Hala Strana
Turn this to 6.8 of 11
Folk, Experimental
Sounds Like:
Sir Richard Bishop
Hala Strana is the name used by musician Steven R. Smith, he creates a distinct blend of instrumental folk and experimental music on his 2003 Fielding release. The music on this album is heavily based on traditional sounds derived from vast territories such as Croatia, Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic and Poland. He integrates melodies and field recordings from these regions into his own Americana folk style; it is quite a unique album.

This double CD is filled with richly layered sounds as instruments like gourd guitar, clay flowerpots, glockenspiel, violin and even bottles just to name a few provide the listener with a spontaneous feeling. All 24 tracks are different in their own way, yet they sound eerily similar in style, so we will not take up your day with a track-by-track breakdown. We must say that we are inspired by his exploration and delivering a very personal album here as you could call this a musical documentary of his travels.

Track Listing:
Disc 1:
1. Leaves
2. Pogonishte
3. Herding Slip
4. Villages
5. Lasting
6. Doves Fielding Coal
7. Terrene
8. Bowl Spinning
9. Haneros Haluli
10. Ovcepolsko Oro
11. Time
12. Endings

Disc 2:
13. Tarrow Comments
14. The Split Tree
15. Petals
16. Jestingstock
17. A Sudden Walk
18. Treshing Floor
19. Hell Birds
20. Balada Conducatorolui
21. Burh
22. Svatovac/Becarac
23. Lament
24. Cassia Shops

Many of these songs are way out there, but we find that it is relaxing and therapeutic at times. There is an ambiance quality that about the album, even though there are no synths used, it just is puts you in a sedative state of mind. The music also gives off feelings of sadness and loneliness, allowing for the listener to absorb into it, and feel where this journey has taken him. This album definitely is one of a kind; some may find it boring and depressing while others will see the beauty within the music. Either way, if you’re a fan of folk music, this one could be a hidden gem. - 12/23/2014

Standout Tracks: None
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