Huw M
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Huw M

Pontypridd, Wales, United Kingdom | INDIE

Pontypridd, Wales, United Kingdom | INDIE
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“Gathering Dusk’ is a good description for this music; it is redolent of the soft edges of the day, the last flare of the fried egg sun slipping away with the gentle tickle of a balmy cooling breeze. The music glows in subtle tones creating a patchwork of textures, ‘Hide Behind You’ contains traces of Sufjan Stevens at his simplest, plainest, most emotionally naked, in short, most beautiful.

Huw is Welsh and is related musically to Gorky’s or Super Furry Animals (apologies for obviousness of reference, it is relevant), that canny mix of golden folk with the gentlest psychedelia, the songs sway and glide. ‘Brechdanau Sgwar’ reveals a full palette of mandolin, cello and French horn all bound together with the natural grace of the wind. ‘Be’ builds out of Beach Boys multi-part harmonies, with banjo, acoustic guitar and vibes, there are no words just the construction of beauty for the sake of it.

Everything fits together so well that the elements forge something that sounds like an Italian futurist painting. Summer evenings where the smell of flowers blooming always feel like they’ll never end, winter is forgotten and ‘the Perfect Silence’ captures the essence of this. It’s not all about gentle floating atmospheres (though it mostly is) ‘Dyma Lythyr’ is more intrusive with it ricocheting strings and thrusting drums, it disturbs the status quo reminding in joyous fashion of the search for equilibrium. At the end of the evening you need a lullaby and there’s ‘For While I Wait for You to Sleep’ which is a fine way to end a fine record. - Americana UK


Rarely does an album title so perfectly sum up the spirit of the music it contains. With soft harmonies, delicate instrumentation and simple melody lines Gathering Dusk finds Huw M conjuring up the perfect soundtrack for those short late-twilight minutes of a sticky summer’s evening. It’s a lovelorn, drowsy fusion of folk and psychedelia that draws as much from Sufjan as it does on Meic Stevens.

The album begins with the singalong chord progression of ‘The Perfect Silence’, its easy momentum and instant feeling of familiarity a perfect indication of the songs to follow and the album as a whole: short, well-crafted folk-pop songs.

Strings scrape and swell woozily around the sweet harmonies between Huw M and Bethan Reynolds on ‘Dyma Lhythr’, with other instruments combining to create a light, euphoric build, the gently sliding bass-line and guitar calling to mind the mellowest side of the Velvet Underground. Meanwhile, ‘Babushka, Wake Me!’ rides the swells of the french horn-driven melody, surrounding it with delicately plucked banjo and cooing harmonies. There are certainly hints of Final Fantasy and Beirut in the delivery, which may prove a little too close for some.

Gathering Dusk contains some unabashedly pretty moments, none more so than on the the slow build of ‘Martha a Mair’. After just half an hour the album draws to a close with the beautiful lullaby ‘For While I Wait For You To Sleep’. A gentle ease pervades the album, with Huw M’s fine playing on guitar, banjo, mandolin and lilting vocals rounded out by subtle, lush arrangements that give the recordings a real warmth without overwhelming them. Be it in Welsh, English or the international language of Ba Ba Ba , Huw M’s Gathering Dusk is a summery delight. - The Line of Best Fit


If you, like me, hold the view that Super Furry Animals’ Welsh-language album is their finest work, then you’ll probably be predisposed to love Huw M’s near exhaustingly delightful Gathering Dusk, a mildly psych-sizzled alt-folk charmer, sung mostly in the Pontypridd singer-songwriter’s throaty and naturally mellifluous native tongue. Comparisons with Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and Euros Childs’ solo work are necessary, though ‘a Welsh Sufjan Stevens’ sums him up more appropriately, particularly when French horn, cello and female harmonies are layered on magnificently. An English-sung closer tells of drowsy lovers; it won’t so much melt your heart as evaporate it. What’s Huw on about the rest of the time? No idea. But it’s delightful. - The List


(****)

A dazzling blend of traditional Welsh folk and Celtic music.

OS MEWN SWN (or If In Noise), the debut from Huw M is a short but sweet slice of Welsh, psychadelic, low-key nu-folk (Should we call it nuw-folk?)...

