Alabaster

About this album

These things will be plain to thee
when we stay our steps
on the sad shore of Acheron

Dante

Featuring neo-classical band Daemonia Nymphe, Lys, Francesco Banchini (GoR/Ataraxia); ambience of Oophoi; and Olaf Parusel (Stoa). Opening track evokes Homer’s ‘Iliad’ and Dante’s ‘Inferno’ with pounding ethnic-trance. ‘Paint the Wind’ whirls with warmth and drama. Next, luminous pop and the eccentric, uplifting ‘Waterwood’, where a butterfly rides a bicycle, and a tambourine shimmers in the sea. Sleek production by Brett Taylor soars in ‘Dancing over Acheron’, Acheron being one of the five rivers of the Dead in the classical Greek underworld. Louisa has set music to a poem by Emily Dickinson (who inspired the album-title with imagery of Alabaster chambers), and presents an interpretation of Ophelia in ‘Hamlet’ (Shakespeare/Walsingham). She’s set music to a 16th century poem on mandolin, ‘The Lily and the Rose’. Alabaster presents lavish, progressive pop-rock as it plunges into Siren caverns and dreams. The mythical basis for this album (and its twin to come) is the union of Persephone and Hades: an embrace between life and death.

Recordings are cut like fruit; a pomegranate ready to nourish – or cast a spell.

Features fairy voice, mandolin, flute, percussion, table harp, charango, piano, lyre, bass, ocarina, clarinet.

 

Tracks & Lyrics

#1. The Throng on the Pier

Duration: 3:57

Music / Lyrics: Mark Krol / Louisa John-Krol

Produced by Brett Taylor

Alludes to The Iliad of Homer & Dante’s Inferno.

Featuring neoclassical band Daemonia Nymphe, Greece

Can you see the eyes in the sky?

Can you hear the sign in the rock?

 

I need a room in which to think –

Out on the heath, guiding the leaf

Deliver the boon of eternal life….

 

Can you see him down in the gloom?

Through the white lakes of the moon?

 

Will he come back?

But he died in someone else’s dream

Never to speak of love,

Never to flee the temptations of….

 

Down in the scream of bellowing fear,

Trains arrive for the Throng on the Pier

Bearing gifts from the lost year –

Athena! Love me as much as you can!

#2. The Lily and the Rose

Duration: 5:09

Music / Lyrics: Louisa John-Krol

Produced by Harry Williamson

Featuring Francesco Banchini (GoR/Ataraxia), Italy

The maidens came when I was in

My mother’s bower, I had all that I would

 

The bailey beareth the bell away

The lily, the rose, the rose I lay!

 

The silver is white, red is the gold

The robes they lay in fold

 

And through the glass windows shines the sun

How should I love, and I so young?

#3. Waterwood

Duration: 2:17

Music / Lyrics: Louisa John-Krol

Initial tracks made with Lys in France; production completed in Australia

Way over the windtorn wainscotting waterwood

I saw a butterfly on a bicycle –

Way over the windtorn wainscotting waterwood

I heard a dragonfly brush your pie.

 

Who loves a life too much to die?

Who would make enchanted drops for human eyes?

To see the world through magic eyes:

Wind and water and sun and rain and moon alight!

 

Way over the windtorn wainscotting waterwood

I saw a little girl dancing in a tree –

Way over the windtorn wainscotting waterwood

I heard a tambourine in the sea.

#4. Stone Lake

Duration: 5:38

Music / Lyrics: Mark Krol / Louisa John-Krol

Produced by Brett Taylor

You have traded places with the water

You have traded places with the air

You have carried sorrow to the fire!

Watched it turn to ashes in the rain….

 

Drift through fields of your sand

to where birds sing of their troubles –

And the burdens of the denizens

of cities washed in green flame

 

Step onto the rainbow and fly!

to where an ancient ship waits moored to your pain:

 

Time will drift inside you …Turn your dream to grey

Love will take you over…Lay you like a bay

Stone Lake! (shimmering to fade!) Stone Lake!

 

The anchor flung at last on board, his eyes ablaze with love

for your lost soul hidden in your hair….

You’re the one! You’re the one we’ve been looking for!

Without your mind the prism couldn’t find its lost design –

 

Why do you hide? Why?

When you stumble you look inside, over regions of the sky!

#5. Me and the Machine

Duration: 5:07

Music / Lyrics: Mark Krol / Louisa John-Krol

Produced by Brett Taylor

You sway in the lush torn scarf of my life

Your hands are the tender bow of your mind

You play in the sound of Me and the Machine:

 

No handwriting allowed!

No manuscript of older days,

No Books of Hours –

No calendar of stars,

No calligraphy of love!

No secret letters –

Passed along the Grid,

Sent beyond the Grave….

No handwriting allowed!

 

Me and the Machine

Is this the beautiful me? Or just a machine?

Is this …. Me and the Machine?

 

Me and the Machine

Never said that we agreed

On who was real

And which of us will be

Mistress of the Reel

To define the scene,

And defy the sea –

If I can fool you, can you fool me?

It’s you and me….

You and me and the Machine.

#6. Light on the Wall

Duration: 4:22

Music / Lyrics: Mark Krol / Andrew Persi / Louisa John-Krol

Produced by Brett Taylor

Maybe I should live on the other side of the wood?

well, maybe

And maybe my life is lived somewhere else?

well, maybe

And maybe they’ve buried my thought in salt?

well, maybe

And maybe I’ve seen the face of a ghost?

well, maybe

In your room my tune

Is a moving Loom on a bone

In my home your moan

Is a secret I’ll never know

Light on the Wall, before

I came – to your Night Call

Light on the Wall, before

I came – to your Night Fall

7. The Seventh Ingress

Duration: 3:24

Music (improvisation): Olaf Parusel / Louisa John-Krol, Germany 2001

Instrumental

#8. Paint the Wind

Duration: 3:45

Music / Lyrics: Louisa John-Krol

Initial tracks made with Lys in France

Production completed by Brett Taylor in Australia

Paint the moon, paint your room

Paint the inside of you –

Paint your hair, paint your words

and the Memory of birds –

 

Paint the light, paint the sky

and your wild, wild eyes!

Paint the wind, paint the shadows of your candelabra.

 

And if…

– they pack you in boxes you’ll paint off the lid!

– they shut you in darkness you’ll paint your way out!

