings emerge prominently in the EP's closer, “Life at Countryside,” which comes the closest of the four to being a conventional Western folk song.

At twenty-eight minutes, the follow-up is not only longer but feels a tad more fully developed, as if The Hogweed And The Aderyn has settled more comfortably into its enchanted skin. “A Retreat” introduces the six-song set with two minutes of pastoral mystery before the thumb pianos, shakers, bodhrans, and sinuous vocal melodies of “Ije Before Time” reinstate the haunted ambiance of the first EP—even, in fact, push the group's sound further into a rather hallucinatory zone. A title such as “The Minstrel Prince” can't help but reawaken memories of the English folk tradition associated with Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention, and the song's sing-song melodies also suggest some degree of affinity between the parties cited. However, the EP's key track remains “Le goût de l'infini,” a nine-minute, gauzy dreamscape whose dark woodland melodies singlehandedly evoke the kind of Gothic mystery one associates with The Turn of the Screw (even the film treatment The Innocents). Both releases, needless to say, are well worth investigating.

March 2013