Gad y Diwrnod Wrth y Drws has a lovely breeze to it, recorder hoots over a sweet sounding chant that will make a mumblecore movie producer very happy one of these days. Michelle Michelle has a tear-jerker banjo riff and hint of heartbreak in the vocals. Cur Pen stands out, matching the style and imagination of Super Furries in more reflective mode. Beautiful stuff...

HD - Maverick Magazine


This beautifully structured mini album from Huw M can be used as a defining point of the talent that is overlooked in Wales due to the language barrier. Listen to the cello on the opener Hiraeth Mawr a Hiraeth Creulon before it builds into a poetic piece of folk drizzled with pop, making this song one of the best opening tracks I've listened to in ages. Maybe the rest of the world should be listening too. - Plugged In


As soon as this album had been delivered it went straight on the Spillers (Record Shop) CD player, the taster I had via Myspace convinced me that this would be an album to recommend with hand on heart sincerity. What’s more, a sign of confirmation in my conviction came when two copies sold before track two had even finished. Os Mewn Swn is a wonderfully weird mixture of original melodies and a few borrowed from Welsh folk songs. These are mangled together with influences from France and Brazil and all conveyed in his Welsh mother tongue. Meredydd comes across as someone with a broad musical pallet but the incongruous instrumentations and harmonies ensure that Os Mewn Swn stands out from the plentiful folk revival albums of recent years." AT - SWN Magazine


I'm happy to admit that this is an album that I am drawn back to again and again. I was hooked after the opening track Hiraeth mawr a hiraeth creulon. All the tracks on this album have great melody and a hook that will have you nodding away to each folky tune and tapping along. Considering there are only four people involved in this album I'm amazed by the big sound they have produced. It's a beautiful album which has a great big lovely vibe about it. All involved are multi-talented and, to be honest, I can't speak any Welsh so I have no idea what they are singing about but I loved it and it's one of the few albums you can hear on both radio streams here on Folk Radio UK! Wonderfull music! - Folkradio


Early reviews for Huw M say it all: “Stunningly beautiful”, “charming”, “gorgeous”. If you’ve ever explored some of the brilliant catalogue of Welsh legend Meic Stevens or have heard the Super Furry Animals’ Welsh Language album ‘Mwng’ then you’ll connect with Huw M. Here’s shimmery Welsh folkpop at its best.

Huw Stephens - nme.com


Huw M has been knocking around the folk scene since he released his first single back in 2008: a joint venture with the Welsh musician Llwyd that was picked up not only by BBC6’s Stuart Maconie but The Line of Best Fit’s very own Richard Hughes.

Huw’s debut album, Os Mewn Swn (translated as If in Noise), is a heart rendering collection of original material and traditional Welsh folk songs performed in his native tongue. Album highlight ‘Y dror sy’n dal y sanau’ (‘The drawer that holds the socks’) opens with the gritty strums of an accordion reminiscent of Parisian café culture in the 1920s. It’s not before long soft sweeping violin strings and faint ukulele twangs interject, channelling the influence of acoustic legends such as Sufjan Stevens and the ‘Welsh Dylan’ Meic Stevens. Whilst the dual vocals of songs such as ‘Seddi gwag’, as Huw is joined by Bethan Reynolds harmonising voice and stomping background clog dancing, add a more modern pop twist to the simple formula of this stunning album.

Not being fluent in the Welsh language, much to the disappointment of my grandfather I am sure, the specific lyrical content of this album passes me by: but just like Sigur Ros’s output, the message of each song is elegantly spoken through instrument and voice as Huw expresses hope, loss, regret and love.

Steeped in traditional Welsh folk, Os Mewn Swn is an album brought to life by the modern experiences of its creator who, in his own words, takes inspiration from everyday occurrences as well as “deep and often meaningless thoughts.” The beautifully delicate combination of Huw’s soft vocals, gently strummed acoustic guitars, shimmering keys and glistening string sections make this album something really rather special. - The Line of Best Fit


’Os Mewn Swn’ is the debut album from Huw Meredydd Roberts, also known as ’Huw M’. The album is sung entirely in Welsh, with a title that translates as ’If in Noise’.

The overall sound is firmly in the ’folk-pop’ bracket, with acoustic guitar, keyboards and drums joining fiddle, ukelele and accordion.

