The critically stated boundaries of folk have become so cavernously wide that the titles application is partially lacking. Seemingly applied to almost anything that evokes a kind of feral or naturalistic approach to song writing -- anything partially untouched or unreceptive to the thrills of modern production and the blue-sky boundlessness of synths, programmes, machines etc, etc.

I can see why Marika Hackman might encourage the 'folk' title, and I'd probably be foolish to shake it entirely. She plays the guitar and sings. Her voice is unbridled and organic. Her image is somewhat synonymous - less face and body, and more a dishevelled outer casing for something deep and fathomless.

In a sense the folk musician stands as the closest relative of the poet. Id' say I fell for Nick Drake and Sylvia Plath for the same reason; similar dark qualities translated through different - but entirely uncompromising - creative vehicles. The key is not to understand everything, all the time, but to cling tightly to those rare, lucid moments of relativity.

I suppose I feel compelled to express these sentiments because Hackman evokes something similar - certainly to the extent that her vehicle of expression isn't tied to it's content. Hence why it seems pertinent to allow her room to shift and grow, skipping any uncongenial labelling.

It's evident that Hackman's output is actively experimental - aided no doubt by the tremendous deftness of producer Charlie Andrews. This isn't folk - a very clear derivation, yes, but one that pushes beyond parameters and ultimately transforms anew. The choice to cover Joanna Newsom's '81' is supportive of that outlook. Hackman is living and acting with contemporary impulse - listening and surveying new material, and approaching production accordingly.

Throughout the EP, there's a subtle and alluring presence of electronics. We find artificial bleeps pulsating beneath opener 'Cinnamon', cut with Hackman's wonderfully organic sense for melody, and the more roughed edges of natural instrumentation. Backing vocals are manipulated and syncopated in 'Wolf', perhaps her most self-assured track given in its instrumental bite.

Though particular elements appear rough and raw, the production as a whole is slick and refined - a quality that fast becomes a uniquely identifiable hallmark. And it's not simply a testimony to Andrew's very exacting ability to create rich, compound backdrops, but also to Hackman's evident intuition - the way each instrument - her voice included - communicates with the others in a new but natural way.

Plath's poetry never duplicated past techniques or styling, but always reimagined, using the subtleties of adaptation to further valorise the content. Hackman - and I'm not lumping Plath and Marika together exclusively here, just surmising - seems to act with similar impulse. There's something in the stylistic threads of folk's foundations - organic instrumentation, mythical undertones, ornamental production - that lends itself to deconstruction, especially in an age where there base value are increasingly alien, less natural or innate, more artificially inserted.

Still, it's not like the traditional simplicity of folk musicianship has been lost on Sugar Blind - 'Itchy Teeth', by way of example, is wonderfully restrained in its exploration of wider sonics - the vocal allowed ample space to brood. I'm happy to admit on first listening I was slightly concerned by such complex production. I feared the worse; that the vocal, with all its ethereal beauty, would be lost to the waves. But testimony to its resilience, it's always and forever central to the orbit - its surrounding universe simply expanding and retracting.

I suppose the end result of listening to Sugar Blind, and its predecessor That Iron Taste, is a very clear recognition of potential, and a wonderfully open scope for direction. Though not completely developed, there's a real, tangible beauty to Marika's multifaceted output. Her debut album will no doubt drop sometime next year, and I for one can't wait.