"I know people will always assume that I listen to a lot of John Fahey, Robbie Basho, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Nick Drake etc. I do listen to all of this and I do love it but there is so much more to the world of music I inhabit. Some of my favourite composers take folk motifs to make ‘art music’, composers like Béla Bartók and Osvaldo Golijov. It is perhaps their approach rather than their music that influences me most. I listen to hours of field recordings from all over the world every week as well as ‘classical’ music from Dowland to Poulenc and 20th Century popular music styles.” - Nick Castell
I recently traveled across a large chunk of Europe. While we were in Wales I got in contact with Nick whom I'd hoped to meet up with once I arrived in London, unfortunately everyone I was traveling with got sick. Nevertheless I spent about two weeks between London and Wales listening to two traditional British folk songs performed by Nick Castell repeatedly without interruption. The two songs were "Courting Too Slowly" and "Sweet Lemeny" (Highly recommended free download HERE). Upon listening to Nick Castell's guitar compositions I was immediately taken back to the time when I first discovered Nick Drake, Anne Briggs...etc and how it completely altered my path in life and softened me to folk music.
Nick Castell's music has that exact same effect, to the point that I probably listened to the song "Courting Too Slowly" 30 times one after another while we hiked around Wales eating endless wild blackberries that grew on the side of every road in Llambedrog. After binge listening to those two songs and the rest of his outstanding catalog I decided to ask Nick if he would want to release something on Scissor Tail to which he agreed. I was and still am as equally blown away with this album "The Water Margin" which I then listened to every chance I could throughout the rest of our trip. Nick's music made the perfect soundtrack to my travels and made any menial task of travel enjoyable. I can only assume it will have that same effect on any willing listener.This is a beautiful loner folk album that will stand the test of time, no doubt about it. -Dylan Aycock
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Nick Castell ~ The Water Margin
Back in 2010 I found Nick Castell's music on bandcamp and was stunned by his variety of styles and his playing skills, because he seemed so very young. But after an interview I made with him, it was clear how he approached music. As an ethnomusicologist, since he just studied that.
It's great that he's back now, with an "proper" (limited tape) release on Scissor Tail Records. He blends into their label catalogue, with focus on the more experimental side of acoustic music mixed soundscapes, very well.
Water Margin contains, as expected, a wide variety of acoustic music, mostly solo acoustic guitar or other string instruments, piano, field recordings and even sinus tones.
The over 9 minutes track Water Margin is in vein of his former project Hiss Hog Porkestra which was more focused on severaly styles of ethno music.
A Geographic Impossibility is a collage of layered field recordings of birds and church bells and choral music.
There is a lot to discover, that's for sure!
A very enjoyable release of an still, unknown artist.