[Reviewed by Damiano Lanzi]
Even six years after the release of their first, self titled album, little is known about who’s actually behind this project. They don’t play live shows and there are no pictures of them, so the secret is still very well kept. What we know is that they are a duo, composed by a multi instrumentalist whose nickname is Grey Malkin and a mysterious female singer. It’s clear that mystery is somewhat programmatic in The Hare And The Moon’s music and aesthetics, and admittedly this helps the fascinating and initiatory atmosphere of their works. The anonymity makes even more sense if we consider that most of their songs are borrowed from the English and Scottish folk tradition, and the name of their original authors is lost in the centuries. Many musicians in the field of neofolk music have also rediscovered the “Child Ballads”, but The Hare And The Moon show a truly accurate and philological spirit in this research, that maybe can be found only in the works of Andrew King or Ian Read.
In “Wood Witch” there’s a great collection of these ballads: “Reynardine”, “Cruel Henry”, “The Wife of Usher’s Well”, “The Cruel Mother”, just to cite the most known. All these songs are reinterpreted in a personal sabbatical and ritualistic style, like a sort of “acoustic dark-ambient” where strings and piano have a primary role. The scores are always essential and leave space for the vocals and their atmospheric reverb. The Hare And The Moon never indulge on the vocal gimmicks and overproduction that can be found in much neoclassical and gothic music. On the other hand, they keep it all very natural, even with some imperfections and DIY techniques that make their sound one of a kind. In this age where many artists are even too “near” to their audience due to their massive presence in social media, and where this often leads to a loss of fascination, this duo manages instead to cancel the distance between the listener and the mythological world described in their songs. When you listen to the singer’s haunting voice, the fact that it’s not technically perfect makes you believe that she’s not far away or just an ethereal presence on a digital support, it’s like she’s actually in the room, officiating some archaic rites. It seems that the reflection The Hare And The Moon have made is that in no other land as in Britain is the folk tradition so tied to esoteric knowledge, to witchcraft and pagan rites. Furthermore, most of these lyrics tell violent and gruesome stories, so this kind of rendering seems nothing but natural. From every perspective this project is looked at, it seems that The Hare And The Moon really know what they want and that nothing is left to chance. That’s why they’re becoming more and more acknowledged as a cult band and have even gained prestigious supporters as Tony Wakeford, that provides his unmistakable voice in “The Willow Tree”.