Dancing in the Light – Lizzie Taypen
Dancing In The Light is the new solo debut album by Lizzie Taypen one of the many great unsigned artists I got to hear on Soundcloud awhile back now. Her songs have always appealed to me a lot, and she not only has a great voice for folk music, but she also knows how to weave, sculpture and create great songs with her acoustic guitar and fine words.
Many would perhaps describe Lizzie’s folk style with Joni Mitchell and perhaps the way she writes the music may very well fit in with Joni’s style. Acoustically some of her songs could even be associated with early Genesis with how the chords are structured. Both Anthony Phillips and Michael Rutherford had a similar acoustic style in those early days.
But for me personally there is no doubt Joni Mitchell is a folky just like Bob Dylan and none of those two artists are really “Traditional Folk” which for me is where most of Lizzie’s output of music really lies. Which is why I would associate her songs and style more along the lines of Sandy Denny than Joni Mitchell. But she can also have a combination of them both mixed in with her own style no doubt.
A Clear Vision…
Over the few years I have known Lizzie now I soon got to notice that she does do a lot of collaborations with other artists. She very much takes note of the other talented musicians there are about Soundcloud. Not only musicians but lyricists too, and very much has a clear vision of choosing the right musicians and lyric writers to work with her on her own songs.
She realises the other elements of instrumentation and fine words it takes to make an album work so much more better, in relation to just putting out an album of acoustic songs featuring just herself singing and playing them on an acoustic guitar. She also values the production work that others can bring to the table too.
One of those great artists she works perhaps more closely with is Gordon Midgley a multitalented musician and self producer who I stumbled on Soundcloud around the same time as Lizzie. Has a matter of fact I am pretty sure it was down to Gordon’s great output of work that I found Lizzie Taypen in the first place. I have been a follower of them both ever since and always look forward to the output they both put out.
Although Dancing In The Light is Lizzie’s solo debut album it’s not the first release she has been involved in with her many collaborations. Back in November of last year a 6 track EP was released entitled The Sacred Spring she did with Vocalatti. It’s available on places such as Amazon. CD Baby. Apple Music & iTunes. It also features both Gordon Midgley and Jim Moss who both contribute additions to 2 tracks each on the EP.
It’s another fine body of work and contains one of my favourite Taypen penned songs entitled “Sacred Shores” which is another one of her classic songs done very much in the style of traditional folk that she can deliver so well.
Dancing In The Light Album Review…
The album Dancing In The Light by Lizzie Taypen contains 8 tracks over a short playing time of 27 minutes 16 seconds. For many these days this may very well be considered more of an EP with the short distance we have here. But from the good old days I came from a lot of artists made albums over this time slot, including the likes of Donovan and Neil Young to name a couple.
It’s very much a time slot that was given to a lot of artists back in the 60’s and even ran into the early 70’s. Come to think of it even some of Jean Michel Jarre’s albums were only about 3 minutes longer in the late 70’s. Most albums were around the 40 minute mark back in the 70’s and EP’s were only around 12 minutes long tops.
Over the decades with the invention of CD we got to see longer time slots of even 60 minutes plus. For me personally being a guy with a huge record collection I prefer the older much shorter time slot, simply because it allows you more time to devote to all your other artists when playing albums. You can also play more albums of just one artist too this way, so you’re not ignoring all those albums you brought over all the years that much, and can still find the time to give them more attention.
I also often find with the longer time slot many artists will struggle to make a real solid album with the material they put on them. Most of the time they will even put material on them that is more considered as a gap filler just to fill up the extra space. I even think that most EP’s that were put onto CD were around the 17 to 24 minute mark which is why I very much see Dancing In The Light as an album and not an EP.
The album is produced by Gordon Midgley who I have to say is improving himself more lately regarding his production skills. He is very much another guy who has a great vision to skilfully blend in the other instrumentation to which he has added so well to the songs to make them work so well. His additions of guitars, bass, synth and pedal effects work very well and are nothing over the top and are quite beautifully subtle on some of the songs here. He also had the vision to bring in drummer Gary Reeves on the opening track who is another fine artist I know from Soundcloud.
All music & lyrics : Lizzie Taypen except lyrics from Lorna Sherry on “I Wrote My Love“. “The Odeon” and “Dancer“. Mixed & Produced by Gordon Midgley. All Artwork Lizzie Pentland.
