Minko is an ethereal singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist currently living in Cornwall, England, who has been known to veer between techno and folk, seeing no divide between the two. On this EP, Minko embraces the latter- but what does the New Bands Panel make of it?
Becky Varley-Winter: This debut from dreamy Minko is a departure from electronica (“I packed away my samplers and synthesisers and went to live by the sea in Cornwall and filled the room with acoustic instruments,” she tells us), and her arrangements show a subtle experimental bent reminiscent of Julia Holter, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Andrew Bird.
Minko is obsessed with “amalgamating sounds”, setting a clear, insouciant voice against cool, softly-layered backdrops of multiple instruments (she lists piano, guitar, ukelele, glockenspiel, flute, organ, the noise of grasshoppers…).
Sybil of Delphi is apparently the first installment in a chain of more than fifty songs. There’s depth and variety in the four on display here; the title track weaves doomily poetic lyrics against a gentle backdrop of lapping waves and whistling, while ‘Lemon Psyche’ is more sixties, all glamorous languor, sipping cocktails by the pool.
‘I Am The Bridge’, meanwhile, is the most carefree, meanderingly childlike, with a hum in the background that gives its naivety and nostalgia a crystallised, clear-eyed edge; the end of the song becomes haunting.
‘I Dive Again’ takes a bleaker turn, moodily depressive, swells of piano mimicking Einaudi and the deep grey sea, which is a presence throughout the EP. As a finale it’s a bit dreary, the words a dirge, but there’s light in it too, filtered through thick glass; Minko is a quietly intriguing artist to listen out for.
Rosy Ross: This is a lovely jewel of an EP from beginning to end. The fact that these songs were written after Minko moved to live by the sea is really evident throughout, particularly in the charming first track ‘Sybil of Delphi II’.
The song begins and ends with the sound recording of waves lapping against the sides of boats (that’s my guess anyway) and a sunny whistled melody. The warmth of her voice layered in harmonies over ukulele chords is the stuff that lazy summer nostalgia is made of. The inspiration behind this one is more unsettling than you’d imagine, but I’ll let you find out for yourself on Minko’s Bandcamp page.
‘Lemon Psyche’ has a chanson/bossa nova tinge to it, and is pretty unhurried and dreamy too. Third track ‘I Am the Bridge’ is accompanied by jaunty, tinkling piano, while the final track, ‘I Dive Again’ brings us back to the movements of the sea.
I can’t put my finger on why certain split piano chords can emulate a moving body of water so beautifully – but Minko has clearly soaked up her surroundings, and knows how to pour them back into her music. I’ve just downloaded the EP – (a mere) £3 very well spent, and it comes with a little surprise extra as well.
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