Hyperion is debut EP release from Welsh singer-songwriter Cara Ludlow and features three perfectly crafted tracks that take inspiration from John Keats’ epic poem ‘The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream’ (read it in full here) which Ludlow says “explores themes of fragility and resilience, innocence and experience, and how we respond to suffering and change” and which she has taken from because “it shows how moments of pain can also be moments of learning and transformation, and there’s an inherent beauty in that”.

Cara Ludlow’s singing and guitar playing has an unadorned beauty and has been fleshed out with the warm embrace of strings provided by the Mavron Quartet – Christiana Mavron (violin), Rachell Elliot (violin), Niamh Aston (viola) and Beatrice Newman (cello). It’s a testament to how strong her voice is that it can be presented in the middle of the mix, free from excessive reverb or doubling (where the same part is sung twice to thicken the sound) and remain the focal point throughout. The strings shine with the same melancholy splendour that you can hear on Robert Kirby’s arrangements for Nick Drake’s debut album Five Leaves Left.

The EP was brought about thanks to the Tŷ Cerdd organisation which is based in the Wales Millennium Centre and promotes Welsh music and supports its composers and performers. Their CoDI DIY project was an initiative led by composer Pwyll Ap Sion who worked with nine Wales-based artists offering mentoring and the opportunity to practice, experiment and bring musicians together on projects. He also provided the strings arrangements for this EP.

There is an honesty and purity to the songs which are rich in the poetry of both performance and language. In Greek mythology Hyperion is the personification of the sun, and I was delirious with the warmth radiating from these tracks.

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Review by Paul F Cook

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