Folk Tapes (Invisibilia Editions) is a dream-like selection of ambient-tinted folk songs. Composed in solitude by Maria Valentina Chirico, a singer with a long history in contemporary classical and sacred music, Folk Tapes features tape loops and field recordings, which come from frequent collaborator Andrea Penso and also includes the voice of eleven-year-old Marta Arbarello, which adds a child-like quality to the music’s fairy tale.
Side A begins softly and inquisitively, with its gentle ambient sound being the song of a traditional and tranquil Sunday afternoon. Its childish innocence makes it an album of wonder and discovery, especially within and among nature. Chirico brings a youthful approach to her music, but it sounds incredibly mature in its musicianship.
Side B is a musical fairy tale about a little girl who turns into a white donkey, and a mystical, enchanted mood continues on throughout its brief running time. Be it through spoken word or song, something of the fantastical is brought forth, but the sacred is also present, giving the music a balanced air between the restrained and the reverent, and meeting listeners halfway between the fantastical landscape of a child’s imagination and the sacred tones of a cathedral.
Folk Tapes is a quiet record with a curious heart, and with track names such as ‘Sweet October’ and ‘Children of Water’, the purity of innocence infiltrates the music; innocence which can’t be broken or lost. Folk Tapes marks Chirico’s debut release as a songwriter, and it couldn’t be more impressive.