Bendith : EP

With an apt vinyl release on Welsh Language Music day this EP is replete with five songs - two completely new, two directly derived from Bendith's debut LP, and a completely refashioned version of the same album's Dan Glo.

Bendith are a collaborative Welsh four piece; Carwyn Ellis from Colorama and Elan, Marged and Gwilym Rhys from Plu, with a fifth element, producer Mason Neely, equally important to the setup. It is an ad hoc team but with a rare magic - both album and EP have grace, inventiveness and a refreshing disregard for the boundaries set by preformed musical genres, seemlessly spanning folk, classical and electronic music.

Opening the set Dinas and Mis Mehefin represent the essence of the eponymous album they are taken from - the first an atmospheric instrumental inspired by the valley where Carwyn Ellis' grandparents lived, the second a perfect evocation of summer that on one level does not require a word of Welsh to understand, or be moved by.

Next in line the two completely new songs are versions of classics, but further define the group's unique sound. Cân Am Gariad (Love Song) is a gentle, literal version of the 1970 Lesley Duncan tune with spare but still elegant framing for the Elan and Marged's beautiful (there is no other word) harmonies; Hwiangerdd Takeda (Takeda Lullaby) is a take on a traditional Japanese song, inspired by a 1969 recording by Akai Tori, a vocal folk group from Japan - given a gorgeous, yearning rendition.

The EP ends with a radical but engaging electronic re-visioning of album track Dan Glo.

Transcending any notional language barrier the Bendith album was Wales' most essential and vibrant musical output in 2016 - this EP is an exquisite follow up.