This Pale Fire releases new music

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From Auckland, NZ comes the debut album – Alchemy, by Corban Koschak’s ‘This Pale Fire.’ And if that doesn’t confuse, the album also comes with an inner personal view from Koschak that isn’t easy to follow, but very easy to swallow. It’s deep, it’s dark, and it’s also light and fluffy when called for, which culminates into a world class collection of songs that edges on the modern, but is flourished by an 80s ambience that producer Levi Patel put his stamp on.

This isn’t something you’ll always find in folk music, but it crosses right over to mainstream avenues, including being well-fit for radio and even TV.

It takes you through 12 tracks of colossal sounding stories that keep you totally interested as it goes. But it’s also good for meditation and forgetting what the songs are about and letting them heal, almost landing it in New Age genre territory. Folk gets a workout with so many other influences it just appeals in every way to the singer-songwriter lovers and anyone with an open ear to that. Most of the album is just Koschak and his guitar, but there’s a lot of textures going on in the background, with keys and strings playing the biggest roles. But there is plenty of percussion to beef the tracks up at the right times.

There are moments on this album where Koschak’s efforts can be compared to or at least sound like Thom York’s vocals, but he’s also influenced by him and Dan Smith, to help describe what he does vocally. “Northern Lights” opens the album with a gracious lead off song that succeeds in getting you instantly hooked on his voice and guitar playing. It’s not the best track on the album but it establishes Koschak as a force to reckon with, and that helps any opener get the task done. Let the light guide you as it does him, and the rest is gravy as the album unfolds.

“Virago” follows with an almost romantic essence to it, but it’s just the whispering effect of his soft voice, which at times reached completely the opposite scales. But on this track, it’s kept to a said whisper and the occasional high note to keep it balanced.

It’s the wit of his words that make this all it can really be. I find it to be one of the featured tracks among what there is to offer between them all. The female b/g vocals are the icing on the cake on this epic track, as they also do on other tracks like “The Stag” even used at a lesser rate on an otherwise equally strong track. Notice how he also leaves in a lot of guitar finger-swipes.

After going from sonic lows to highs, the next track “The Sky” keeps a consistent groove about it, which gets you prepared for another big couple of tracks on “Wolf” with its mesmerizing musical compass and terrific strings. And “Delicate Words” which is currently my favorite track amongst them all.

For what it’s worth, “Mountains” is another epic track to wrap your ears around. “Birdcage” and “Curse” also offer up some great music and vocals before the album is played out with the properly titled instrumental “Outro” to close what is a grand debut LP.

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Jeff Turner