– you find yourself falling you’ll catch yourself

somewhere…down low, near the rainbow

where your brushes are starting to grow.

 

Paint your night on the rain

Paint your flight from pain –

Paint the Sun and the Moon

and then tear them apart once again.

 

Paint your heart on your tomb

Sing it red and blue,

Paint your Fall, paint it all

on your crumbling walls –

Oh! Colour the stones where they fall!

Paint the wind, sing the wing

Paint your time of Spring…. paint your Time….

#9. How should I your true love know?

Duration: 3:29

Music: Louisa John-Krol / Mark Krol / Brett Taylor

Lyrics: Shakespeare / Walsingham: Hamlet

Produced by Brett Taylor

How should I your true love know

From another one?

By his cockle hat and staff,

And his sandal shoon.

 

He is dead and gone, lady,

He is dead and gone;

At his head a grass-green turf,

At his heels a stone.

 

White his shroud as the mountain snow,

Larded with sweet flowers;

Which bewept to the grave did go

With his true-love showers.

#10. The Search for Lost Souls – Midnight

Duration: 7:49

Music: Mark Krol / Louisa John-Krol / Brett Taylor

Lyrics: Emily Dickinson: poem 419

Produced by Brett Taylor

We grow accustomed to the Dark –

When Light is put away –

As when the Neighbour holds the Lamp

To witness her Goodbye –

 

A Moment – We uncertain step

For newness of the Night –

Then – fit our vision to the Dark –

And meet the Road – erect –

 

And so of larger – Darknesses –

Those Evenings of the Brain –

When not a Moon disclose a Sign –

Or Star – come out – within

 

The Bravest – grope a little –

And sometimes hit a Tree

Directly in the Forehead –

But as they learn to see –

 

Either the Darkness alters –

Or something in the sight

Adjusts itself to Midnight –

And Life steps almost straight

#11. Approaching the Island of Sirens

Duration: 9:45

Music: Gianluigi Gasparetti (Oophoi), Italy

Lyrics: Louisa John-Krol

Produced by Brett Taylor, Australia & Oophoi in Italy

burning, turning, longing, roaming, glimpsing, murmuring, sshh!

moaning, sinking, seeking, golden, glancing, gold and green,

gleaming, beholding, gloaming, dancing, reaching, seeding, searching,

laden, lushing, glistening, leading, shimmering, luring, touching,

brushing, haaa!!!! gliding, shining, glowing, glimmering, shimmering,

yearning, rolling, in darling, glimpsing, sinking, daring, turning,

whirling, shimmer, golden, hold me! – can’t stand, constant …sshhhh!

hearing, listening, sshh! glistening, gleaming, glancing, glimpsing,

turning, limber-lancing, shimmer…. shimmer… down, ah, hhhhaaa….

#12. Dancing over Acheron

Duration: 8:15

Music / Lyrics: Mark Krol

Music co-composed with Brett Taylor

Produced by Brett Taylor

Dancing with him,

Dancing in my room

Sun and Moon meet,

Me and my Dead Groom –

Aching over,

Aching oh! My dear

Setting sail on, Over Acheron….

 

Inspirations

# 1. The Throng on the Pier

Refers to a battle-scene in ‘The Iliad’ by Homer and to Dante’s ‘Inferno’.

This song also took form in the shadow of events on September 11, 2001 in New York.

Give me the best of your love

Homer

#2. The Lily and the Rose

An anonymous 16th century love poem, which might describe plague, rape, or love.

Set to original melody by Louisa John-Krol.

#3. Waterwood

For my niece Lucy, after she had an operation on her eyes. I was thinking of how in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Puck sprinkles magic dew into eyes of mortals. Can we see the world through the eyes of a child, with wonder?

#4. Stone Lake

Lakes south-east of Melbourne (Blue-Stone Lake… Moondarra…) shine with translucent light.

Our oceans are pristine yet treacherous. I have swum in waves coming up from Antarctica, wild and clear. Sand like velvet, the shoreline shines like a mirror, but the tide is stronger than human will.

#5. Me and the Machine

A parody of ego / alter-ego, identity / image in our technocratic age. What powers are unleashed? What feelings are repressed, denied or forbidden?

#6.  Light on the Wall

How much of our experience is bound to this dimension?

How much of this world is a dream, how many other versions of us dwell in Parallel lives?

And we came to the end

Where nothing was luminous

Dante

#7. The Seventh Ingress 

Improvisation with Olaf Parusel (Stoa), made in Halle, Germany 2001;

Part of a series of sketches, we kept this one in its original form. From his window I could see the buildings and skies over Halle.

Up from the Earth’s Centre through the Seventh Gate

I rose and on the Throne of Saturn sate…

Ruaiyat of Omar Khayyam

#8. Paint the Wind

Dedicated to the creative expressionist Karan Wicks, who contributed cover-paintings for my 3rd (previous) CD Ariel and Australian & American editions of my 2nd CD Alexandria.

The harvest of bliss or woe will be according to the seed-time of this life.

Bathsua Makin

#9. How should I your true love know?

Ophelia sings this song of grief over her father’s death and Hamlet’s apparent estrangement, later drowning herself. For me, Ophelia’s death is more poignant than Shakespeare’s other female suicides such as Lady Macbeth or Juliet, for they wielded power over men, whereas Ophelia strikes me as the sweetest, loneliest, most fragile of women.

#10.  The Search for Lost Souls – Midnight

Music by Louisa set to lyrics of Poem 419 by Emily Dickinson. (For this poem, see Lyric page.)

Here is another of Emily’s poems, which inspired the album’s title:

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers –

Untouched by Morning –

And untouched by Noon –

Lie the meek members of the Resurrection –

Rafter of Satin – and Roof of Stone!

Emily Dickinson

#11. Approaching the Island of Sirens

Leading our voyage are Sirens, whose intentions are ambiguous: to guide us to safety, or draw us more deeply into depths of the sea?

With lips parted, and eyes dim with wonder,

he sat idle in his boat and listened,

listening till the sea-mists crept around him,

and the wandering moon strained his brown limbs with silver.

Oscar Wilde

#12. Dancing over Acheron

Ghosts of a bride and her groom dance over one of the five rivers of Hades.

…the light shades bound to Pluto’s realm…

with swift bark passed by the Sirens’ shore.