The opening ’Hiraeth Mawr A Hiraeth Creulon' is a lulling, soothing and hypnotic piece of music that its impossible to resist. The remaining tracks are a mix of traditional Welsh folk songs and original material, but the style is very consistent throughout.

Huw’s soft and engaging vocals are joined on several tracks by those of Bethan Reynolds, notably on the excellent duet ’Seddi Gwag’ which also features Bethan on clogs. The following track ’Gad Y Dirwnod Wrth Y Drws’ brings in some harmonica backing, with a resulting melody that had me humming along in no time.

The final track ’Michelle Michelle’ combines the traditional ’Cariad Cyntaf’ or ’first love’ with an original chorus to create a more upbeat sound that is no less successful.

’Os Mewn Swn’ is a beautiful collection of beguiling, feel-good folk-pop to brighten up your day. - Bright Young Folk


This is Huw M's debut album and he looks set to be another Welsh artist to watch out for. The music is a mix of original melodies, folk songs flavoured with a dash of world music. A welcome addition to the growing number of Welsh artists worthy of wider recognition." (****) - City Life


Things were not looking too promising, with Starbucks giving away free iced coffee and encouraging everyone in the foyer of the museum to peruse their ‘aroma’ zone. I’m not sure I agree with the idea of iced coffee and the so called ‘aroma’ zone did nothing for my sniffer dog aspirations, confirming to my amazement that I have no sense of smell. Oh well.

Thankfully, along came Huw M with his crazy loop pedal antics to bring a welcome end to all the coffee themed fun. As a friend of Huw’s I have watched intently over the last few years his development as a songwriter and performer. His album ‘Os Mewn Swn’ has been well received and is set for a re-release in May on the Gwymon label. This follows recent awards from Radio Cymru, where Huw won male artist of the year and best composer, and the award for best solo artist from Y Selar magazine. It certainly has been a busy time as the popularity of his music grows. And tonight’s performance sees Huw in relaxed, determined and confident mood. As a performer he is growing all the time and this is definitely the best I have ever seen him. Skillfully adept at controling about 47 things at once, at the core tonight is always guitar, accompanied by slices of looped brilliance in the form of twiddly guitar jollies, grunts, hushed vocals, keyboards, harmonica and occasional cymbals. This is a one man band with substance; beautifully crafted folk songs with lush arrangements. Bloody lush. Maybe it is the acoustics in the museum, but the sound was particularly crisp and clear. The set comprised largely of songs from ‘Os Mewn Swn’, ‘Y Dror Sy’n Dal Y Sanau’ being the pick of the bunch. A surging MC Mabon cover was a pleasing interlude, as well as to my surprise, an excellent new song sung in English. And with an upcoming gig in London awaiting, as well as the album re-release, a wider audience beckons so this makes total sense. - Joy Collective


Tonight is an altogether different musical affair featuring three of Wales' most promising Welsh language acts. Bangor folk-pop troubadour Huw Meredydd Roberts (Huw M) kicks off proceedings as he builds his own phantom band with a series of repeated vocal loops and fancy effects pedals.

Huw M's songs are lush and textural in their delivery, turning the most nondescript of incidents into fragile dramas. Seddi Gwag (Empty Seats) is a prime example of this, as Huw recalls a holiday in France where he and his wife miss a train connection to Paris. Just as the set meanders into twee territory, Huw unleashes a belting cover of MC Mabon's Gad Dy Ben Yn Syml (Keep Your Head Simple) – effervescent with shouty verse and a frenetic power chord mantra.... a glorious conclusion - Guardian.co.uk


The album opens with ‘Hiraeth mawr a hiraeth creulon’ and what grabs you immediately are the arrangements and in particular the beautiful cello of Lucy O’ Connor drawing you in. It speaks of ‘hiraeth’ or ‘longing’. ‘Y dror sy’n dal y sanau’ is very cinematic and with its evocative cello would fit nicely on a film soundtrack. It tells the story of people’s lives with everything in its place and lists by the bed. One of the stand out tracks is ‘Gad y diwrnod wrth y drws’ with its gentle rolling melody talks of leaving the day at the door, washing your fears in the rain and putting the past behind you as a new day is ahead. Good advice indeed. All songs on the album were written by Huw with the exception of ‘Hiraeth mawr a hiraeth creulon’ and ‘Michelle Michelle’ which are arrangements of traditional songs.

