• Ocular Signals #8/52a: Image H/1a

    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations


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  • Wanderings #8/52a: Dropping Science: From Endtroducing to The Electronique Void Via Haunted Tea Rooms And Pans People


    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    Well, it seems only right that as part of this (still relatively) new spin-around-the-sun, that I would pay a visit to the work of Ghost Box Records and fellow travellers…

    …although maybe at a slightly oblique angle.

    When I have listened to the sampled cut-ups of The Focus Group, it often makes me think of the turntablism montages of say DJ Shadow around the time of Endtroducing or possibly the more overtly dissonant work of Kid Koala…

    While say Moon Wiring Club puts me in mind of mid-to-later nineties, hmmm, not necessarily trip hop or the abstract beats of Mo Wax releases but say the blunted, sample laden beats of Depth Charge or something similar that would probably have been in the record shop racks just next to trip hop and maybe Mo’Wax.


    Although in terms of intention and philosophical underpinning Kid Koala/The Focus Group and Moon Wiring Club/Depth Charge may be quite separate or disparate, musically maybe not so much.

    I suppose that turntablism and blunted beats took a culture that had many of roots in rap and hip hop and stepped off to the side to form what could be loosely labelled b-boy/breaks and beats culture.

    If you took such b-boy things and had them analysed and performed by an Open University professor in a parallel universe or filtered via a woozily hallucinogenic haunted tea room you might well end up with the likes of The Focus Group and Moon Wiring Club.

    (And all this stepping from Mo’Wax to Ghost Box Records isn’t really all that much of a step or jump; if you look at The Memory Band vs Ghost Box Navigations release you will find work/remixes by Grantby aka Dan Grigson, who put out releases on Mo’Wax in the mid-90s, while Memory Band chap Stephen Cracknell worked alongside him on releases around that time).

    And there is a certain almost scientific, analytical take on music that can be found in both say Mo’Wax releases and Ghost Box Records; with the former I should maybe say “dropping science” and with the latter that should maybe be “study workshopping science”, as it may be in part a reflection of some of related reference points/inspirations – the research like nature of The Radiophonic Workshop and the utilitarian aspects of educational and library music for example.


    In an intertwined manner, I’m rather fond of the work of Adrian Younge, who could be seen to be creating a form of hauntology but one that draws from American soul and hip hop music, beats and culture rather than with Ghost Box which in part takes inspiration from the just mentioned largely British education and library music, Public Information films, TV idents etc.

    And just as with Ghost Box, he takes original source material/reference points and reimagines them rather than purely retreading previous paths, conjuring up a parallel universe all of his own; although talking of folk orientated culture rather than soul and hip hop I think Rob Young’s phrases imaginative time travel and experiments in consensual hallucation, from his book Electric Eden, might be appropriate here.

    And to join these various paths, if The Radiophonic Workshop had happened in 1970s inner city USA rather than over here and if Ghost Box Records had tumbled forth from over there rather than from over here, well the results may well have sounded not a million miles away from his recent(ish) The Electronique Void album.


    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    In part this has been a revisiting and further exploring of earlier themes around these parts; interlinked considerations can be found via:
    Day #199/365: The ether ephemera of Mr Ian Hodgson and wandering from village green preservation to confusing English electronic music…

    Almost back to the start wanderings:
    Day #4/365: Electric Eden; a researching, unearthing and drawing of lines between the stories of Britain’s visionary music

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    The conjured worlds of Mr Adrian Younge: Listen to The Electronique Void here. Classy revisitings from an indefinable past via Something About April here (in particular First Step On The Moon and Midnight Blue). Imaginative time travel here.

    I expect if you’re reading this you may already know about such things and places in the ether but just in case: The recently(ish) brushed and scrubbed up ether home of Ghost Box Records here. Moon Wiring Club here.

    The Memory Band vs Ghost Box / Mo’Wax intertwinings here. Depth Charge encasement archive here. Kid Koala here. Endtroducing facts and figures here.


