Cinder Well is the project of multi-instrumentalist Amelia Baker. In the early twenty-tens when she lived in Santa Cruz, CA, she played in the dark-folk group the Gembrokers and was a member of Blackbird Raum. Both bands were touring the emerging anarcho folk scene in Europe in 2013 when they met the folks of Lankum. This encounter proved quite influential and after collaborating on an album together Amelia eventually moved to Ireland to study Irish traditional music.
By the sound of it alone, a voice, two violins, resonator guitar, its folky instrumentation and traditional feel ‘The Unconscious Echo’ could be described as a ’timeless’ folk record. But the slower pace and drawing out of tones with a shruti box and long stretched string sounds, make it a dark and modern variation on a traditional theme. It is also a record (and this might sound hyperbolic, but just wait for it) that could have only been made after the Holocaust. In the title track Amelia lets us in on what she has come to understand about the passing down of generational trauma.
That is what the ‘Unconscious Echo’ is, and what it is echoing with is truly horrific.
Amelia describes herself and her music as antifascist, she shares a personal perspective coming from a non-religious Jewish background with a keen understanding of white/cis/privilege.
This activist approach is very intrinsic to the kind of musical and political scene she is a part of, like Vradiazei, and Anna Vo and her former Gembrokers’ band mate Burl Wood of Byssus.
‘The Unconscious Echo’ is a beautifully arranged and very deliberate record. There’s parts where you can almost hear the space surrounding the musicians. And there’s big crescendo’s with
Amelia’s voice filling the room right after it with the same intent. There’s so much beauty and elegance in her painful storytelling, you feel like it’s not a safe place to go at all, but it’s definitely safer with her.
‘This record is for you if you like your lyrics dark, your folk doomy, your melodies haunting and your musicians outspoken.’
The Unconscious Echo’ is Cinder Well’s first full-length. It was recorded in 2018 by Nich Wilbur
at the UNKNOWN studio in Anacortes, and until now was only available on tape or cd.
European DIY labels Contraszt! and Breaking Records are releasing The Unconscious Echo on vinyl on March 12, 2021. (contraszt!records)