Over the years Sharron Kraus’ musical career has pulled her in many directions and seen her collaborate with artists, poets, writers and researchers, creating soundtracks, podcasts, musical accompaniments and responses. She is an intuitive improviser, a compelling performer and a weaver of musical spells.
The spine supporting this body of work is songwriting, though, and it is to this most natural combination of words and music that she always returns. If prose writing is a tool for analysis and working out what we think, because of the emotional dimension music introduces, songwriting is a tool for working out how we feel.
KIN, her newest album, is a collection of songs written during and partly in response to the pandemic and the relative isolation it plunged us into. Kraus dives into deep explorations of themes of kinship with other humans as well as the natural world, and of what happens when those kinship bonds are severed or abused. Sonically the album is on a continuum with her previous solo album, Joy’s Reflection is Sorrow, with its layered synths and recorders, and sits somewhere in the space between Jane Weaver’s electronica and the psych/folk of bands like The Left Outsides, Modern Studies.
‘an album layered with memories of landscape and memories of sound. It is a completely immersive experience and a fine achievement.’ – The Quietus
‘an album of sensual spellcraft’ – Caught by the River
‘a truly unique sound located somewhere between Cream’s “Pressed Rat & Warthog” and what The Left Outsides might sound like if they jammed with a gamelan. Floating freaky fun of the highest order.’ – The Wire
‘There are many factors that make Joy’s Reflection Is Sorrow a wonderful album. The musicianship is great, Kraus’s voice has found a new confidence and the rolled-back arrangements and production allow the songs room to breathe and speak. But perhaps the most important thing is the sense of a lasting optimism that goes beyond the span of a human life, that perhaps even defines the nature of human life. Kraus may not be able to answer those big questions – maybe they are unanswerable – but she has found the best possible way to ask them.’ – Folk Radio UK
‘These detailed, poignant tales combine to paint a portrait of Kraus as a sort of mentor, a survivor delivering her perils and lessons with a precise pen.’ – Pitchfork
‘an LP for the ages; an oddly comforting avant-garde masterpiece … Magic to think, breathe and dream more.’ – Concrete Islands
‘Pagan radiophonica meets medieval balladry’ – Prog Magazine