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  • Artifact Report #8/52a: Feuilleton Wanderings

    Feuilleton-John Coulthart-Fractures-A Year In The Country-1px stroke
    File Under: Encasments / Artifacts

    John Coulthart has written and posted about A Year In The Country releases and wanderings a number of times at his Feuilleton site, often gathered amongst other interlinked work and/or wider cultural explorations.

    The Quietened Village-Fractures-The Quietened Bunker-The Forest The Wald-A Year In The Country

    We’ve mentioned some of them before but thought it would be good to bring them together, along with a few new-to-these-parts links and signpostings:

    The Quietened Village in the company of Ghost Box Record’s Belbury Poly, David Toop’s cassette archiving, Hawkwind via James Last…

    Fractures: wherein various interwoven strands of the Play For Today such as Penda’s Fen and The Land Of Green Ginger wander alongside very personal recollections.

    The Quietened Bunker: Something of a favourite for its cultural gathering and considering of the likes of Edge Of Darkness & Wargames and in particular the end note of “The Cold War bunker is more than another empty space, it joins the bio-weapons lab as a source of contemporary horror that doesn’t require any supernatural component to chill the blood.”

    The Forest/The Wald: Another fine end note; “…a response to British folk traditions that acknowledges the history without seeming beholden to it.”

    Day 162-Hauntology-A Year In The Country

    One particular feature of Feuilleton are the Weekend Links, which generally are brief signposts to Mr Coulthart’s “interests, obsessions and passing enthusiams”.

    Below are a few of the A Year In The Country related Weekend Links (you may well be there or wandering down resulting pathways a fair old while if you head that way):

    212 – Hauntology and the deletion of spectres / 220 – signposting / 225 – Broadcast, constellators and artifacts234 – Further considerations of Penda’s Fen240 – The end of a first spin-around-the-sun / 290 – The commencing of a second spin-around-the-sun / 328 – No More Unto The Dance334 – Bubble life out in the country via The Touchables / 335 – Professor Quatermass340 – Monumental Follies

    Tip of the hat to him indeed.

    0009017913_41John Coulthart has a longstanding and rather substantial history of working amongst the undercurrents of culture, particularly via his art and design work. A brief overview of such things can be found here.


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  • Ocular Signals #7/52a: Image G/1a

    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations


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  • Wanderings #7/52a: Brutalist Breakfasts

    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    I recently(ish) came across Sam Mellish’s Roadside Britain photography book on a visit to a nearby library (gawd bless ’em).

    Its subtitle is “Observations of traditional roadside services across Great Britain”.


    The traditional part is the give away there; this isn’t a study of corporate megalith, franchised stop-offs but rather of generally small, independent roadside caffs; sometimes bricks and mortar but also just as likely to be essentially a shack or repurposed coach/shipping container.

    Essentially your good old greasy spoon; the book is a documentation of such places, the food they serve, their locations, customers and Sam’s journey itself.


    Within the general realms of hauntology and the related sense of nostalgia or loss of an imagined, progressive, modernist future, there is something of a softspot for the often contentious architecture that has come to be known as brutalist or brutalism.

    Looking up definitions for brutalist, one I found was: “(In modern architechture) the aesthetic use of basic building processes with no apparent concern for visual amenity.”


    Which I feel could well be appropriate to describe the photographs in Roadside Britain; essentially brutalist breakfasts.

    Which isn’t said in a critical manner, I have a great deal of appreciation for a good, friendly, well run, caff and cooked breakfast and I think they can be good examples of a certain kind of artisan like folk art and craftsmanship.

    Rather, I think of a brutalist breakfast more in a sense of referring to the efficient, no messing about, “fill ’em up” ethos of bacon butties and the full English.


    When I was re-looking through the images, what struck me was how much a lot of the places depicted seemed not just belong to transitional edgelands but to have a real frontier-like feel to them; as though they belonged more to some not yet fully developed part of say the outer reaches of the USA, rather than being just up the road or alongside our motorways (Birney Imes’ Juke Joint work and its depiction of outlying, hand hewn drinking establishments in America comes to mind).