Tibullus

 

Credits

Label

2002, Prikosnovenie, www.prikosnovenie.com

Composition

Louisa John-Krol / Mark Krol / Brett Taylor

except #3: co-written with Andrew Persi

#7: improvisation of Louisa and Olaf Parusel (Stoa)

#9: Ophelia’s song in Hamlet (Shakespeare/Walsingham)

#12: ambient composition with Gianluigi Gasparetti (Oophoi)

Performance / Instrumentation

Louisa John-Krol: vocals (all songs), recitation (Ophelia), chimes, ocarina, acoustic guitar, fishnet, mandolin

Brett Taylor: male vox #5, voice of the ‘machine’ #6, keyboard/piano, bass guitar, classical & electric guitars, Chapman Stick, Rickenbacker, firesticks, drums, tambourine, blue elephants & other percussion, programming

Evi Stergiou (Daemonia Nymphe): female vocals & table harp #1

Spyros Giasafakis (Daemonia Nymphe): recitations & lyre #1

Nikodemos Triaridis (Daemonia Nymphe): tympani #1

Samantha Taylor: treble recorder & flute #4

Olaf Parusel (Stoa): keyboard #7

Francesco Banchini (GoR/Ataraxia): clarinet B flat, chalumeau, bendhir #10

Harry Williamson (Faraway): paper drum, classical guitar, charango #10

Gianluigi Gasparetti (Oophoi): ambient passage from ‘Time Fragments’ – synths/waves/drones, whirl tubes, tibetan singing bowls – #12

Production

Engineered, programmed, mixed, mastered by Brett Taylor at Pilgrim Arts, Australia

Daemonia Nymphe parts #1 engineered by Nikodemos Triaridis at Q studio, Greece

Lys recording of initial tracks #2 & #4 by Fred Chaplain at Prikosnovenie, France

improvisation Olaf/Louisa #7 by Olaf Parusel at Stoa studio, Germany

mandolin, vocal #6, #10 engineered by Harry Williamson at Spring studio, Australia

GoR parts #10 engineered by Luis Siciliano at Jacklang Production studio, Italy

siren ambience #12 by Gianluigi Gasparetti (Oophoi) at The Kiva, Italy. R.I.P, dear Gigi.

Visual Art

Cover painting & all graphic design: Sabine-Adelaide.

Photography of Louisa: James Painter

Thanks in addition to those credited above

Our Love & Thanks to Fred, Sabine-Adelaide, staff & artists at Prikosnovenie; the musicians as named; our family; friends especially Liz Van Dort, Richard, Carole, Peter, Hisai, Jen, Bec, Rad, Anna, blackdog & all at DHS; our listeners; Liam; the Faeries; our distributors; supporters in radio / net / print especially Tolis & Mary (Paradox Ethereal), Leonidas, Nuit des Sauriens, Dark Star Rising, Cdbaby, June, Ferruccio, Jett, Sonya, Jan, Victor, Claudia, Emilio, Craig, Emmanuel, Philip, Peter, Elmar (Zillo), Yannick Blay (D-Side), Francesco Palumbo (Vampiria), Frederic Cotton (Khimaira / lefantastique), Alyz Tale (Elegy), Séba Dolimont & Stéphane Froidcoeur (Side-Line).

‘Paint the Wind’ is a tribute to the painter Karan Wicks

‘The Throng on the Pier’ refers to Homer’s Iliad & Dante’s Inferno

Copyright LJK/MK/BT 2001-2003

 

Reviews

“Louisa John-Krol’s Alabaster is a phenomenal record. She takes her mythical tales and sets them to bewitching melodies. Opener ‘The Throng on the Pier’ is…lovely yet scary. The intensity of the music and vocal’s Kate Bushean enchantment are apparent. ‘The Lily and the Rose’ sees an old text by an anonymous poet set to a marvelous melody and a folk song is born. I’m sure these songs with their wealth of influences and historical references will appeal to many. ‘Light on the Wall’ is a lovely, densely throbbing song. John-Krol’s vocals are outstanding. This is a treasure of an album.”

Anna Maria Stjarnell for Collected Sounds (once a webzine, now a blog), Sweden

“The 4th full length album of the Australian Queen of new-age and esotericism was really worth to wait! I became totally devoted to the sound of Louisa after the marvellous ‘Alexandria’ and ‘Ariel’ albums. L.J.K sounds to me like the reincarnation of an elf…. The concept of ‘Alabaster’ is about the union of Persephone and Hades or embrace between life and death… while musically realizing an evolution into other fields, ‘Alabaster’ sounds still full of reverie and fairies while the prosperity of the music remains once more a velvet caress to the ears. The main evolution is that the new songs are more open-minded, like moving through the limits of new-age. The 2nd cut for example ‘The Lily and the Rose’ reminds me to the jazzy wafting style of Poalo Conte. Biggest surprise is yet to come entitled ‘Me and the Machine’. This song moves more into fusion between pop and rock, kind of offspring between Madonna and Garbage! This is miles away from the comparison I often made with Enya, but I assure you that I was totally healthy when listening to this album! Another different song is ‘Approaching the Island of Sirens’: whispering vocals become the shadow of the music… closer to ambient. With ‘Dancing over Acheron’ we get a surprise (maybe a shock for some fans): this is pure dance while some vocals have been treated by vocoder. I personally enjoy this evolution (yet) reassure the heaviest fans that most songs are faithful to (Louisa’s) familiar style. Songs like ‘Waterwood’ and ‘The Search for Lost Souls – Midnight’ remind to the floating ambiance of the ‘Ariel’ album. It smells like the green of nature…’Stone Lake’ is another, which reminds to the past. An impressive list of familiar guests like Daemonia Nymphe, Francesco Banchini (Gor/Ataraxia) and Harry Williamson (Faraway) contributed to this production! Again an essential piece in addition of your cd collection!”