Lizzie Taypen : Vocals, acoustic guitar
Gordon Midgley : 12 string & electric guitars, fretless bass, keys
Gary Reeves : Drums on “Blue Rays”
The Album Tracks…
Track 1. Blue Rays.
The album kicks off very well with its opening track entitled “Blue Rays“. It’s a song that has a short intro beautifully played on the acoustic guitar that soon gets washed over with some dreamy work on the electric guitar by Gordon to which has it goes along for around half a minute he brings in a lovely atmospheric lead guitar resembling something along the guitar sound and lines David Gilmour would of used on the intro of “Breathe” by Pink Floyd. This is also accompanied by some enchanting harmonies by Lizzie and all of which last for some 1 minute and 11 seconds.
Then in comes Gary on the drums followed by some lovely slide guitar by Gordon and Lizzie proceeds to sing along to it all wonderfully. In many ways song itself is like listening to a combination of prog rock, blues and folk all rolled into one and it works very well indeed for it.
Lyrically the song is about a sense and feel of freedom. It could also pertain to love just as it does to death. It could even be about Robert Johnson’s final moments on earth. The fact that they can draw these different interpretations from the listener makes them more the better.
Track 2. I Can See For Miles.
This acoustic beauty of a song is very much a contender for the top spot on the album. Lizzie has the knack of writing very little words for her songs very much in the same way many poets would write. Her fine words on this song pertain to a place or a space of openness where one can take in the beauty and breathe in the country air perhaps.
It could even pertain to the changing of a season from the dark days of autumn into summer or spring. Whatever they do pertain to, once again they give the listener something to ponder over which is another very good thing.
Musically Gordon’s bass supports the acoustic guitars superbly from the moment of even its point of entry at 52 seconds, it manages to lift the song up beautifully. The break section of the song is once again a bit like Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” and it features some simple lead notes on the electric guitar from Gordon which is all it really needs to embellish it with and is also supported beautifully with some fine harmonies once again from Lizzie. It’s a really great song that has a wonderful feel and flow about it all.
Track 3. Saille.
A very mystic atmospheric song which musically uses some superb use of pedals for the effects coming from Gordon’s electric guitar, he may also be using pads or either his keyboard to create some of the dreamy atmosphere we have on this wonderful track. The lead lines on his guitar are also very Flyodis’ too. It accompanies the wonderful melody on the acoustic guitar very well.
Lyrically its very much a love song and the title of “Saille” we have here is a Celtic and a very mystical word that refers to the measurement of time via the moon and comes from the Celtic calendar of many moons ago passed on by the Druids I believe. Though I must confess it was something I never knew and did have to look up :)))))))). Once again it’s another great song that Lizzie puts across so very well with her fine voice.
Track 4. Imbolc.
Another strange title and word that can derive from the Celts and also both Ireland and Scotland. In Gaelic the word “Imbolc” refers to a fertility goddess who went by the name of Brigid who was associated with the season of Spring. She was also associated with the powers of healing, poetry and smithcraft. I do believe certain rituals were held every year in celebration of this goddess of the Dawn.
I have to say Lizzie has very well constructed the lyrics around the subject matter here and it one superb acoustic song that features both Lizzie and Gordon on the acoustic guitars. Gordon’s other contributions of the synth and touch of electric guitar at the end work very well in the song too. In some ways this particular song also has a Leslie Duncan feel about it too. For me personally its very much another contender for the top spot on the album.
Track 5. Promise Of The Day.
The shortest track on the album is another fine acoustic song has they all are on this album. It’s another song that is very well supported by Gordon’s bass guitar and a sprinkle of electric guitar also adds to the support too. The words are once again very well written in the form of artistic poetry and pertain to the wonderful things that surround us from the time one arises and goes on through the day.
There are many good things on this planet one can see if they open their eyes to capture the beauty that is around us and Lizzie’s vision of capturing them and putting them into words is very well portrayed on this song. Lizzie as always expresses them very well with her great folk voice.
Track 6. I Wrote My Love.
“ I Wrote My Love” is the first of 3 songs that does not feature Lizzie’s own lyrics. There is no doubt that Lizzie can certainly write excellent lyrics in the the form of artistic poetry. But her vision to see that in other people’s words is also a very good thing and I have to say the lyrics for the final 3 songs on the album are also very poetic and really excellent words written by Lorna Sherry.