    And there’s a romance to some of the images, a sense of the open road and freedom, that again you would possibly more associate with the wide open planes and spaces over the sea than on this relatively small island.

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Visit Roadside Britain’s home in the ether here,  its fellow companions here and peruse it here.

    Images from Birney Imes Juke Joint can be found here. The book can be perused here.


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  • Artifact Report #7/52a: Was Ist Das? Handwritten Considerations…

    Was Ist Das-logo-A Year In The Country
    File Under: Encasments / Artifacts

    Well, in amongst the almost endlessness of online sites, writing etc, Was Ist Das? stands out somewhat.

    Largely handwritten rather than typed, it’s a lovely place to visit and wander around.

    In amongst the site, you may well also find a few A Year In The Country related pieces, some of which we’ve mentioned before…

    Was Ist Das handwritten review-The Quietened Village-A Year In The Country
    The Quietened Village

    Was Ist Das handwritten review-The Quietened Bunker-A Year In The Country
    The Quietened Bunker

    Was Ist Das handwritten review-The Forest The Wald-A Year In The Country
    The Forest/The Wald

    Step back with a good old cup of tea and visit Was Ist Das? here.


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  • Ocular Signals #6/52a: Image F/1a

    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations


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  • Wanderings #6/52a: Transuranic Encasements / The Non-Capturing Of Elusive Phantasms

    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    Now, I’m rather fond of Sapphire & Steel: I think it stands up well in being both thoroughly entertaining and also having various otherly, spectral, hauntological resonances and points of interest.

    Now, often when I’m quite taken by a film or television I’ll find myself browsing related memorabilia, posters, lobby cards etc…

    Which I have done with Sapphire & Steel, although there isn’t all that much available, possibly in part because it was made in a time before the thorough saturation of such things for the likes of cult, science fiction and fantasy television.

    I actually think with Sapphire & Steel it exists perfectly well on its own without endless merchandise but longstanding habits can reappear as if by magic and a reasonable number of related things seemed to have “accidentally” arrived through my letterbox…

    Here are a few of those and also a few I’ve resisted so far…


    The Sapphire & Steel annual and novel tie-in…

    The artwork in the annual is not dissimilar to that in the Look-Ins of the time, which was a television orientated weekly comic/magazine for younger folk which featured stories based on broadcast series and characters (Sapphire & Steel being one of those featured).


    It is quite odd; there’s a sort of deliberate almost brutish / primitive / slightly off-kilter feel to it that puts me in mind of illustrations in the Doctor Who annuals from a similar time.


    …and then on to later cult fan publications from 1989 and 2005…


    I’m rather fond of this publicity still from the final (and very final) episode. It puts me in mind of an earlier era in the way it reflects 1960s kitchen sink post-war austerity and lack of showiness, filtered gently through a later period’s lens.


    There have been a fair few British and elsewhere DVD releases of Sapphire & Steel… and (note to self), no it is not necessary to own them all just to peruse the packaging and the sometimes minute differences in how the episodes are presented.

    And now… well, the grail of all things Sapphire & Steel:

    sapphire-steel-tv-times-1979-july-7-13-cover-a-year-in-the-countryThe 1979 TV Times magazine which featured our heroes (is that the right word?) on the cover.

    This was a weekly television listings magazine and I guess because of it only being needed for one week, very few have survived.

    Over time, the very mainstream content of such magazines seems to have gained extra layers of resonance; possibly partly because of their nowadays scarcity and maybe also because they can capture or present a brief window into what seems like a very other time and place.

    I have found a copy of the TV Times in question but I’m not quite sure yet if I can bring myself to tip a… well, not king’s ransom but maybe a small local lord’s ransom in its direction so that it can also “accidentally” arrive through my letterbox.


    sapphire-steel-magazine-clipping-page-a-year-in-the-countryThis magazine clipping/spread is heading in that general direction but well, it’s not that actual brief one-week-window-to-elsewhere of the TV Times.

