Various reviews for the EP 'Still the Star Shines'

Blue hour at the Masters of Hora. Pondering, he crouches in front of his saltwater aquarium watching the comings and goings, the ebb and the flow, the eternal nature of time at work, while the clocks in the background quietly tick. Ideally, he would now take a glass of red wine with some discreetly stimmungsfördernde music. Well, let us hope he was able to grab one of the 288 limited copies of "Still the Star Shines" by the Nick Cave of Neofolk, Dev, together with producer Matt (Sieben) Howden, who also contributed the grandiose strings to this release which takes the listener on an elemental journey of oceanic cool moments to the airy heights while the drums and distorted bass provide a grip to the ground. Songs burning with pain, love and longing. Fire, Water, Air, Earth. Four songs, bringing and weaving all these contradictions together. As the masterful Hora looks to his small, gold pocket-watch, he is astounded: It has been 20 minutes! Smooth, dreamy - quick feed the cat… and then again deep into the sea of Time dip - with While Angels Watch in the ear.

Christoph Kutzer, Sonic Seducer

"...compositions far from the redundant stereotypes of a scene complete in immobilism and idleness! A special mention for the song Moonchild, which is one of the most beautiful songs I have heard these last years. 10/10 "

Electronic Ghost  

Whilst I really liked the first WAW album, I thought it could have been catchier, which is why I am very happy about this nice little work. WAW present four wonderfully produced songs: starting with the beautifully yearning 'Crossing the Tide of Time', followed by a very emotional mix of 'Moonchild', that originally could be found on the 'Lust from the Underworld' compilation. I am especially taken by this song, which also features Jane Howden as a guest vocalist, her voice is just enchanting. This short, but beautiful, pleasure is completed by two new and very well done versions of songs from the 'Dark Age' album, namely, 'Eye for Eye' and 'The Waiting Ground'. So if this Maxi-CD provides a representative outlook of the next album 'Treasures of Treachery', which is planned for release by Eis & Licht, we can look forward to a great work! We hope to have an interview with Dev in the next issue of Black to hear more about this. I should mention that this CD is unfortunately no longer available from the label... so if you should see it on sale somewhere: Get it!

Gernot Musch, Black Magazine

This record is strictly limited to 288 copies! WAW is an English project signed on a French label. Without defining the sound precisely, there's a large amount of neo-classical and folk influences. The opening cut "Crossing the tide of time" is a very good example of this mix while grave male vocals have been mixed together with sweeter female ones. The next piece "Moonchild" is a bit more moody, the acoustic guitar parts create an interesting union with the neo-classical approach. "Eye for eye" is already different, revealing a kind of bombastic approach while the last cut "The waiting ground" starts as a ballad, but progressively evolving into harder parts. There's a lot to experience on these 4 pieces and even if this is far from setting the day alight, it's an honest production! (DP:6)

DP. Side line

'Still the star shines' in the latest releases from the UK's While Angels Watch who were interviewed in issue 9 of the Judas Kiss. Containing four tracks of wonderfully bittersweet neo-folk that is awash with emotion and atmosphere and is a superb listen that has a gripping simplicity that captures you perfectly in its presence, whist it dances seductively around you, holding you entranced. Brilliant, seductive and gripping stuff indeed. Limited to only 288 hand numbered copies, this is bound to sell quickly, so make sure you find this whilst you can.

Lee Powell, Judas Kiss  

"...Still The Star Shines is the latest CD from acclaimed UK neo-folk outfit While Angels Watch, proving to be a bridge between Dark Age and the forthcoming Treasures of Treachery. Two new songs are debuted alongside two reworked tracks from the highly respected (well, we liked it, anyway) Dark Age release. Opening in a manner not disimilar to Nick Cave the piano based Crossing The Tide of Time features apocalyptic imagery entwining love and death with Dev's heavy set voice framed by the lilting voice of Jane Howden. It disappears and slowly reawakens in an almost dream state with a soft spoken prayer. Moonchild appears as a Matt Howden remix adding tumultuous percussion and sweeping strings, that slice through the acoustic backing to which Dev and Jane loosely duet. Eye For An Eye and The Waiting Ground are revisited in vastly superior forms. Over forged acoustic guitars and booming bass and the voice of Dev strained with emotion, they remind me of early Sol Invictus, especially on Eye For An Eye a critique of modern life, as it climaxes with a chanted refrain. Crossing The Tide of Time is certainly the highlight of this short EP - delivered so passionately and with such conviction it's more than a welcome shot in the arm to an already crowded genre."

Tony Dickie, Compulsion Online

This four track mcd only has a limited release. While Angels Watch are essentially London based singer/writer Dev and various collaborators including Jane and Matt Howden from Sieben. Musically Dev has taken a lot of core elements of 'neo' or 'dark' folk and fused other influences. The result is a sort of merger between Sol Invictus and Marc Almond meeting Leonard Cohen. Or perhaps a more folkish Joy Division. Several critics have compared WAW to Nick Cave. Here there are two remixes of tracks from the highly acclaimed 'Dark Age' CD of 2003, 'Eye for Eye' and 'The Waiting Ground' with two new tracks 'Crossing the Tide of Time' and 'Moonchild' (redroom mix). Dark, melodic, introspective music permeated with an extraordinary friction. There's quite a wonderful controlled sense of drama throughout Dev's work. Highly recommended indeed.

