Snakefarm: My Halo At Half-Light
Snakefarm is American singer/instrumentalist Anna Domino and her partner Belgian musician Michel Delory. For many years the two made music independently and the much travelled Anna Domino released three pop-oriented solo albums in Europe the last of which, Mysteries of America, came out in 1990. Then 12 years ago she got together with Delory as Snakefarm and they released the album Songs From My Funeral.
The album caused quite a stir as it comprised all traditional American songs with unusual electronically tinged arrangements with loops and beats and they were hailed by some as the future of folk music. Then they disappeared. Only now, after a very long hiatus, are they back with a new second album My Halo At Half-Light which carries on in much the same vein. The album is released on the UK’s Fledg’ling label.
The new album sounds very good indeed with clear, stripped down, atmospheric arrangements of ten songs “based on traditional ballads in the public domain”. Domino’s voice is to the fore and almost all the music is played by the duo themselves on acoustic and electric guitars, dobro, mandolin, keyboards and programming with just the occasional addition of other musicians on bass, percussion and drums.
American folk songs such as ‘Staggerlee’ and ‘Sadie’ are completely reinvented here and they come to life in a fresh and enticing new way. In fact, just about everything works very well on this album and the whole project is a great success. All of the songs should be more than familiar to those with any interest in American folk and roots ballads but Snakefarm’s versions – sometimes against all the odds – breathe new life into them.