    Sapphire & Steel was intended / marketed / broadcast as mainstream entertainment but viewed now it is very much all of its own and maybe  what I’m looking for when I peruse related memorabilia is something which captures and represents the otherlyness of the series away from it’s mainstream presentation…

    …but that otherly spirit is an elusive thing and possibly it being so phantasm like in nature, while being mixed in inseparably with that mainstream presentation is part of what makes the series so intriguing.

    And so maybe (note so self) even that fairly elusive TV Times issue won’t put any kind of butterfly net around that particular spirit.



    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #284/365: Sapphire and Steel; a haunting by the haunting and a denial of tales of stopping the waves of history…

    Week #27/52: Sapphire & Steel, various ghosts in the machine and a revisiting of broken circuits…

    Week #45/52: Quatermass finds and ephemera from back when


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  • Artifact Report #6/52a: The Marks Upon The Land Book / Wild Hope Flowers / The Dark Chamber EP – Available To Pre-order


    The Marks Upon The Land is a 60 page book which collects all 104 images which were created during the first spin-around-the-sun of A Year In The Country.

    Available to pre-order at our Artifacts Shop and our Bandcamp Ether Victrola.
    £24.95. Free UK shipping. Released 6th March 2017.

    The book is accompanied by two 4-track audiological explorations on CD:
    Wild Hope Flowers by David Colohan and Richard Moult.
    The Dark Chamber EP by A Year In The Country.

    Also included is a free cassette and download copy of the Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels 12 track album by A Year In The Country.

    There is also a standalone version of the book available without the CDs, cassette & download at various Amazon UK and international sites, including: UK, USAFrance, Germany, Spain etc.

    Plus the standalone book is also available from Createspace (where it ships from the US).


    Encasement details:
    60 page bound softback book: 8.25 x 6 inches / 21 x 15 cm, matt velvet cover.
    1 x all black CDr
    1 x 3″ mini-CDr
    2 x inserts
    1 x cassette album in jewel case with 2 x inserts and download code.


    The images in the book are part of A Year In The Country’s explorations of an otherly pastoralism, a wandering amongst subculture that draws from the undergrowth of the land – the patterns beneath the plough, pylons and amongst the edgelands.

    Those wanderings take in the beauty and escape of rural pastures, intertwined with a search for expressions of an underlying unsettledness to the bucolic countryside dream.

    The Marks Upon The Land takes inspiration from and channels the outer reaches of folk culture and its meeting places with the layered spectralities of what has come to be known as hauntology, alongside memories of childhood countryside idylls spent under the shadow of Cold War end of days paranoia and amongst the dreamscapes of dystopic science fiction tales.


    Wild Hope Flowers is a four track song cycle created by longstanding contributors to United Bible Studies, David Colohan & Richard Moult, which travels along and amongst the ancient stories of the hills and fields upon which generations have trodden, an elegy for layered histories.

    The Dark Chamber EP takes its name from the roots of the word camera and is an audio exploration of the creation of the imagery in the book, intermingling field recordings of photographic work with the sounds of the landscape.

    Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels is a study of the hidden tales sent out into the world by the silent but ever chattering broadcast towers that stand watch atop the land, weaving and recasting their transmissions and seeming to summon unbidden the ghosts and fractures of a landscape that still contains the echoes and fragments of conflicts past and planned for.

    “…interference, plain piano song, shimmering electronics, remote listening & shadowy melodies make for an elegant & sinister experience.” Include Me Out on Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels.


    Wild Hope Flowers-David Colohan-Richard Moult-The Marks Upon The Land-A Year In The CountryAudiological exploration details:

    Wild Hope Flowers by David Colohan and Richard Moult: 3″ white mini CDr;
    1) Lay Me Down
    2) A Sundial
    3) Hoarfrost
    4) Wild Hope Flowers

    Preview clips here.

    The Dark Chamber EP-The Marks Upon The Land-A Year In The Country

    The Dark Chamber EP by A Year In The Country: 5″ all black CDr;
    1)The Dark Chamber
    2) Towards The Heartland
    3) Layers And Marks
    4) The Dark Chamber (Waiting For A Moment Of Stillness Mix)

    Preview clips from the EP here.