Side-Line Magazine, Issue 44, (DP:8/9)DP, Belgium

“Louisa John Krol is no stranger to the fairy voices lovers. All the albums previous to this Alabaster granted her comparisons with names such as Emilia Torrini or Kate Bush, but the excellency… still refuses paths taken by other artists, and keeps firm in her experimental and musical fusion way. In Ariel, Alexandria, Argo and, now, Alabaster you can see Louisa John Krols tendency for albums starting with the letter A. A sort of conducting line, since in terms of music this lady is so unpredictable as the time in April. Alabaster puts all in a wonderful melting-pot, which results in a beautiful juice which is at the same time impressive and amazing, impossible to taste in all its greatness at the first time, and which leaves a different taste in the mouth every time you drink a bit. Louisas music is the result of the influences soup and from the usage of instruments as lire, clarinet, tablas, ocarina, etc, besides the usual piano, acoustic guitar, etc. If I have to describe the musical spectre in Alabaster, I would start by the musical influences, and apocalyptic – almost Bjrk-ish – from the opening track The Throne on the Pier and end in the Electronic daring Dancing Over Acheron, stopping by in the atmospheric Approaching the Island of Sirens and the almost trip-rock of Stone Lake. With her, Louisa assembles old friends, as almost all the Daemonia Nymphe line-up, Francesco Banchini, who spreads his magic in The Lily and the Rose and other guests as Brett Taylor, Harry Williamson (Faraway) or Gianluigi Gasparetti (Oophoi), who gather their talents to the charm of Louisas voice, to complete an album which will hardly find concurrence in the fairy voices chapter this year. Not only because of the voice, but also because of all the composition and instrumentalisation that it keeps inside. (9/10)”

Fernando Reis, Feedback Magazine, Portugal

“Louisa John-Krol, a siren hailing from the land of Australia, returns with her latest release on the Prikosnovenie label. Departing in style from her previous works, Louisa offers us what may be her finest album to date. Alabaster is an upbeat blend of her familiar neo-folk sound with elements from the Dreampop genre. We also hear contributions from label-mates Daemonia Nymphe and Gor, as well as special guest Olaf Parusel from the band Stoa. Of special note (pun intended!) is the song Light on the Wall, destined to become a club classic among the black-clad.”

The Sorcerer of Sound for Dark Star Rising , USA
(NB: Dark Star Rising started in 2000 as a radio program on KRCL 90.9 FM in Salt Lake City, Utah. From May 2005, the show was carried by WRFN 98.9 in Pasquo, Tennessee. Hosted by the Sorcerer of Sound, the show ushered in “an eclectic mix of all genres mysterious & unusual — the true underbelly of the musical underground”. As its site www.etherealgoth.net is under construction, we suggest the best contact is the Sorcerer himself, via his myspace site above.)

“Mandolin, flute, percussion, table harp, charango, piano, lyre, bass, ocarina, clarinet and, above all, Louisa’s voice, are brought together on her fourth album, Alabaster. Louisa has a rich, warm voice that can suddenly leap to hit a high note with consummate ease. The charango, by the way, is a South American lute with its back traditionally fashioned from an armadillo. Some may regard this as a good use for the animal, but I assume that no armadillos were specifically harmed during production of this recording. The CD (and its twin to come) is mythically based on the union of Persephone and Hades – an embrace between life and death, but the meaning of specific content, whilst highly suggestive, is obscure and in places quite surreal, reflecting a series of individual visions, though they may reference mythological and literary sources. ‘The Throng on the Pier’ (with participants from the the Greek Daemonia Nymphe project) opens the album with Louisa at her most Kate-Bush-like…’The Lily and the Rose’ features Renaissance lyrics with a nice sounding period melody by Louisa. The track is assisted by Francesco Banchini of GOR and Harry Williamson of Faraway, and its one of my favourites. ‘Waterwood’ is a light piece of surreal whimsy with a child-like quality. ‘Me and the Machine’ appears to address the encroachment of dehumanising mechanisation. A slowish start features a vocoded voice (“the machine”) and bleepy, gurgly electronics. It’s quite upbeat pop-rock, the sort of thing you might have got from Madonna in her brief darkwave period. ‘The Seventh Ingress’ is a slow reflective song in neoclassical style beautifully sung with the assistance of Olaf Parusel of Stoa, which Louisa has long admired. ‘How should I your true Love know?’ is Ophelia’s song from Hamlet, sung appropriately in a sweet, melancholy whisper. Like much of Louisa’s work, musical elements are cleverly combined but the artifice is never too obvious. ‘Approaching the Island of Sirens’ features ethereal vocals against an ambient composition with Gianluigi Gasparetti (of Oophoi). Lash yourselves to the mast: this is truly captivating. The closing track, ‘Dancing over Acheron’, has some very stereophonic panning sounds, develops in a gently melancholic neoclassical direction and then moves into ghostly vocoded vocals and an electronic dance rhythm. Acheron, which means “river of woe”, is the name of one of the five rivers of Hades and often stands metaphorically for Hades itself. This musically varied but coherent album appeals in both its detail and its totality and I commend it to those who enjoy the softer, but no less valuable, manifestation of dreampop.”

Rik, Flux Europa, England

“The fairy Louisa keeps surprising. Her fourth album is like a new treasure box, even richer than Ariel and Alexandria – all spiritual pearls and sounds brought back from fantasy land. Prestigious guests are invited, such as Daemonia Nymphe (“The Throng on the Pier”), Francesco Banchini (GoR, “The Lily and the Rose”), Olaf Parusel (sToa, on crystal-like “The Seventh Ingress”), Harry Williamson (Faraway), and Gianluigi Gasparetti (Oophoi, “Approaching the Island of Sirens”). If the album’s main theme is the union between Persephone and Hades, it is also about friendship and exchange, two never ending sources of inspiration. Aside mellow and dreamy ballads (“The Search for Lost Souls”, based on a poem by American Emily Dickinson; “Throng..”, based on Dante and Homer; the moving “Waterwood” with its night bird flutes), Louisa John-Krol, whose honey-like voice is a pure pleasure, keeps experimenting with songs more pop-rock (“Stone Lake”, “Paint the Wind”, dedicated to the painter Karan Wicks, and mostly “Me and the Machine” which strangely reminds of Garbage regardless of the mandolin!). There, the gifted production of Brett Taylor makes it a wonder – Nevertheless, it is at the very end of the album that the biggest surprise comes: a semi-hidden track, techno “Dancing over Acheron”, electronic sounds in the instruments and voices uniquely elegant, Alabaster is a pleasure which grows after each listening. It is maybe beautiful Louisa’s best album and we can’t wait to see her on stage very soon.”

