?To a Child Dancing in the Wind? is a recent collaboration between post punk/folk crooner Martyn Bates and German shape-shifting drone duo, Troum. The results hearken back to Bates? landmark ?Murder Ballads? EPs with Scorn?s Mick Harris in the late 90s. Where the haunted vocal mantras of those recordings were doused in Harris?s bottom end isolationist dub, Troum emphasizes the most ornamental aspects of Bates? delivery across seven tracks that blend together to reveal an epic poem of innocence lost and nostalgia held tight. The poetic quality of these tracks is entirely intentional, as Bates chose four poems by Irish poet W.B. Yeats to sing over Troum?s shimmering drone backdrop.
Opener ?Mad as the Mist and Snow? sets the stage dramatically with lulling accordion and synth hum beneath Bates? melancholy remembrance of a cold night long ago. There?s a reverent quality in Bates? yearning delivery which draws equally from British Isles folk traditions and much older pre-polyphonic vocal styles. By the time his voice is finally layered towards the climax, an enveloping delirium overruns everything to reveal a massive sonic berth of the deepest emotional resonance. Troum?s somber, blurred musical backing is wholly complimentary to Bates? poetic recitations here. Less murky than past efforts, these pieces easily rank as some of the duo?s most emotionally rich sonic portals. As for Bates: He?s a singular vocal artist existing in a genre uniquely his own, where the only boundary lies in the deepest recesses of the human heart. It all coheres magnificently across ?To a Child Dancing in the Wind? with great tenderness. Bates? vocal style may not be for everyone, but those with the ears to hear should be duly amazed. 8/10 -- Lee Jackson (29 August, 2007)