The Venetian Book of the Dead:
song-by-song notes by Kevin Hewick
Alessandro Monti first got in contact with me via My Space in 2006. He was based in Mestre in Italy and was a fan of my early Factory/Cherry Red records and he said some very complementary things about my voice and my songs. Checking out his MS profile I found he was a remarkable musician in his own right leading a project called Unfolk which merged his dazzling skills as a mandolin player with rock and electro instrumentation.
We went on to enjoy a fascinating correspondence about music and life and found we shared a mutual passion for such artists as Led Zeppelin, Van Der Graaf Generator and Todd Rundgren.
Alessandro sent me a copy of the first Unfolk album, a beautiful collection that veered from ancient folk melodies to Joy Division-like atmospherics. Parts of it sounded hundreds of years old yet it was a fusion that could only be of the now, tabla drums and synths set against fusion guitars, gypsy violins and distorted basslines, in all a brilliant piece of work but virtually unknown outside of Italy. Soaked in the atmosphere of Venice and diverse influences like chill-out and World Music it remain's a very under-rated classic.
Already Alessandro's mind was turning to the next Unfolk album which was then simply called 'Unfolk 2'. He felt was going to take a harder edged, more experimental direction and he asked me if I might consider writing a couple of English lyrics to music he'd send to me. I was well up for that, the evocative music on the first album had conjured up all kinds of images in my head.