    Airwaves-Songs From The Sentinels-cassette-The Marks Upon The Land-A Year In The Country

    Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels by A Year In The Country: cassette/download;
    1) The Chatter Amongst The Land
    2) A Cracked Sky
    3) Night Mesh
    4) Flutter Once More
    5) Fading From A Distance
    6) Imparting Received
    7) Songs From The Sentinels
    8) Tales And Constructs
    9) They Have Departed Once More
    10) To Be Sheltered
    11) A Measuring
    12) For My Gentle Scattering

    Preview the album  here.




    Artwork and packaging/book design by AYITC Ocular Signals Department.

    All 104 images from the book can be viewed at Gallery: Year 1.

    Available to pre-order at our Artifacts Shop and our Bandcamp Ether Victrola.
    £24.95. Free UK shipping. Released 6th March 2017.

    There is also a standalone version of the book available without the CDs, cassette & download at various Amazon UK and international sites, including: UKUSAFranceGermanySpain etc.

    Plus the standalone book is also available from Createspace (where it ships from the US).


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  • Ocular Signals #5/52a: Image E/1a

    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations


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  • Wanderings #5/52a: A Return Visit To And From Rif Mountain

    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    I have something of a soft spot for Rif Mountain, which is a label / endeavour that has been a home for the likes of The Owl Service, Jason Steel, Robert Sunday, The A-Lords and sometimes A Year In The Country fellow travellers The Straw Bear Band.

    For a while now it had been relatively quiet around those parts but recently there was something of a flurry of activity and these three fine beauties wandered through my letter box.

    One of the things I appreciate with Rif Mountain releases is that they seem to contain a mixture of subtley left-of-centre-ness while also being particularly accessible.


    Along which lines, back during the first spin-around-the-sun of A Year In The Country I said of The Owl Service’s Rif Mountain released The View From A Hill:

    “The music? Well, I guess it could be categorised as folk but it has it’s own take or edge to it… many of these songs are folk music mainstays and both musically and visually it uses what could be considered standard tropes of folk music, folklore and culture…

    …but this is anything but a mainstream folk album. Why? Well, I can’t quite put my finger on it but there are other layers and intelligence to it all, a pattern beneath the plough as it were. As an album it feels subtley experimental but still maintains it’s listenability.”


    (In the case of these more recent releases, alongside the more overtly folk work of The Straw Bear Band, can be found the intimate, lone singers and tellers of tales Jason Steel and Robert Sunday.)

    Part of what draws me to Rif Mountain is the packaging and design, which is often (generally?) done by Straw Bear Band-er and sometimes Owl Service-r Dom Cooper.

    His work blends traditional folk tropes with a particularly classy and nicely done modern take on such things or to again quote myself, he may well use…

    the-owl-service-logos-dom-cooper-a-year-in-the-country-stroke“…quite simple, modern and minimal design work in conjunction with matt card/printing to conjure up and reinterpret the imagery and spirit of folklore’s past.”


    With his work the imagery is complimented by the physicality of the releases themselves, which combine to give them a very precious, tactile feeling that always makes me want to handle them carefully and gently.

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #30/365: The Owl Service – A View From A Hill

    Day #170/365: Who’s afear’d: Dom Cooper & reinterpreting signs, signals and traditions…

    Elswhere in the ether:
    On this brace of releases you will find the earlier mentioned Jason Steel, The Straw Bear Band and Robert Sunday. They can be perused and purchased at Rif Mountain’s main home in the ether

    …and as is the modern way, they have a number of “outhouses” and the like: modern-day social gathering placetheir visual librarygramophone roomother gramophone room, music filing / archivingrecordings from spinning the zeros and ones wheels of steel and picture box.

    And something of a personal favourite at one of those gramophone rooms: the Vexed Soul EP, wherein traditional folk songs are revisited and reinterpreted, alongside more, shall we say “factory folk” music.

    (If you should appreciate such revisitings and reinterpretings, I would also recommend a visit to 16 Horsepower’s channelling of related work here.)

    Dom Cooper’s home in the ether can be found here.