There will be the inevitable comparisons with the likes of Alun Tan Lan, The Gentle Good etc but what makes this stand out above the crowd are the quietly ambitious arrangements which although modest do help to underpin the melodies and add light and shade that make them stand out. You sense that with a bigger budget for studio and production Huw M will be producing something very special in the future. A welcome addition to the growing number of Welsh artists worthy of wider recognition.
- New Sound Wales


Huw M is a young Welsh multi-instrumentalist with a keen sense of melody and arrangement. The eight titles on this CD are in Welsh, as is his Myspace page, where Huw credits Sufjan Stevens and Devendra Banhart as (obvious) influences, as are the harmonies of CSNY (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young). This is a charming and recommended CD. - Acoustic Magazine


Huw M impresses most handsomely on his first solo album If In Noise. ‘Ond yn Dawel Daw y Dydd’ has a full-on band mixing West African rhythms, hints of psychedelia, a whirling organ and heart-melting harmonies to uplifting effect. ‘Seddi Gwag’ is a more sedate affair, a banjo rhythming away over a tinkling piano and Huw M's voice admirably matched by Bethan Reynolds fetching harmony lines. ‘Cur Pen’ has a plangent guitar interweaving with soft keyboard fills for a warm and nutritious song. M is the kind of inventive artist one might like to see linking up with Kila. Meanwhile, this could do for the Welsh language what Julie Fowlis did for Orcadian.

Jackie Hayden, Hot Press - Hot Press


Next up, is a stunning album release from a new solo artist who’s creating waves in the welsh scene, step forth - Huw M. The album ‘Os Mewn Swn’ (If In Noise) is a collection of melodic / folky / acoustic loveliness, very charming indeed... along with an amazing cover! Huw M has a crazy gigging schedule (myspace.com/huwmm), so expect to see him live in a venue near you very soon, his solo shows consist of a loop station / guitar / keys / percussion................ he’s a one man folk army so go check him out!!! - The Absurd


A bewitching mix of traditional Welsh melodies, Gorky's-esque psychedelia, and the jukebox in the United Nations canteen - Huw M's debut album (translation: If in Noise) is an infectious, irresistible slice of pop loveliness. Already getting rave reviews from the likes of Stuart Maconie, Mr M is a purveyor of what he calls "small pop". Highlights include the sunny African pop of Ond Yn Dawel Daw y Dydd, the blissful melancholy of Cur Pen and the stunning closer of Michelle Michelle (Cariad Cyntaf). PJ - Buzz Magazine


4 star (out of 5): The Welsh language seems to lend itself perfectly to dreamy, pastoral psychedelia. With its mix of new originals and melodies borrowed from folk songs, this eight-track debut from Huw Meredydd fits right into that genre. The highlight may be Seddi Gwag, particularly for Bethan Reynolds's clog dancing (an aural treat), but Gad y Diwrnod Wrth Y Drws finds a space midway between 1967 Beatles and Sigur Rós, while the spirit of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci flows from every song.

David Hutcheon, The Times. - The Times


Discography

Gathering Dusk (LP, 2012)
Yn ddistaw ddistaw bach (EP, 2010)
Os Mewn Swn (LP, Gwymon, 2009)
Dechrau yn y Dechrau (single, 2008)
Rhywbeth Dros Dro (single, 2008)
Radio sessions for BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Wales.
Radio airplay on BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Wales, GTFM, Folk Radio, Virgin Radio France, Nation Radio, Heart FM.
Various television appearances on S4C.

Photos

Bio

Huw M is Welsh composer and performer Huw Meredydd Roberts who is joined by Lucy Simmonds on cello and Bethan Mai on vocals and various wonderful instruments. Together they play a mix of original melodies and borrowed Welsh folk songs, mangled together with influences from across the globe, to create 'haunting, intelligent' music.

Huw has released 2 critically acclaimed albums with his latest offering, 'Gathering Dusk', short-listed for the 2012 Welsh Music Prize. Huw has played in numerous festivals around the UK including End of the Road, SWN and Camden Crawl and has won several Welsh music prizes.