Frederic Cotton (translation: Philippe Lambrechts), Khimaira Magazine, Belgium

“LJK’s new album is her most eclectic yet, and has more in common with Kate Bush (circa Never for Ever) or Happy Rhodes than with Loreena McKennitt, with whom she’s often compared. Renaissance-flavored ‘The Lily and the Rose’ and stately, Shakespeare-derived ‘How Should I Your True Love Know?’ are the anomalous pieces here. Most of the material finds LJK stretching her wings. The opening ‘Throng on the Pier’ is orchestral pop, similar in sound to the work Dead Can Dance’s Brendan Perry explored on “Into the Labyrinth” and solo. ‘Paint the Wind’ and ‘Stone Lake’ flirt with straightforward folkpop craft of the Innocence Mission, while ‘The Seventh Ingress’ and ‘Approaching the Island of Sirens’ move into ambient soundscapes. Lyrically, LJK explores fantastical and mythological themes – she uses the texture of fantasy much the same way that Rhodes uses science fiction imagery. ‘Light on the Wall’ is about leading parrallel lives, while ‘Waterwood’ uses whimsical fairy imagery (butterflies on bicycles, tambourines in the sea) to describe looking at the world with childlike wonder. Prog-rockish ‘Me and the Machine’ pits our heroine against technology, with a non-Luddite conclusion – complete with computer generated voices, while ‘Throng’ refers to the Illiad. At first listen, it appears that LJK has thrown her net and little too far and wide. But her glorious soprano voice is the silver thread that holds this tapestry together. Midway between Bush and McKennitt, its crystalline purity holds the album together; her voice is the thematic continuity… Whether whooping like a Bacchante at the end of ‘Throng’, or wordlessly soaring in ‘Ingress’, it never fails to thrill. Her serene vocals bridge the gap between the dreamy acoustics of Emily Dickinson’s poem set to music, ‘The Search for Lost Souls–Midnight’ and wild Bjork-esque electronica of the closing ‘Dancing Over Acheron.’ With Alabaster, LJK moves to the forefront of the pantheon of progressive women.”

Craig L. Gidney, Ethereality List & Ecto List, USA

“If the invitation to the dream is universal, there is no doubt that the charm of Louisa John Krol crosses the oceans to come to touch us deeply, and, taking us by the hand, Louisa makes us discover, private guests, the world which she weaves, this cocoon of serenity. As a dreamcatcher, Louisa catalyses the essence of these too rare introspective journeys, which we surely miss by lack of time in this too fast world, revitalizes our imaginary, the fairies of our childhood appear not so far, and return to oneself is done carefully. Nevertheless, far from being only contemplative, Louisa’s work aims to be dynamic and although largely imaginary, the link with a tough reality points its nose, living by a thin melancholy line running through “Alabaster”, fourth opus of an already major work. Far from resting on medieval (“Stone Lake”) or atmospheric (“How Should your True Love Know ?) excellence, Louisa John Krol goes deeper, and with maestria, towards brillant pop almost Gothic, as evidence the essentials “Light on the Wall” and “Me and the Machine”, or even an astonishing futurist approach on the last title “Dancing over Acheron”. Sung all in moderation and beauty, the enchanteress voice carry each landscape and creates light contrasts, these crystal reflections on the lake surface, shining and which captivate your glance, and we readily let ourselves be hypnotized, to fall into this so soft torpor (“The Search for Lost Souls – Midnight”). Alabaster is beautiful, quite simply.”

Nik, www.obskure.com, France

“Zum vierten Mal gewhrt uns die Australische Vokalistin und Instrumentalistin Louisa John-Krol einen intimen Einblick in ihre mythologisch geprgte Welt. Alabaster vereint eine Reihe sensibler Kleinode, wie etwa die rituell anmutende Interpretation von Dante und Homer The Throng On The Pier. Gemeinsam mit Gor- und Ataraxia-Trommler Francesco Banchini inszeniert sie mit romantischen Holzblasinstrumenten die schwermutige Ballade The Lily And The Rose. Whrend das schwrmerische Stck Stone Lake noch vertrumte Bilder der australischen Heimat zeichnet, kommen in Me And The Machine erstmals europische Einflsse zum Tragen. In ungewhnlich rockiger Manier erweitert die zarte Stimme ihr musikalisches Spektrum um eine spannende Note. hnlich wie Mila Mar scheut sie kein Experiment, wenn es darum geht, den inhaltlichen Reichtum ber ihre Genregrenzen hinaus aufzubereiten. So hrt man auf diesem Album Techno-Rhythmen neben exotischen Mandolinen genauso wie elektronische Samples auf zerbrechlichen Gesangslinien. Doch letztlich ist es genau diese Risikobereitschaft, die das Album von den vielen Heavenly-Voice-Produktionen abhebt. Natrlich spricht die ergreifende Magie etwa des zehnmintigen Approaching The Island Of Sirens Bnde  doch andererseits beweist Alabaster eindrucksvoll, dass es eben auch anders geht.”

Elmar Klemm, Zillo Magazine, Germany

“Le monde de Louisa John-Krol sagrandit dalbum en album et sa nouvelle cration, ” Alabaster “, constitue un vritable petit univers  elle seule. Un univers dartistes pour le moins allchants : Olaf Parusel (Stoa), Francesco Banchini (GOR, Ataraxia), Daemonia Nymphe, Harry Williamson (Faraway), etc., et un univers de sons feriques typiques de Louisa John-Krol : mandoline, piano, percussions, etc., mais aussi de nouveaux sons bien plus surprenants Louisa a en effet dcid dinclure des sonorits lectroniques  son univers et des morceaux comme ” Me and the Machine ” (aux accents presque ” garbagiens “) ou ” Dancing over Acheron ” nous exposent une facette de Louisa jusque-l inconnue. La Dame dfend dailleurs trs bien son point de vue quant  lintrusion dlments synthtiques dans sa musique, et nous la comprenons tout  fait, quoi de pire que la stagnation artistique ? Louisa volue et cest trs bien. Ceci dit, nous avouons ne pas tre fans de ce morceau ” dancefloor ” et continuons de prfrer le versant ferique et organique de son travail. Hormis ce titre droutant, cet ” Alabaster ” (hommage  Emily Dickinson) est une vritable russite, un petit bijou de posie et de beaut comme seule Louisa John-Krol sait les faire.”

