Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews of Communion Music at 2KHz, Crouch End, London
You hardly want to move. The spell will get broken, you fear. You want to do as little as possible so that Kieran Scragg and Neil Reed of the English duo Iko won't get scared, so they'll just continue doing what they're doing, until the night or the world ends - whichever comes first.
You want to quietly, motionlessly pass the bottle around the circle and close your eyes after it leaves your lips and then your hand, into the next hand and up to the next set. The bottle could be filled with the homemade cider that Scragg sings so sadly and beautifully about. It goes down so warmly, like a rush, like a prayer. For the moment, for the present, we're nowhere. We as dazed and confused as these people that they're singing about are, with hearts lofted up as an offering to whomever will take the greatest care with them, who won't just tear them to pieces like junk mail, or light them afire.
These songs are gentle, but haunted breezes, made by the beating of locust wings. They are night storms that no one saw coming when they went to sleep. They tucked themselves under the covers, laid that heavy head onto the pillow and turned themselves off. They woke up to a lightning storm that chose not to rattle the windows, but rather just put on a spectacle - lighting up the outside when it was supposed to be drenched in black ink, when the house numbers were shrouded and all the furry hunters were on the sly. You sit lie there, having been disturbed out of slumber, listening to the pounding invasion of raindrops on the shingles, mesmerized by the lights and the fragile quiet that could be snapped any second.