Moin moin is the recording project of Magdaléna Mandorla, a singer songwriter from the Czech Republic. Her music is stark and sad, acoustic folk songs at the quiet end of the DIY/bedroom spectrum.
‘Sun and Moon’ opens the album as it means to go on, strummed acoustic guitar and subdued vocals that, to me at least, bring to mind Danielle Fricke. The lyrics are apparently based on a Greenlandic fairy tale, the story of the cold dark moon following the sun and her burning torch.
“Moon follows the sun every night
While his eyes crystalize into bones
Are you not there?”
The vocals at the centre of ‘Crinoline’ are not as delicate as you’d expect, rising from the moody guitar work with surprising strength, a sure and slightly lonely wail. ‘Heavy as a mountain’ has a slightly ominous Gothic air, a similar creeping feeling to Creature Speak’s Shadow Songs, before ‘Dirt’ has the feel of a calm and somnolent evening. You can almost hear the croaking frogs and the wind in the trees when Mandorla sings,
“I wish I had a ladder
I would climb up to the roof
I would lay down in the attic
I would watch the rise of the moon”
The guitar is delivered in a much more robust strum on ‘Black Dog’, while ‘Hunter’ is reminiscent of the subdued folk of Sarah Winchester. The final track, ‘Mother’, is grey and sombre, indicative of the album’s natural intimacy. “With the northern stream I go,” she sings. “Low tide keeps me out of shore / Mother /Thirteen black swans / float far, far from home / Mother”. If you download the album you’ll also get a bonus track. In my opinion the song, simply titled ‘+’, is pretty vital to the experience of the album, beginning with some pretty acoustic guitar before giving way to a field recording of birdsong. It’s in this last minute of the album that it finally feels like the titular dawn has finally arrived, rays of sunshine piercing the melancholy fog that has come before.
moin moin’s folk music (if you want to call it that) is sad and spectral. Feather-light and gauzy, the songs shift and shimmer like lace curtains in a soft breeze, like the intricate patterns of frost on a window pane slowly melting in the morning sun.
You can get Dawn on cassette or a name-your-price download via the Z Tapes Bandcamp page. And you should, because it’s really nice. If for some reason you want to get your cassettes elsewhere then you can also get them from the moin moin Bandcamp page, courtesy of Chee Chaak Tips. Also – moin moin is embarking on a train-based art project come European tour this summer. The indiegogo campaign to support has ended, but I’m sure support for the album will help with travel costs.