Alyz Tale, Elegy Magazine #27, France

“Ancestral Australian composer returns with a new CD, this time celtic-faeric roots meet new stylistic contaminations and experimentations. Moreover compositions of Alabaster contain fancy and inspiration of artists like: Olaf Parusel (Stoa), Francesco Banchini (Gor), Daemonia Nymphe, Oophoi and many more. We meet therefore interesting heterogeneous atmospheres and charming iridescent landscapes, every track is extremely cured and introduces intriguing agreements, and Louisas voice has always something magical. In the hemispheres by the Mediterranean, Celtic, ethereal inks, we find sonorous sources of The Throng On The Pier (ridden remote), The Lily And The Roses (danced white water-lily), Light On The Wall (arboreal arabesques). Charming horizons more dream-pop for Waterwood, Stone Lake, Paint In The Wind, unknown for stylistic formulations: Me And The Machine (with seed-distorted voice). Neoclassical nocturnes in The Seventh Ingress, How Should…. Approaching The Island Of Sirens. And finally Dancing Over Acheron, ethereal atmospheres on techno-world rhythms. The bright pilgrimage of melody.”

Twilight Zone, USA

“Durchscheinende, mamorhnliche Gipsart. Ein Synonym fr Schnheit. Und der Titel des neuen, atemberaubenden Album der australischen Faerie Tale Woman LOUISA JOHN-KROL. Ihr Faible fr Titel, die mit dem ersten Buchstaben des Alphabets beginnen, hat nun schon mittlerweile Tradition. Argo, Alexandria, Ariel, Alabaster. Und ber-haupt Alabaster. Hier wandelt die Ge-schichtenerzhlerin mit schlafwandlerischer Sicherheit zwischen den Stilen, was gerade aus diesem Album ihr wohl vielschichtigstes und auch abwechslungsreichstes macht. Die Verwandtschaften zu Lorrena McKennitt sind zwar noch vorhanden, vor allem in vertrum-ten Balladen wie How should I your true love know?, aber Alabaster enthlt viel mehr, wie das trip hoppige Me And The Machine, das rockige Paint The Wind und die minutise Tranceovation Dancing Over Acheron beweisen. Derweil sie in Light On The Wall die Pfade der Worldmusic beschreitet, entwickelt sie in The Seventh Ingress eine fast schon sakrale Heiligkeit und wandelt in The Search For Lost Souls Midnight sowie Stone Lake auf harmonischen Traumpfaden, die man, einmal betreten, so schnell nicht mehr verlas-sen mchte. Alabaster ist nicht durch-scheinend, Alabaster ist scheinend. Und wunderschn!”

Eclipsed, Germany

“Louisa John Krol’s new CD Alabaster (Prik 069), follow up to the excellent Ariel from 2001 has just been released on Prikosnovenie records. After rating Ariel so highly, I was apprehensive about hearing Alabaster. Louisa seems to be diversifying more and more. Some of the songs are surreal pop, without self conciousness or irony (e.g. Waterwood, or Me and the Machine). Stone Lake is tougher more demanding introspection. There is a Tudor love lyric set to music -The Lily and the Rose – along with a poem by Emily Dickinson, The Search for Lost Souls-Midnight. The release is completed with two very contrasting tracks; Approaching the Island of Sirens is experimental whilst Dancing Over Acheron a dance track which could easily be played in the clubs. Like many Prikosnovenie releases, the work is colourfully and elegantly packaged with quotes from Homer, Dante, and Omar Khay yam displayed on the sleeve. There is increasing interest in Louisa’s work in Europe, and an Autumn 2003 tour is planned with Francesco Banchini (GOR/Ataraxia). Alabaster certainly showcases the imagination and many talents of Louisa John Krol very well.”

Mike Shankland, Oriflamme journal, England

“Desde Australia esta artista nos presenta este, su cuarto lbum lleno de talento, misterio y belleza. Aunque antes de or este lbum yo no sabia mucho de Louisa John Krol ni de su msica, pero ahora con solo escuchar este trabajo una y otra vez, me he quedado muy a gusto con el estilo de msica y letra y la calidad del mismo. Ella combina unos estilos ms etreos y neo-clsicos con un toque de la msica celtica. Con este lbum tenemos una joya preciosa llena de valor para cualquier amante de las voces femeninas y la msica ms a la etrea y celtita. Aparte de lo que nos presenta ella misma, tambin colabora unos msicos bastante famosos en este estilo de msica. Muchos conocern los talentos de Francesco Banchini (Gor) y Olaf Parusel (Stoa) y otros tambin. Adems, hay preciosas partes en que la letra est escrito por la poetisa Emily Dickenson y incluyendo Ophelia’s Song de Hamlet de Shakespeare. Aqu lo tienes en resumen lo que contiene, un CD lleno de talento y buena msica. Pero quiero tomar unas lneas para dar un poco ms de mi opinin personal y una descripcin ms adecuada sobre el contenido de este disco. Y as todos puedan saber bien si vale la pena comprarlo o no, que seguro que dirs que s! A mi me gusta mucho este estilo de msica etrea, especialmente con el toque de los elementos clticos. Es tranquilo en su mayora, pero tiene algunas cosillas ms marchosas, especialmente el ltimo tema DANCING OVER ACHERON que es ms electrnico con ritmo ms a lo tecno. Para m, esto me gusta porque aunque es un estilo totalmente distinto, todava tiene algo ambiental con el ritmo y la msica. Ms o menos los dems temas siguen lo normal de esta msica, unos ms que otros, y unos ms del estilo pop y alternativa que no son mis favoritos. Pero pueden ser preferidos a los que les gusta la msica de Kate Bush o Natalie Merchant. Por ejemplo, los primeros tres temas son unos de mis favoritos porque son un poco ms oscuros, o mas clsicos. Luego, APPROACHING THE ISLAND OF SIRENS que es la penltima cancin que dura casi 10 minutos es una maravilla de la msica ambiental. Te quedas as en un estado hipnotizado mientras lo escuchas. Me imagino que podra seguir escribiendo mucho ms sobre cada cancin de este lbum, pero solo quiero decir que en resumen es algo que realmente recomiendo a los amantes de la msica etrea.”