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  • Artifact Report #5/52a: The Dark Chamber EP / The Marks Upon The Land Clips

    The Dark Chamber-insert-The Marks Upon The Land-A Year In The Country
    File Under: Encasments / Artifacts – Artifact #1a

    Clips from The Dark Chamber EP are online for listening to. Visit them here.

    It will be released on CD to accompany The Marks Upon The Land book.

    The Dark Chamber EP takes its name from the roots of the word camera and is an audio exploration of the creation of the imagery in the book, intermingling field recordings of photographic explorations with the sounds of the landscape.

    the-marks-upon-the-land-book-david-colohan-richard-moult-airwaves-songs-from-the-sentinels-cassette-a-year-in-the-country-psdThe book will also include Wild Hope Flowers, a 4 track song cycle on CD by David Colohan & Richard Moult (listen to that here) and a free cassette/download version of the A Year In The Country album Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels (listen to that here).

    The book will be available to pre-order on 6th Februrary 2017. Released 6th March 2017.

    More details about its release here.

    There is also a standalone version of the book available without the CDs, cassette & download at various Amazon UK and international sites, including: UKUSAFranceGermanySpain etc.

    Plus the standalone book is also available from Createspace (where it ships from the US).


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  • Ocular Signals #4/52a: Image D/1a

    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations


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  • Wanderings #4/52a: An Antidote To Indifference – Field Recording Special #2, Otherly Geometries and Layered Resonances

    an-antidote-to-indifference-caught-by-the-river-field-recording-special-2-cheryll-tipp-a-year-in-the-country-1File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    It’s a curious thing with field recording and the way in which what could well have its roots in utilitarian, scientific recording of sound has gained in parts a sort of extra layer of creative resonance and wandered somewhere else.

    Along which lines, the An Antidote To Indifference – Field Recording Special #2 publication.

    This was released by Caught By The River and edited by Cheryl Tipp, who works in the Wildlife And Environmental Sounds archive of the British Library.

    It is a beautifully put together… hmmm, I wouldn’t call it a magazine or fanzine, though it has elements of both – maybe I should just stick with publication as that seems suitable.

    The design in part uses elements of what previously I have called “otherly geometry”, in a manner similar to say Folklore Tapes David Chatton-Barker or Ghost Box Records Julian House (in fact I was surprised to see that neither of them had worked on at least the cover) and the whole thing is clearly a labour of love.


    I have described such work as often seeming “…to make use of geometric shapes and patterns to invoke a particular kind of otherlyness, to allow a momentary stepping elsewhere…”; in this particular instance that somewhere else may well be a sense of the spirit of that earlier mentioned extra layer resonance within some field recording work.

    The contents take in literal out-in-the-fields field recording, the points at which field recordings meet imagined parallel versions of themselves, Howlround gent Robin The Fog rhapsodising about particular “sound arranged delightfully” creative techniques, Cheryl Tipp’s own Sound and Song in the Natural World piece, Recording the Sounds of the World’s First Computers…


    I suppose a prime expample of the way in which field recording has moved from its more scientific routes to being nearer to a form of artistic expression could be found in the almost… no, actually singularly, fetishistic quality of the very precise listing of the details and recording equipment used for the moth sounds in the credits of Peter Strickland’s The Duke Of Burgundy film.

    (And I suppose looking at the roots of the word fetish as charm, sorcery and made by art may be apt in this context).

    an-antidote-to-indifference-caught-by-the-river-field-recording-special-2-cheryll-tipp-a-year-in-the-country-2In an interlinked manner, reading those credits, Cheryl Tipp may well have helped gather those sounds and details together as she is listed as having helped on that aspect of the film.

    If you should be interested in wandering further than some possible pathways may well be the film Silence, which has been described as navigating the path between fiction and documentary, the field recording maestro work of former Cabaret Voltaire gent Chris Watson, who is also featured in the Field Recording publication (does he never get tired or stop and rest I often wander when I hear his work) and Cathy Lane & Angus Argyle’s In The Field: The Art Of Field Recording book.