Mike Shankland, Cursor Mundi

HAVING tremendously enjoyed 'Dark Age', WAW's first release on the Cynfeirdd label, I was obviously looking forward to the second offering with some relish. The surrealist cover art, produced by the beautiful Spanish artist, Remedios Varo (1908-63), is rather peculiar and full of unusual detail. It depicts a leather-clad gentleman sitting behind a small wooden desk as ghostly shapes fall on to a brick floor and a cat sits attentively in the corner. Meanwhile, a blue spinning disc can be seen flying through an open window as eight sharpened grandfather clocks prop up a cushioned ceiling and appear to offer a variety of new worlds and possible dimensions. But whilst the previous colour-scheme was olive green, this time it's pale blue. The MCD itself is just over twenty minutes in length and comprised of just four tracks, but Dev is joined once again by musical husband and wife team Jane (vocals) & Matt Howden (violin/production). 'Crossing the Tide of Time' has a soft piano cleverly juxtaposed with deep vocals and I'm glad to note that little has changed as far as the quality and range of Dev's voice is concerned. Wavering slightly to great effect before slotting into a characteristic key-change for the chorus, the lyrics tell of loneliness, perpetual stagnancy and disparate souls: 'I know I'll never touch your skin / And mine is a cell imprisoned within'. Jane's beautiful harmonies riding pillion on a downward spiral towards madness, destruction and obsession. The calculated pauses between verse and chorus allow the piano to drift away for a few seconds before fading in again and thereby allowing the song to go through series of peaks and troughs in order to compliment the mixed emotions that are being described. Another glance at Varo's painting and all becomes clear. Surely the words are based on the tragic thoughts of the whey-faced figure that stares at the open window, surrounded by endless pendulums and the haunting images of time? Suddenly, the structure dies away completely and what began as a ballad now drifts off into the world of ambience. A brief flurry of sorrowful strings and urgent Endura-style whisperings struggle to be heard above a wall of sound. When the piano returns to gently calm the storm, it reminds me of the melancholic 'Watched Over By Angels' by Remanence. Coincidence, perhaps? Without pausing for breath, the acoustic strains of 'Moonchild (Redroom Mix)' can be heard rising in the background like a lunar eclipse. The way Matt's incredible violin twists and turns like a shrieking banshee on acid, you'd be forgiven for thinking that someone had finally done the decent thing and plugged Nigel Kennedy into the national grid. Jane soon joins the fray as this fiddling bonanza gradually builds into a heady duet: 'Your voice it rides the wind'. Fantastic. Cash and Carter eat your hearts out. 'Eye For Eye' meanwhile, which, on the previous album, was both uncompromising and defiant, is given a fresh 2004 rendering. The acoustic guitar sounds much tighter here and the overall improvement in quality is testimony to Matt's evolving production technique. But this is no two-a-penny rehash. The 60's-style strumming effect is still there, but WAW have actually managed to polish what was already a monumental song and make it even better. Whilst some people may have preferred to hear some newer material, it's very encouraging to see that Dev is seriously trying to ameliorate his existing repertoire before releasing another full-length album. And similarly, of course, the updated version of 'The Waiting Ground' - another gem - demonstrates his growing confidence and dexterity. I must admit to rather enjoying the Psychedelic electric guitar break on the previous rendition, but Matt's slightly more restrained violin has me thinking that in terms of improvisation this would be a great opportunity for him to go bonkers in front of a live audience. And soon, I hope. This MCD is a perfect introduction to the awesome talent of these three individuals and is an absolute must.

Troy Southgate, Synthesis

After the nice 'Dark Age' album Cynfeirdd now release a MCD of the British dark folk act While Angels Watch. It contains 4 tracks, which are produced by Matt Howden. Matt also contributes his typical violin sound, while main man Dev is further supported by the lovely voice of Jane Howden. The first track 'Crossing the tide of time' is certainly the highlight. A fine dark romantic song, with piano and violin, the grave vocals of Dev and the second voice by Jane. It has an unexpected atmospheric ending, which is seamlessly followed by the tranquil flowing piece 'Moonchild'. Furthermore this EP contains alternate versions of the album tracks 'Eye for Eye' and 'The Waiting Ground'. These new versions sound very convincing, with more power than the originals. In general this MCD displays a good step forward compared to the album.

Hans D., Funprox

"...the mystical and oneric epos of While Angels Watch returns with four new tracks that follow the previous Dark Age. The musical contents are stylistacally more hetrogeneous and free, in comparison with the past, but always filled with cathartic intensity and romantic suggestions. Dev is accompanied by the sweet voice of Jane Howden, with whom he creates intriguing duets, while rustling harmonies are up to Matt Howden and, of course, his fervent violin. Crossing the Tide of Time opens then, with evocative orations by Dev and Jane, grazed gently first by a melancholic piano and then by airy Nordic reflections. With Moonchild, Dev's elegiac obssessions and Janes soothing voice have the musical support of an acoustic guitar, of sumptuous percussions, and the cutting wild strings of Matt. The begining of the third track, Eye for Eye is introduced with a more essential folk lightness which expands in autumnal ramifications, before exploding in a roaring ascension. The acoustic premonitions, the burning escapes, and the graelic springs of The Waiting Ground makes the solar insignia of our conscience explode, crossing gilded alchemic circles and dark ancestral fortifications... Resounding hearts and temporal celebrations."

Francesco G., Twilight Zone