A Defuncion, Spain

“Le nouveau Louisa John-Krol offre son lot de surprises. Beaucoup plus vari que d’habitude, il fait l’talage de sonorits lectroniques et d’arrangements inattendus voire indits chez le couple (Louisa compose avec son mari Mark Krol). On doit certainement cela l’omniprsence du producteur arrangeur Brett Taylor. Des titres comme “Me and the Machine” mlant les machines une orgie de guitare ou “Dancing over Acheron” au beat electro-dance et enjou (Louisa prvoit d’ailleurs un album entier du mme style!) sont pour le moins inattendus. Les autres morceaux, plus proches de ce que l’on connat de l’Australienne, sont particulirement russis: l’lgiaque “Throng to the Pier”, “Paint the Wind”, un hommage  l’artiste Karan Wicks responsable de certaines de ses pochettes, “How should I your true Love know” qui pourrait trs bien illustrer le fameux tableau Ophelia du prraphalite John Everett Millais. Toujours aussi littraire, Louisa s’inspire aussi de Dante ou de la mythologie grecque, ainsi que de la potesse amricaine Emily Dickinson (“The Search for Lost Souls – Midnight” ainsi que l’intitul de l’album, inspir par l’un de ses pomes “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers Lie the meek members of the Resurrection”). Le rsultat est somptueux, riche et cohrent et Louisa John-Krol semble capable d’mouvoir quels que soient les collaborateurs (ici Francesco Banchini alias Gor, Olaf Parusel de Stoa) ou les genres musicaux.”

Yannick Blay for D-Side Magazine, (Ceased publication end of 2010 after 60 issues), France

“Quatrième album de Louisa John-Krol, “Alabaster”, sil demeure rsolument orient vers les ambiances féériques et les sonorités folkloriques qui caractérisent la blonde Australienne, emprunte cette fois quelques chemins de traverse parfois bien surprenants. Aux incursions pop décelées sur le précédent opus “Ariel” et largement représentées ici, Louisa vient y ajouter ça et là quelques touches synthétiques qui loin de dénaturer l’onirisme habituel de ses compositions, leur confèrent une dimension tout à fait intéressante (Dancing over Acheron). Et si les références à Loreena McKennitt ne risquent pas de s’estomper avec cet opus (Paint the Wind), la participation de divers collaborateurs tels Olaf Parusel (Stoa), Harry Williamson (Faraway), Francesco Banchini (GoR/Ataraxia) ou les Grecs de Daemonia Nymphes vient apporter une diversité de couleurs et de styles salvatrice au pouvoir évocateur de cet album. Éléments centraux d”Alabaster”, le chant et la guitare acoustique, ici pauls de percussions, flûtes, clarinette ou lyre nous transportent vers des contrées bien plus lointaines que l’Australie natale de la belle. Un bien beau voyage lyrique aussi bien influencé par les écrits d’Homer que ceux d’Oscar Wilde, Emily Dickinson ou Dante.”

Stephane Leguay, Premotion Magazine, France

“Alabaster treats us to atmospheric music with romantic and ethereal qualities Instrumentation is very diverse, dominantly acoustic in nature: mandolin, flute, harp, piano, lyre. On top of that the voice of Louisa leads the songs, reminding at times of Kate Bush. A little medieval, a bit eastern, it will be appreciated by lovers of Dead Can Dance or Loreena McKennitt. On Stone Lake Louisas voice makes me think a little of Madonna (think Frozen). Truly an album with a rich sound in which there is a lot to discover”

Funprox

“E’ sempre un piacere, ascoltare la bella voce della musa australiana Louisa John Krol. La sua musica, cos semplice, cos genuina, ha il potere di evocare in noi paesaggi dilatati, Eden nascosti, immagini sfocate perse nell’immensit del vuoto, quell’assenza di barriere fisiche che richiama le sconfinate distese della sua terra. “Alabaster”, ultima creazione di quest’anima s delicata, vanta collaborazioni illustri, sia in ambito compositivo. E’ musica che necessita certo predisposizione all’ascolto, leggiadra come il volo della farfalla, rigenerante come la brezza serotina nell’immobile  calura di una giornata estiva. Come definire altrimenti “The throng on the Pier” (con riferimenti lirici  all’Iliade ed alla Divina Commedia), e “Waterwood”, capaci di cristallizzare in una goccia d’ambra  le nostre emozioni rimandandole all’infinito, o l’eterea “Stone Lake”? Commuove  “The search for lost souls – Midnight”, testo di Emily Dickinson, uno dei tre brani che a livello lirico  non sono appannaggio dei due Krol, Louisa e Mark (gli altri titolano “The lily and the rose”, ballata d’autore rimasto anonimo del XVI secolo, ed il riuscito recitato “How should I your true love know”, il canto d’Ofelia dello shespirino Amleto), un’interpretazione squisita supportata da finissimi ceselli strumentali, e tanta artefatta new-age mai riuscir a raggiungere tali picchi emozionali. L’elettronica fa la sua decisa comparsa in “Me and the Machine”, quasi a la Sneaker Pimps, un brano incredibilmente moderno, perfettamente incastonato nel finissimo diadema che compone “Alabaster”. Opportunamente sostenuto, potrebbe divenire a breve un piccolo hit underground. L’atmosfera torna a rarefarsi in “Light on the wall”, dalle screziature percussive ambient che presto lasciano il campo a ritmiche etno. “The seventh ingress”  improvvisazione pura, qui  Olaf Parusel a de-strutturare il pezzo, e la nostra Lys a prestare il magnifico strumento della quale Madre Natura l’ha dotata, la voce! Un cono d’ombra vela questa piece, eclissando il nostro sentire. La vigorosa “Paint the wind” omaggia il pittore Karan Wicks, di “How should I…” e di “The search of lost souls…” abbiamo scritto, residuano i lunghi “Approaching the Island od Sirens” (davvero,  il canto delle Sirene!) e “Dancing over Acheron”, entrambi ben oltre gli otto minuti, e non sono certo bastanti! Come saziare cotanto deso d’Ambrosia? Si torna cos ad indugiare su queste note, abbandonandosi mollemente alla contemplazione. Grafica spettacolare, confezione digipack immancabilmente curatissima. Ah, Prikosnovenie benedetta, tu ci vizi!”