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #142/365: Fog Signals/Ghost signals from lost transmission centres

    Day #209/365: Signal and signposts from and via Mr Julian House (#2); the worlds created by an otherly geometry

    Elswhere in the ether:
    Peruse the Field Recording Special #2 at Caught By The River. Cheryl Tipps’s curating at the British Library here and a smattering of I think her own recordings here.


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  • Artifact Report #4/52a: The Forest / The Wald Reviews & Transmissions

    File Under: Encasments / Artifacts – Audiological Transmissions Artifact #6

    The A Year In The Country releases have had somewhat sterling support from Kim Harten at Bliss Aquamarine, who has written some fine reviews of The Quietened Village, Fractures, The Quietened Bunker and The Forest / The Wald:

    Bliss Aquamarine-A Year In The Country“As with previous volumes in the series, the album brings together a number of different genres yet retains a cohesive feel due to the shared aesthetic and common theme of the music within. A recommended insight into the darker and more experimental side of folk music, as well as those artists whose music draws from other genres whilst tapping into the same eerie mood.”

    Visit the Bliss Aquamarine reviews here.

    Test Transmission Archive Reel 28-Keith Seatman-A Year In The CountryTracks by The Séance with Lutine and Bare Bones from The Forest / The Wald can  be found at Keith Seatman’s Test Transmission Archive Reel 28, amongst good company such as Peter Howell & John Ferdinando, Eno, Max Gregor, Obsil, The Glove, Johnny Flynn, Simon Heartfield, Perrey & Kingsley Pram, Owl Service, Ligeti, Jacky, Quintron and Jeff Mills.

    Visit that here.


    Previous reviews, broadcasts etc of The Forest / The Wald can be visited here.

    Peruse The Forest / The Wald around these parts here and an earlier revisiting here.

    It is available to order at our Artifacts Shop, our Bandcamp Ether Victrola, the Ghost Box Guest Shop and Norman Records.


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  • Ocular Signals #3/52a: Image C/1a

    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations


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  • Wanderings #3/52a: Luke Haines “our most non-hauntological hauntologist” – irrefutable proof / intertwining

    luke-haines-smash-the-system-album-morris-dancers-a-year-in-the-country-stroke-1File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    Although his work seems to exist in a genre all of its own*, Luke Haines has been described as “our most non-hauntological hauntologist” (strictly speaking he has been commented as being such by our good selves).

    The evidence? Well, his album British Nuclear Bunkers seemed to involve hidden patterns in TV idents and related ephemera and a surreal/parallel history version of Cold War dread.

    Nothing hauntological-esque to see there then.

    While previous albums took in a general hauntological sense of “the present being haunted by spectres of the past” (to semi-quote ourselves) and intermingled 1970s pop, marauding skinheads, Asti Spumante, teddy boy discos, the three day week, 1970s and 1980s wrestlers and so forth.

    But I think new(ish) album Smash The System both takes the proverbial biscuit and also seems to travel, in his own particular way, to the point at which hauntological concerns meet otherly folklore.


    So, for example, while there are all kinds of pop culture titles/references to the album (Marc Bolan, Bruce Lee, Vince Taylor etc) there are also tracks called Ritual Magick, Power of the Witch and The Incredible String Band…

    Meanwhile, the album has an archival morris dancers photograph as its cover and the accompanying video shows their contemporary equivalent on a slightly worrying and unsettling bender/borderline riotous fracas in an urban, capital city setting (while also name checking his love of The Monkees and The Velvet Underground).

    Oh and also features gas masks and a tray full of shots, which for some reason the latter of which I find the most unruly, unsettling and just a bit wrong.


    You know those television programs that show people not being able to handle their drinking/binge drinking in inner city areas as such places are turned into near no-go areas of a Saturday night?

    Well, in some alternate universe the traditional folkloric characters in this video are what you would see if you tuned in.

    (The arty-laryness of Earl Brutus and possibly even the imagined troublesome youth cult of A Clockwork Orange may also be appropriate reference points.)

