I found about Laura J Martin and her unique brand of ethereal, psychedelic-folk just over a year ago now, in the glorious settings of Wales’ own Green Man festival. Petite and softly spoken when she’s not playing, this Liverpudlian lass creates quite a noise for a small woman alone on stage but for her instruments, her voice and a loop pedal.
Laura is a multi-instrumentalist, proficient in piano, flute and mandolin, all of which she utilises in her music to stunning effect. She plays all with vigour, and when performing seems possessed simultaneously with a fiery energy and a gentle endearing quality that makes her presence and her music all the more compelling. Her musical style is somewhat difficult to pin down, and others may dub it differently, but for me she errs on the side of an otherworldly folkishness, somewhat primal beats (I am thinking especially of her track “Fire Horse” here) mixing with soaring flute melodies and haunting, breathy vocals expounding strange, mythical lyrics.
Recently, I was lucky enough to catch Laura live again, this time in the stunning setting of the Sheffield Cathedral as part of the city’s annual Tramlines festival. The acoustics of this historic building suited the ethereal quality of her music perfectly, and her quirky harmonies rang out through the rafters with a wonderful clarity and grace. I was struck again with the sense of awe that she has, as an individual, an awesome quality that allows her to captivate such a large space and to produce such a large and complex sound.
Laura released her latest record, ‘The Hangman Tree’ in January 2012 on Static Caravan. If you want to experience something beautiful yet unpredictable, strange yet charming, then I strongly recommend you give it a listen. To find out more about her, visit her website.