“Bumblin’ Creed” (Northern Spy)

Inhale that precious country air, cold and crisp. Folk heroes – heroes! – Padang Food Tigers (the UK’s Stephen Lewis and Spencer Grady) have teamed with Norwegian harmonium player Sigbjørn Apeland to craft the most intimate cassette release that I’ve heard in maybe forever – but hey, why let a little hyperbole stop me? It’s the most intimate cassette release of all time. There, I have your attention, and now you can be transported to the front porch of a rustic cabin on a cliff overlooking a fjord in the blinding sunlight of an early spring afternoon. The sun sparkles off the water and the patches of snow, the green grass whispers in the breeze, and your chair creaks on the floorboards. There’s actually quite a bit of chair-creaking and other ambient room noises on Bumblin’ Creed, asserting the players’ intention to capture specific moments and particular environmental touches. The languid folk stretches over the peacefulness of time and space, recalling such luminaries as John Fahey, Loren Connors, and even Olivier Messiaen, a French composer whose organ works permeate as inspiration. But all of this is covered in the press – you really haven’t done yourself any favors until you immerse yourself in Bumblin’ Creed’s pastoral beauty. How can you not feel hope and contentment with a tune like “Barley a Breath in Your Parenthesis” wafting over the meadow? Or the call to spiritual awakening of “It’s in Thee, Frittering Away”? And did I mention, there are no words to trip up the dreamer, nothing to detract from the sense of personal discovery and betterment? It’s as if this cassette exists as a primer, a companion, and a portal, an artifact whose sole purpose is to assist one through life. Maybe that’s the case – you can sit, you can dream, you can exist, or you can stand and move forward, exhibiting the serenity that Padang Food Tigers and Sigbjørn Apeland conjure in their playing, projecting that serenity into the lives of others. Ugh, FFS, I’m gonna say “pay it forward,” aren’t I? I totally didn’t intend to end up there, but hey, I did. Make everybody happy. Play Bumblin’ Creed anywhere people go for anything, be it a remote Scandinavian precipice or a crowded train station. Let the vibes unfurl and change lives. I’m a new man at the end of this.

--Ryan Masteller