To fill up the gap between the second and third instalments of The Empty Circle Trilogy, Luís Couto collected some unused material on these two limited releases. A Evasão das Fadas was released on Lurker’s Path, and it contains ten tracks showcasing more of the wonderful dreamy neofolk I have come to expect from the project. As always, various string instruments provide most of the melody, combined with flute, soft percussions and bass, and differing types of vocals. The end result is once more a very unique sound, that retains its links to other alternative folk, but providing a very own original voice. No tracks really stand out as particularly memorable, but together they do form a very pleasant continuum of relaxed song and more ambient moods with experimental and noisy sections. This album doesn’t really offer that much that the main and earlier albums don’t contain, but it is nevertheless a recommended purchase for those who have been following the project actively.
The same goes for The Dream of the Empty Circle, which is a collection of outtakes from the various recording sessions that somehow didn’t fit into the albums in their final form. The first two tracks are calming psychedelic and dreamy songs, flowing along as the “Lady of the Flowing Waters” and “Lady of the River” in their titles. “Impermanence” has a more experimental sound, with background chanting and slightly distorted violin work, a bit reminiscent of Matt Howden‘s style. Another nice experimental track is “Zrcadlo”, with its noisy, misty guitars and deep percussion. The two following tracks venture into the more melodic and folky territory once more, with “Shadows of Our Ancestors” containing some reworked elements from the second The Empty Circle album. The final two tracks are more ambient and experimental once more, the most prominent and enjoyable elements being some quirky cat samples in the first, and the samples of mediaeval devotional music – I think I hear “Mariam Matrem” there – in the final track. The conclusion here is similar to the one above, some very nice material here that might not be as interesting as one of the regular albums, but surely worth your time if you enjoy The Joy of Nature or experimental ambient and folk in general.