Hadrianus, Ver Sacrum, Italy

“Medieval folk is the term sometimes used to classify LJKs faerie music though this seems shortsighted. While many artists in her genre may suffer from a region-centric sound, John-Krol’s music covers experiences of many locales and eras, hence is an ever-changing array of sounds. She successfully melds the old and new into a modern context. The title Alabaster was inspired by an Emily Dickinson poem and the theme of the album is influenced by legendary figures such as Persephone, Hades, Ophelia, Homer and Dante. John-Krol collaborated with a geographically diverse group of musicians and utilized a wide range of musical instruments, both ancient and modern including mandolin, guitar, keyboards, ethnic percussion and a gorgeous Middle-Eastern inspired clarinet, played by Italian musician Francesco Banchini. The most prominent instrument throughout is John-Krol’s blissful unifying voice. Although the central theme of Alabaster is not exactly contemporary, two songs stand out that deviate wildly from the general mood and tempo. Dancing over Acheron is a mostly instrumental electronica track. The other, the Garbage-sounding Me and the Machine, tells of anxiety of the automaton-like existence of modern day humanity and our so-called freedom in a inorganic age of technology. It is in songs such as these that John-Krol’s flexible and experimental style can especially be heard. Yet, though she doesn’t limit herself soley to the genre known as medieval folk, she definitely has a mastery of this theme. This, combined with her genre-bending musical style proves her to be a compelling artist.”

Ron Sawyer, Fiend Magazine, Australia
(NB. R. Sawyer was based in Paris when he wrote this review and attended our show at La Loco. He later interviewed me for Livid Looking Glass Magazine, produced in North America.)

“Australie La Sirene Louisa: Les reves de LJK ne sont pas de ce monde. Ils appartiennent a un univers merveilleux, fait de contes et de mythes, dont elle seule a la cle. Entouree dune pleiade dinstrumentistes de talent, la fee des antipodes qui a pass son enfance dans le bush autralien, nous conduit, mandoline au bras, sur des sentiers imaginaries ou se croisent Dante et Shakespeare, Homere et la poetesse Emily Dickinson. Un voyage emouvant ou les sonorites acoustiques melent leur raffinement a dhypotiques nappes electroniques.”

Témoignage chrétien, No. 28, J.-E.P. June 2003. No.3064, France

“Sensitive vocal cords result in a melody, whose diagonalness appears in a elegischen dream. Crystal-clearly the voice, light vibrations in the throat supports from bold dark tones, but with emotion whose feeling visits the cool world with a warm sunbeam. Louisa goes just as unemcumbered and leichtfuessing… as the young Kate Bush… itself abandoned on a betoerenden sound… The potential fully exhausting and with consciousness to possess a perfect instrumentation underbody sits down to Louisa into the children’s room, plays and enjoys of a nearly unreal world.

Andreas (abbreviation of a review), Anvil magazine, Germany

“If a word only one were to define Alabaster would be melody Epique and fougeuse on The Throng and the Pier or more medievale for the duet mandoline/pink guitar of The lily then total reversal of environment with the pop one, in a pure style Garbagien, of Me and the Machine. Here, Louisa seeks new horizons and tries new experiments, daring but successful. The Seventh Ingress, which follows the frenzy of Light on the Wall, is none other than an improvisation keyboard/song between Olaf Parusel de Stoa and Louisa. Much more contemplative and sad, the voice of the Australian fairy takes a width and a depth close to the divine, without never leaving its silky natural softness, almost maternal. Pop Paint the Wind pays homage to the painter Karan Wicks, while Shakespeare is put sublimely in music thanks to How should I your True Love know? whereas Approaching the island of Sirens is inserted in ambient opaque loan of mysticism. Last surprise will come from Dancing over Acheron straightforwardly dancefloor. Certain titles remain engraved in the memory quasi-instantanement and one surprises oneself to whistle them, because musicalement they have all that it is necessary to cling to the brain. Sometimes the surprises hide where they less are awaited.”

Chronicles of the Author, Infratunes, France

“Your music is extremely beautiful but it leaves people wanting more ;-)”

Typh, posted at Louisa’s Myspace,15 April 2007, Country unknown

“it was me who gave the organisers a magazine to put in your dressing room… I enjoyed the concert a lot, especially the last song ‘The Lily and the Rose’ (from Alabaster), which is my personal favourite.” (Following show in Bruxelles 2003)

Henk Vereecken, via email, 13 Jan 2004, Belgium

“I enjoyed this album (Alabaster), and maybe more than ‘Ariel’… ‘Dancing over Acheron’ has something hypnotic… really interesting! ‘The Seventh Ingress’ is another really special song, full of emotion too, without words”

Daniel Metge, by email, 23 January 2004, France

“I look forward to hear other beautiful songs from you in the next years!”

Stephane Lord, photographer, by handwritten letter, 29 April 2004, Canada

“Thank you very much once again… for this brilliant album (Alabaster)! I hope we will meet again”

Niko, Obskure, by email, 3 June 2003, France

“Miss you very much, and hope to see you again”

(following shared billing at La Loco in Paris, after release of Alabaster)
Ia and Peter, musicians, Arcana, posted at Louisa’s Myspace, 16 July 2006, Sweden

“… ‘the seventh ingress’ from Alabaster is now on repeat mode… a humble longing of my soul I thought i lost… tracks like ‘light on the wall’, ‘paint the wind’, made me tremble to the backbone.. quite a surprising, elegant and wise pop-oriented stream…”

Oleg Kolyada / Oda Relicta, via email, 2 June 2006, Ukraine

“When we first met in last November at Cicciano, I was wondering to be right there; talking with the Aetherea Louisa… I love especially ‘Paint the Wind’, ‘Stone Lake’, ‘Dancing over Acheron’ (all from Alabaster)”

Gianluca from Rome, by handwritten postcard, 1 July 2005, Italy

“I love your beautiful music. It makes me feel fully of peace… one of my favourite song is ‘The Search for Lost Souls – Midnight’ (on Alabaster) Très belle… Alors, au revoir!”

Naerleth, L’Opera Tragica, posted at Louisa’s Myspace, 21 July 2006, France

“Thank you for introducing me to ‘The Search for Lost Souls – Midnight’ (NB: an expanded title of Emily Dickinson’s poem ‘Midnight’) your adaptation of that is sublime”

Phil Hudson, musician, by email, 12 March 2006, USA

“We hope to see you again in Italy, maybe with another concert with us.”

Elisabeth Mantovani, artist, La Rose Noir, posted on Facebook profile, 27 May 2011, Italy

“Stone Lake’ (on Alabaster) made me think of your Father and it brought tears to my eyes… from the sheer emotional impact of that song. No, it is not a song, but a Dirge, a Lament in the style of the Ancient Bards.”

Lance Earnest, poet, by email, 4 April 2004, USA