    I’ve just watched it again and brrr, I’m both entranced and really don’t want to step into the world it shows/creates (and its fiction is only just burst at the end by the more normal smiles of a participant or two).

    (Move along, move along. There’s nothing hauntological nor intertwinings between spectres of the past and otherly folk to see here.)

    Previous evidence around these parts:
    Day #10/365: The Auteurs – How I Learned To Love The Boot Boys; our most non-hauntological hauntologist…

    Week #38/52: Mr Haines – “our most non-hauntological hauntologist” – the evidence mounts

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Step through to that other world here. Mr Haines’ home in the ether is here. Often quite witty mucking abouts by him here.

    And in a “do yourself a cultural favour” manner, one of his books here (no, not the edition with the cabbage on the front, thank you very much) and the rather classy, unparalleled, seething, now that the Empire has faded, I know what you’re doing in the afternoons, Albionic pop-noir of Black Box Recorder here.


    *Would One Time Indie Popstar,  Brief Top Twenty-er, Pantomine Villain(?), Pop Culture’s Reverse Explorer be too long a genre title for the racks of the record stores?


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  • Artifact Report #3/52a: Wild Hope Flowers / The Marks Upon The Land Clips

    Wild Hope Flowers-insert
    File Under: Encasments / Artifacts – Artifact #1a

    Clips from Wild Hope Flowers are online for listening to. Visit them here.

    Wild Hope Flowers is a four track song cycle created by longstanding contributors to United Bible Studies David Colohan and Richard Moult, also featuring Sophie Cooper on backing vocals and trombone.

    It travels along and amongst the ancient stories of the hills and fields upon which generations have trodden, an elegy for layered histories.

    the-marks-upon-the-land-book-david-colohan-richard-moult-airwaves-songs-from-the-sentinels-cassette-a-year-in-the-country-psdWild Hope Flowers will be released on CD to accompany The Marks Upon The Land book.

    Pre-order Februrary 6th. Released 6th March.

    More details of the release here.


    There is also a standalone version of the book available without the CDs, cassette & download at various Amazon UK and international sites, including: UKUSAFranceGermanySpain etc.

    Plus the standalone book is also available from Createspace (where it ships from the US).


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  • Ocular Signals #2/52a: Image B/1a

    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations


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  • Wanderings #2/52a: Merry Brownfield’s Merry England / The Eccentricity Of English Attire

    day-3a-merry-england-merry-brownfield-folk-costume-a-year-in-the-country-1File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    There have been a couple of photography books in recent years that have focused on the folkloric side of British/English costume, rituals and celebrations and I think I expected Merry Brownfield’s Merry England to be along similar lines by the title and cover…

    However, although photographs of people in traditional folk costume seems to form the heart of the book with sections titled Straw Bear, The Castleton Garland Day, Holly Man, Mummer’s Plays and Morris Dancers, it actually wanders considerably further afield to encompass pop culture tribes/styles such as mod, people who appear to have tumbled from the page of The Chap magazine in The Tweed Run and Vintage Style section…


    day-3a-merry-england-merry-brownfield-folk-costume-billinsgate-porter-a-year-in-the-country-1…and then it wanders off to include Pearly Kings And Queens, the comic convention-esque costumes of attendees to the World Darts Championship, traditional Billingsgate fish market bobbin hats and a number of possibly more contentious hunting/aristocratic areas.

    In some ways it reminds me in both style and breadth of Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane’s Folk Archive Book/Exhibition – more a sort of “from the people” view of things than specifically what could be considered folk aesthetics.


    The book was self-published by Merry Brownfield, who’s home in the ether can be found here. It seems to be out of print but can be found for but a few pence and pound here.

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #19/365: Once a Year – Homer Sykes
    Day #66/365: Sarah Hannants wander through the English ritual year
    Day #148/365: Folk Archive

    Around these parts and over the seas:
    Day #69/365: Charles Frégers Wilder Mann and rituals away from the shores of albion

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Henry Bourne’s Arcadia Britannica: A Modern British Folklore Portrait
    Sarah Hannant’s Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey Through The English Ritual Year


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