Gwenno is back with a brand new single, the Welsh singer’s second effort from her upcoming album, Tresor, which is slated for release on July 1st via Heavenly. Gwenno released the first album preview back in February in the form of ‘An Stevel Nowydh’, a motoric slice of psych-infused art-pop. This new offering is a completely different beast but no less astonishing.
‘Men An Toll’ sees Gwenno combine warped ambient loops and spider-silk vocals to create a densely layered and elemental piece of ambient electronica. Despite Gwenno’s use of sophisticated modern recording techniques, there is something distinctly primordial about this fleeting new single.
Opening up about the track, Gwenno said: “‘Men An Toll’ (also known as Mên-an-Tol and meaning holed stone) is a wonderful Bronze Age formation of standing stones near Madron, Cornwall. With its obvious feminine symbolism its holed stone was believed to aid fertility. I was inspired by Ithell Colquhoun’s ‘The Living Stones’ as well as the eternal nature of these ancient monuments and how they enable us to reflect on our own nature as human beings and on our relationship to the landscape.”
Gwenno has been at the vanguard of the Welsh-language revival for years now. This new track sees her embrace another of the UK’s Celtic languages: Cornish. “I sing, in Cornish, ‘It’s completely obvious that I can’t escape from this…'” she said. “I’m trying to express the moment when you connect with your own instinct, and accept what you are. With ‘Men An Toll’, I wanted to share a different and quieter side to the record, one that is grounded in the music that has had a big influence on both Rhys and I – ambient Celtic music, film scores, and experimental electronic music”.
The singer continued: “I’ve created a playlist of artists and songs which I think embody some of these elements, and having listened to so much music which soothes the soul over the past couple of years, I hope that this collection of songs will serve as a small and helpful reminder of how powerful the sound of gentleness and beauty is.”
At just one minute and 32 seconds, ‘Men An Atoll’ feels like a breath of wind on an otherwise still day. Make sure you check out the stunning new single and its accompanying visual below.