Simplicity proves king on this highly enjoyable first recording by the new line-up of the Norwich-based folk trio. The combination of voice with just two or three acoustic instruments works like a dream. Chris Schwabe (whistles, flute, melodeon and percussion) sings the traditional Bushes and Briars and Cold and Raw and a Woody Guthrie number extremely well. Husband Uli Schwabe (fiddle, percussion) and Skryp (guitar) provide sympathetic backing throughout and add nice backing vocals.......
Brian Gaudet June 2001
Mardles Magazine Review… Mooncoin, A Fathomless Sea
Mooncoin is Uli Schwabe (violin percussion and vocals), Chris Schwabe (vocals whistles, flute, melodeon and percussion), and Skryp (guitar and vocals). This new album is a follow up to previous offerings 'Mooncoin' (1996) and 'Eclipse' (1999). It has a great deal going for it.
Firstly, the music is a pleasant and mellow, but challenging, combination (I hate "fusion' - which this isn't, anyway) of things English, Irish, Swedish and generally continental ranging from Davy Spillane's 'Carron Streams' to 'l am stretched on your grave' by way of the bewitching 'Amhrán a leabhair' and 'Majn rue plaz'.
Secondly, the level of musicianship is high, Uli's fiddle-cum-violin work betrays all sorts of influences, including classical, jazz and what-we-should-call folk, and is very well done, being a controlling influence throughout the album. The opening track ('Amhrán a leabhair') is a fine example of his controlled bow work. Chris' instrumental contributions on many tracks (and many instruments like the 'The Tarbolton' and 'The Monaghan Jig', are of comparable quality, while Skryp's guitar, on 'Mick Jig', for instance (but far from only), conveys both a feeling of light touch and mastery of several styles: lovely stuff.
In particular, when she is given her chance. as on 'Cold and Raw, Chris' voice fully supports my feeling that this is a thoroughly good, listenable and enjoyable production. Just occasionally, her delivery is a little angular and stilted, but I can put that down to 'style'; it certainly doesn't detract.
Thirdly the mixture is varied with a balance of pace and reflection 'Majn rue plaz' moves effortIessly into a lively 'Yoshke, Yoshke' which should bring a smile to any face. The emphasis is towards the instrumental, but none the worse for that. The arrangements have been cleverly and carefully worked out. They are not just a series ot 'bolt on' showpieces. I even thought I detected an echo of Pachelbel's 'Canon' wafting delightfully through 'Birds and Ships'. The production quality is good. In particular, it resists the temptation to become overcomplicated. Percussion is kept under control, which in itself is a blessing.
'A Fathomless Sea' stands alongside some, and above a lot, of the work I have been asked to review. And It grows on you: so much so, that I've already rewritten this four times. I'd recommend the aIbum to anyone who enjoys music, with traditional roots, well-played.
Steve Clarke June 2001
E-mail from a Fan…
"Despite 4 glasses of wine (and currently my 4th listening of your 'A fathomless Sea' -1 am compelled to write and thank you for the most wonderful musical or any other) experience I have had in recent times I was lucky enough to be skiving from my catering duties at the Festival just as you began your gig today at Worstead (I was the one wearing the rather natty red and black and white apron at about 11 o clock from where you played) and I was utterly spellbound from start to finish. I loved your music and the transparent joy with which you performed and, despite having a severe to profound hearing loss, I was able to derive the most wonderful pleasure from what I heard. I subsequently bought your Restless Sea CD (which is already in grave danger of being worn out!) and am keen to purchase anything else which you have recorded I'd be grateful if you could give me details and prices. I'd also be very grateful if you could help with another matter. Because my hearing loss does not allow me to follow the lyrics of the songs. I am only able to appreciate the music and rhythm. Is it possible you could tell me where I could find the lyrics to the songs on the CD? I was moved to tears to hear Bushes & Briars again as I often used to sing it unaccompanied.
I want to thank you all again for the most wonderful! hour's musical magic - it easily eclipsed anything else the Festival offered!
With all good wishes for future gigs..................."