To be honest it’s not often I take to love songs that contain the word “love” in them. But in this song they are used so beautifully and there is a paraphrase in the way that love blossoms and dies in this one. The words “I wrote my love with a silver pen and later on gold” is where love grows and really blooms. Then the pen later turns to a pencil and the words “I write my love in a cloudless sky” is a clear vision of how it all unfolds at the end.
Once again the way Lizzie can deliver the words is really something. Once again it features besides Lizzie’s wonderful voice, some wonderful acoustic guitar accompanied by simple lead lines on the electric guitar from Gordon that support the song very well. It’s all it really needs and is beautifully done.
Track 7. The Odeon.
No doubt the title refers to the Cinema House and the many picture houses here in the UK. There used to be 3 of them many moons ago situated in my own town centre of Birmingham and they used to be very popular back then too. These days only 1 of them still exists in New Street which happens to be the one that also held many concerts by popular artists in the mainstream world back then too.
I perhaps went to see more performing artists and bands play live there than I ever used it for the pictures to see a movie as child in my teenage years and youth. It certainly brings back some fond memories, even one where I skipped school to try and get a ticket to see Elton John. By the time I got there on that morning the tickets went on sale, all 3 nights concert tickets he was performing there had sold out in less than 2 hours.
I did however get to see some movies there as well and that’s exactly what this song is really about with the great lyrics once again supplied by Lorna Sherry. I even remember all the film stars mentioned in this song though I only think I got to see Steve McQueen in the film Bullitt at the Odeon.
I have to say that both Lizzie and Gordon have done a superb job in supporting Lorna’s great words here and its very much another one of my top contenders for the top spot on the album.
Track 8. Dancer.
For me personally the “Dancer” is very much the song of the album that does get my personal fave and merits the top spot of the album award. The lyrics very much describe the struggles and pain one has to go through to be perhaps a recognised artist in their own rights and their love of what they do. They could also pertain to an artist who paints, a musician and an actor or actress just as well as a dancer.
The song opens up with a very short phased effect from the electric guitar, followed by the beautiful melody picked out on the acoustic guitar and Lizzie’s great voice putting over the fine story here. Besides the phasing on the intro we get this wonderful tremolo effect that rings out from Gordon’s guitar with some lovely lead lines in the break and the bass supports it well towards the end.
Once again the great lyrics are penned by Lorna Sherry and once again Lizzie and Gordon have done a superb job in displaying them. It puts an end to one really super album.
The album Dancing In The Light by Lizzie Taypen is very much an album that contains 8 very well written folk songs that would appeal to most I would of thought. Both musically and lyrically it’s a very strong body of work we have here that does not have a weak spot or link and there is not one single track that will disappoint. I pretty much feel that all 8 tracks we have here could easily be in contention of holding the top spot simply because they are all so well written.
Production wise I think it’s been very well produced by Gordon Midgley. I also think that with his additions to the instrumentation he has added very much given the album a more atmospheric feel with the textures and colours we have here. In some ways I suppose it gives it perhaps a Pink Floyd edge and feel. But Lizzie’s folk voice is still very stern and holds up strongly with the music enough for the folk genre to not be tarnished here.
I do however feel the music has taken away some of the more traditional folk side we have seen in the past by Lizzie though, and perhaps make it more of a Joni Mitchell & Leslie Duncan side of folk rather than Sandy Denny. But that is also a good thing because personally I feel folk music has always appealed to more people than the traditional side of folk, and there is no doubt that Lizzie puts her own stamp on folk music however it comes.
There is no doubt that the album Dancing In The Light is very short over its 8 tracks. The fact that it is gives the listener that much time to enjoy it even more by giving it more spins, to take in the full potential the album has to offer I see as a good thing. One certainly cannot complain at its price point of £4 and at it’s price it’s a genuine bargain and will provide many hours of enjoyment to the listener.
It’s an album I myself cannot stop playing right now and it appeals to myself highly. I also feel it would appeal to many if they was to take the time and just listen to it. The written material is quality and so too is the production. It’s a solid album in the way that every track is so well written and presents itself to the listener. There are no gap fillers here and it gets my 100% recommendation.
You can listen to the album for yourself here by clicking on the link to Bandcamp below. It’s something I do suggest you do, and it’s only going to cost you 27 minutes of your time. It may even cost you £4 if like myself it appeals to your taste and at that price personally I think you will of brought yourself a piece of joy and happiness just as I did.
The track listing of the album is as follows: