• Wanderings #26/52a: Past Cathode Ray Visions Of The Future / Capturing Of Ghosts

    NFT-1986 festival brochure-Fantastic Television-The Tomorrow People-Quatermass-Space 1999-Dr Who-A Year In The Country
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    Nowadays appreciations of older fantastic and science fiction television that is part of the hauntological canon of such things are… well, if not two a penny at least reasonably commonplace in certain cultural niches and corners and sometimes in a more mainstream sense.

    However, back in 1986 that wasn’t the case anywhere near as much.

    And even if it was, it was considerably harder to see such things than in these reissue and digital ease of access times.

    So, when I saw this 1986 brochure for the National Film Theatre festival in London it caught my eye due to the strand of showings called Fantastic Television.

    As part of that they showed episodes of Dr Who, various Quatermasses, Timeslip, Blake’s Seven, Survivors, Out Of The Unknown, The Andromeda Breakthrough, The Stone Tape, Ace Of Wands, Sapphire and Steel, Doomwatch, Casting The Runes, The Avengers, The Prisoner and various Gerry Anderson programs.

    NFT-1986 festival brochure-Fantastic Television-Quatermass-The Stone Tape-The Avengers

    I don’t know the ins and out of video tape issues of these various programmes and series but I expect for some of them this was a particularly rare outing in any form and possibly fairly unusual to present a whole season of them as part of a major, critically lauded and non cult/niche culture orientated film festival.

    I particularly like the description that accompanies The Stone Tape:

    “How do you capture a Ghost? In the old days people would try with a bell, book and candle, but with today’s technology the obvious answer is a computer. The new inhabitants of a country house discover it to be haunted and decide to programme a sophisticated computer to lay the ghost.”

    And also the subtitle for the season “Past Visions Of The Future”, which seems like a hauntological statement of intent before the phrase or philosophical/cultural idea had come into being.

     

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Well, that would be a fair few I expect but below is a selection or two;
    Day #23/365: Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape – a study of future haunted media

    Day #48/365: Sky: a selection of artifacts from a library of a boy who fell to earth…

    Day #183/365: Steam engine time and remnants of transmissions before the flood

    Day #202/365: Filming The Owl Service; Tomato Soap and Lonely Stones

    Day #236/365: The Owl Service: fashion plates and (another) peek behind the curtain

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

    Week #2/52: The Tomorrow People in The Visitor, a Woolworths-esque filter and travels taken…

     

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  • Artifact Report #26/52a: From The Furthest Signals Released

    Dawn Edition £11.95. Night Edition £24.95.From The Furthest Signals-A Year In The Country-Night and Dawn Editions opened
    Available via our Artifacts ShopBandcamp Ether Victrola and Norman Records.
    Released today 27th June 2017.

    Artifact #3a

    Featuring audiological explorations by Circle/Temple, David Colohan, Sharron Kraus, A Year In The Country, Time Attendant, Depatterning, Field Lines Cartographer, Grey Frequency, Keith Seatman, Polypores, The Hare And The Moon, Pulselovers and Listening Center.

    From The Furthest Signals takes as its initial reference points films, television and radio programs that have been in part or completely lost or wiped during a period in history before archiving and replication of such work had gained today’s technological and practical ease.

    Curiously, such television and radio broadcasts may not be fully lost to the wider universe as they can travel or leak out into space and so may actually still exist far from their original points of transmission and places of creation, possibly in degraded, fractured form and/or mixed amongst other stellar noises and signals.

    The explorations of From The Furthest Signals are soundtracks imagined and filtered through the white noise of space and time; reflections on those lost tales and the way they can become reimagined via hazy memories and history, of the myths that begin to surround such discarded, lost to view or vanished cultural artifacts.

    Listen to clips from the album at our Soundcloud: Mark II Ether Victrola

     

    Dawn Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £11.95.From The Furthest Signals-A Year In The Country-Dawn Edition opened
    Hand-finished white/black CDr album in textured recycled fold out sleeve with inserts and badge.From The Furthest Signal-Dawn-front cover-A Year In The CountryFrom The Furthest Signal-Dawn-opened-A Year In The CountryFrom The Furthest Signal-Dawn-back-A Year In The CountryFrom The Furthest Signals-Dawn-Edition-white-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                          Bottom of CD.

    Further encasement details:
    1) Custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink.
    2) Includes 25mm/1″ badge, secured with removable glue on string bound tag.
    3) Back of one insert hand numbered.

     

    Night Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £24.95.
    From The Furthest Signals-A Year In The Country-Night editions-2 copy

    Hand-finished box-set contains: album on all black CDr, 12 page string bound booklet, 4 x badge pack, 1 x large badge, 1 x round sticker, 1 x landscape format sticker.
    From The Furthest Signal-Night-front-A Year In The Country From The Furthest Signal-Night-opened-A Year In The CountryFrom The Furthest Signal-Night-all components-A Year In The Country From The Furthest Signal-Night-opened booklet page-A Year In The CountryFrom The Furthest Signals-Night-Edition-all-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                            Bottom of CD.

    Further encasement details:
    1) Booklet/cover art custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink.
    2) Contained in a matchbox style sliding two-part rigid matt card box with cover print.
    3) Fully black CDr (black on top, black on playable side).
    4) Black string bound booklet: 12 pages (6 sides printed);
    Printed on textured fine art cotton rag paper, heavy card and semi-transparent vellum.
    Hand numbered on the reverse.
    5) 4 x badge set, contained in a see-through polythene bag with a folded card header.
    6) 1 x large badge.
    7) 1 x round sticker, 1 x landscape format sticker.

    From The Furthest Signals-Night edition booklets-A Year In The Country From the Furthest Signals-Night Edition badge packs-A Year In The Country

     

    From The Furthest Signals-landscape sticker-A Year In The Country

    Further Audiological Exploration Details:
    1) Circle/Temple – The Séance/Search for Muspel-Light
    2) David Colohan – Brass Rubbings Club (Opening Titles)
    3) A Year In The Country – A Multitude Of Tumblings
    4) Sharron Kraus – Asterope
    5) Time Attendant – The Dreaming Green
    6) Depatterning – Aurora In Andromeda
    7) Sproatly Smith – The Thistle Doll
    8) Field Lines Cartographer – The Radio Window
    9) Grey Frequency – Ident (IV)
    10) Keith Seatman – Curious Noises & Distant Voices
    11) Polypores – Signals Caught Off The Coast
    12) The Hare And The Moon – Man Of Double Deed
    13) Pulselovers – Endless Repeats/Eternal Return
    14) Listening Center – Only The Credits Remain

    Artwork / encasment design by AYITC Ocular Signals Department.

    Library Reference Numbers: A009FTFSN and A009FTFSN.

    Both editions hand-finished and custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink by
    A Year In The Country.

    From The Furthest Signals-landscape image 1-A Year In The Country

    (File Under: Encasements / Artifacts – Artifact #3a)

     

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  • Ether Signposts #26/52a: Constructing The Wicker Man

    The Wicker Man-construction-production photograph

    I was recently wandering around the  The Wicker Man (1973) Wikia website and posted about its multi-layered archiving of The Wicker Man related material…

    The Wicker Man-cherry picker-under construction-2

    Some of the images I was particularly struck by were those that showed the literal construction of the film’s Wickerman structure/s.

    The Wicker Man-under construction

    The Wicker Man-1973-production notes-sketchAnd quite simply I wanted to post some of them online as well, it gives me a chance to peruse them again myself.

    Also because as I mentioned in my previous post about the related Wikia site, I don’t find seeing such “behind the scenes” images takes away from the myth and mystique of the film, rather that they more seem like part of the layered myths and stories that surround The Wickerman – of which the production of the film, its intrigues and tales are an intrinsic part.

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    The Wicker Man (1973) Wikia (introduction page)
    Behind The Scenes (still pictures)

     

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  • Ocular Signals #25/52a: Image Y/1a

    Image-Y1a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country-stroke
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #25/52a: Virginia Astley’s It’s Too Hot To Sleep

    Virgina Astley-From Gardens Where We Feel Secure-vinyl-Rough Trade-A Year In The Country

    Well considering the recent British weather (34 degrees temperatures recorded, the hottest Juneday since 1976, barristers and judges allowed to remove their traditional gowns and wigs etc), I thought about now might well be a good time to revisit Virginia Astley’s 1983 album From Gardens Where We Feel Secure and in particular the track It’s Too Hot To Sleep.

    This album has been something of an ongoing touchstone for A Year In The Country and back in the first year of wanderings I wrote this:

    Virginia Astley photograph-A Year In The CountryI’ve just put the album on and it’s like saying hello once more to a very welcome old friend. It’s the very definition of bucolic and is an album which summates England’s pastoral, edenic dreams…

    “I first listened to music from this album late one hot, hazy, balmy summer night and I was just transfixed and transported. Appropriately I think one of the first songs I listened to was It’s Too Hot To Sleep, which is a gentle lullaby of a song, all lilting and the soft hoots of owls; which in a way could describe much of the album.

    As I said in that first year post, the album’s sense of otherlyness is not overt, it’s more just a quiet sense of something else, of other patterns and undercurrents on the edge of consciousness and sight and that is present in it creating a sense of almost dreamlike reverie or possibly a nostalgia for some lost imagined rural idyll.

    Anyways, it’s lovely stuff and rather fine to revisit.

    Virgina-Astley-From-Gardens-Where-We-Feel-Secure-vinyl-Rough-Trade-A-Year-In-The-Country-2b-CD front and back

    (File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations)

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide:
    Virginia Astley’s Too Hot To Sleep

    Local Broadcasts:
    Day #4/365: Electric Eden; a researching, unearthing and drawing of lines between the stories of Britain’s visionary music
    Day #118/365: Virginia Astley’s From Gardens Where We Feel Secure

     

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  • Wanderings #25/52a: Stone Circle Documents / Layering Over Time

    Rings Of Stone-Aubrey Burl-Edward Piper-stone circles-A Year In The CountryFile under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    A while ago I wrote If “Sometimes Slightly Dour 1970s Books On Windmills That Have Subtley Gained A Layer Or Two Of Extra Resonance With The Passing Of Time” Was A Quite Long Book Genre…

    Well, near to that section in an imagined bookshop/library may well be the “Sometimes Slightly Dour 1970s Books On Stone Circles That Have Subtley Gained A Layer Or Two Of Extra Resonance With The Passing Of Time” section.

    There are a lot of books that have been published on stone circles; tourist orientated ones, academic, photographic, photographic/text intertwined, populist etc and a quick glance at say one of the more well known online retailers will bring up a fair few recently published books along those lines.

    Which is all good and fine but I tend to find that it’s the accidental older finds that I’m drawn to, books that, well have “gained a layer or two of extra resonance with the passing of time”.

    Rings Of Stone by Aubrey Burl and Edward Piper, published in 1979, would be one of those.

    Rings Of Stone-Aubrey Burl-Edward Piper-stone circles-A Year In The Country-2

    I think it would be the above pages that first caught my eye… there’s something about them, particularly the one on the right that just seems a little too… angular? Geometric?

    They put me in mind of the reflective sculptures/weapons around the dome in Phase IV.

    Rings Of Stone-Aubrey Burl-Edward Piper-stone circles-A Year In The Country-3

    While the above image just seems, well, wrong, while also being a good capturing of a particular atmosphere and spirit of time and place.

    Rings Of Stone-Aubrey Burl-Edward Piper-stone circles-A Year In The Country-4

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #149/365: Phase IV – lost celluloid flickering (return to), through to Beyond The Black Rainbow and journeys Under The Skin

    Week #5/52: The Right Side Of The Hedge – gardens where (should we?) feel secure and velocipede enhanced long arms…

    Week #15/52: Phase IV / a revisiting / the arrival of artifacts lost and found and curious contrasts

    Wanderings #9/52a: If “Sometimes Slightly Dour 1970s Books On Windmills That Have Subtley Gained A Layer Or Two Of Extra Resonance With The Passing Of Time” Was A Quite Long Book Genre

    Wanderings #11/52a: Ancient Lands And A Very Particular Atmosphere From Back When

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Peruse the book here.

     

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  • Artifact Report #25/52a: The Restless Field at Goldmine/Spin Cycle, Bliss Aquamarine, Sunrise Ocean Bender and The Séance

    Artifact Report 25-52a-The-Restless-Field-Dawn-Edition-front-A-Year-In-The-Country-1600

    A selection of reviews and broadcasts of The Restless Field album…

    Goldmine magazine logo-Dave Thompson-Spin Cycle 2Dave Thompson has reviewed The Restless Field at Goldmine/Spin Cycle:

    …endlessly evocative, a series of sonic sketches hang as heavy as history.  Field Line Cartographer’s “Ghosts of Blood and Iron” is harsh, unforgiving electronics; Vic Mars’ “Mortimer’s Cross’ is contrarily gentle, an acoustic pattern and the ghost of woodwind.  Sproatly Smith’s “Ribbons” is barely audible for its first thirty seconds, but builds around sound and effects to conjure a sense of unfathomable menace; David Colohan’s “Beyond Jack’s Gate” is a mournful organ requiem that closes the disc with heart-stopping finality.
    Goldmine/Spincycle

    Bliss Aquamarine-A Year In The CountryKim Harten reviews the album at Bliss Aquamarine:

    …Bare Bones have links with The Straw Bear Band and The Owl Service, and tread a similar road to Stone Breath with the combination of medieval music and raw and dark Appalachian-inspired folk based around banjo and droning fiddle. Assembled Minds provide an electronic, beat-driven instrumental made with analogue synths; it could almost be called a dance track yet its cold, dark and somewhat experimental nature sets it apart from your average dance music by many, many miles. Listening Center’s whirring and chugging vintage synths conjure up images of a dystopian sci-fi movie from the 1970s. Pulselovers accompany a strong electronic melody with an effective mix of hypnotic pulsing chugging rhythm, spacey whirrs, atmospheric drones, and nature sounds.
    Bliss Aquamarine

    Sunrise Ocean Bender-The Restless Field radio broadcast

    More tracks from the album have been played on the Sunrise Ocean Bender radio show, amongst the likes of Sinoia Cave’s soundtrack for Beyond The Black Rainbow. It was originally broadcast on WRIR FM and the show is archived here.

    The Seance Radio show-wider logo

    And finally, Vic Mars’ Mortimer’s Cross and Time Attendant’s Black Slab from the album were played on two episodes of The Séance’s phantom seaside radio show. They were originally broadcast on Radio Reverb and Sine FM and are archived here and here.

    Thanks to Dave Thompson, Kim Harten, Kevin McFadin, Pete Wiggs and James Papademetrie for the ongoing support. Tip of the hat to them all.

    The Restless Field-Night Edition-landscape sticker artwork 2-A Year In The Country

    Previous transmissions, reviews etc of The Restless Field:
    Artifact Report #14/52a: The Restless Field at Simon Reynold’s blissblog and the sunday experience

    Artifact Report #16/52a: The Restless Field at Flatland Frequencies, Syndae and whisperandhollerin

    Artifact Report #17/52a: The Restless Field at Sunrise Ocean Bender and John Coulthart’s Feuilleton

    Artifact Report #19/52a: The Restless Field Transmissions and Reviews

    The Restless Field-Night Edition-booklet artwork 3-A Year In The Country

    The Restless Field-A Year In The Country-dawn editions openedThe Restless Field is a study of the land as a place of conflict and protest as well as beauty and escape; an exploration and acknowledgment of the history and possibility of protest, resistance and struggle in the landscape/rural areas, in contrast with sometimes more often referred to urban events.

    It takes inspiration from flashpoints in history while also interweaving personal and societal myth, memory, the lost and hidden tales of the land.

    The album contains audiological explorations by Field Lines Cartographer, Vic Mars, Bare Bones, Assembled Minds, Grey Frequency, Endurance, Listening Center, Pulselovers, Sproatly Smith, Polypores, Depatterning, Time Attendant, A Year In The Country and David Colohan.

    Listen to clips/tracks from the album at our Soundcloud Ether Victrola Mark II and at the album’s Bandcamp page.

    Further details on the album can be found here.

    (File Post Under: Encasements / Artifacts – Artifact #3a)

     

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  • Ether Signposts #25/52a: 138 Layers And Gatherings Of The Wicker Man

    The Wicker Man 1973-US press book

    I recently went a-wandering to have a look-see if I could fine the original press book for The Wickerman – as I’ve mentioned around these parts before I have something of a softspot for press booklets from back.

    As far as I can see there were two main ones back in 1973; one for the US and one for the UK.

    Despite the cult and collectible nature of the film you can still occasionally find them, although they’re not necessarily cheap; the two I found were priced at/sold for around £26.00 and £325 (ahem!).

    Anyways, as I was having a potter around online I found a site called The Wicker Man (1973) Wikia…

    …and just when you think you know a fair bit about the film, have read a related book or two and seen a documentary or few etc…

    …well, you realise you’re just scratching the surface.

    The Wickerman-rating

    The Wicker Man (1973) Wikia site has 138 different pages on the film, which may not sound like all that many but some of those have literally dozens of photographs, hundreds of pieces of information etc: maps, autographs, scripts, newspaper articles, behind the scenes photographs by the dozen, location photographs then and now, scripts, production notes, floor plans, reunion photographs, memoirs from cast and crew, images from missing scenes, fanzines, construction plans…

    …and that’s to mention just a few of the things that can be found there.

    The Wickerman-lost scene in hairdressers

    Some of my favourite parts of the site are the Behind The Scenes page, in particular the images of the construction of The Wicker Man itself and also the numbered on-set and press photographs taken from contact sheets.

    The Wicker Man-1973-UK press bookThose two parts of the site seem, even though they are on a public site, to offer a semi-hidden view or a glance behind the curtain at it were.

    And interestingly, I don’t find that they ruin the mystique or myths of the film for me, which I can do sometimes with such photographs or “How We Made The Film” documentaries and DVD extras.

    That’s possibly because The Wicker Man has such a multi-layered set of myths around it, some of which are intrinsically connected and interwoven with the production of the film itself and related backstories.

    The Wicker Man-1973-Production notesWillow Umbrella-Christopher Lee-The Wicker Man-1973

    The site is a real labour of love that put me in mind of the Kate Bush Clippings site that I wrote about a while ago, on which there are hundreds or more scans of related magazine etc articles.

    The two sites may well also be interconnected in that both Kate Bush and The Wickerman seem to have come to represent, have spun or exist within some kind of world and myths all of their own; ones that connect with some kind of sense of arcane, layered stories, history and fantasia from this part of the world.

    Because of the vast nature of the site and the way that it is built (and possibly because of my initial sense of “must try and read and see it all”) it can be a bit overwhelming, so I thought a few initial pointers towards starting points and pages that caught my eye might be helpful…

    Directions and Destinations:
    The Wicker Man (1973) Wikia (introduction page)
    All Pages (you may be there a while…)
    Behind The Scenes (still pictures)
    Negative numbers (for on-set and press photographs)
    Images (all images on the site)
    Missing Scenes

    Kate Bush Clippings Site (and around these parts)

     

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

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  • Ocular Signals #24/52a: Image X/1a

    Image-X1a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country-stroke
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #24/52a: Agincourt’s Fly Away

    Fly Away-Agincourt-1970-acid folk

    I recently came across Agincourt’s Fly Away album from 1970, which was listed as being privately pressed acid folk and for a brief moment I thought I had stumbled upon on a semi-lost musical artifact that existed all on it’s own…

    …but quite quickly I realised that I had come across two of it’s creators’ John Ferdinando and Peter Howell’s work before, as they had recorded a 1969 album called Alice Through The Looking Glass that I had previously read about/listened to.

    Both Alice Through The Looking Glass and Fly Away are sweetly naive, gentle, whimsical, homespun albums. Some might consider them twee at points but I think that aspect is part of their charm.

    Fly Away-Agincourt-1970-acid folk-3

    On Agincourt’s Fly Away it is the tracks that feature Lee Menelaus’ vocals which more catch my eye/ear, in particular the songs When I Awoke, Though I May Be Dreaming, Take Me There, Dawn and Kind Sir.

    Although recorded in that actual period, they put me in mind of the recreation and reimagining of past eras that you might find in say Death And Vanilla’s work; a sort of gently leftfield late 1960s pop perfection that in Agincourt’s case conjures a pastoral atmosphere or an accompanying video of walking through sun-dappled wheat fields at the side of a forest (an exclamation mark may be appropriate about now – !).

    They lyrics of Though I May Be Dreaming seem to reflect on the end of 1960s hippie utopian thoughts and ways but without a sense of bitterness and looking back they could also be seen as a harbinger of a related retreat and escape into more rural, pastoral concerns that happened around then:

    “Everything changes when winter comes
    Gone are the promises made in the summer of love…
    Though I may be dreaming
    I know that I will always find
    Plenty to ease my mind drinking country wine”

    Listening to the song again, it would not have surprised me to find out that actually this had been a release on that most whimsical, imaginary realm of English pop record label él, back in the 1980s.

    Fly Away-Agincourt-1970-acid folk-4 Fly Away-Agincourt-1970-acid folk-2

    Although Agincourt has a more recorded at home and possibly less polished atmosphere, the pastoral pop-(prog?)-folk of Caedmon’s Sea Song from their also privately pressed eponymous 1978 album may also be a reference point.

    And talking of homespun etc, Fly Away’s album cover is wonderfully lo-fi: it makes me think of the sort of album that musical delver and reissuer Jonny Trunk would post about in a “I’ve finally found it, been looking for it for years” way.

    Interestingly and in a way that connects with A Year In The Country’s sometimes wandering amongst work where the flipside of bucolia meets more hauntological concerns, Peter Howell of Agincourt would go on to work as a sound engineer at the BBC. He worked on the soundtrack for Doctor Who, creating an arrangement of the classic Ron Grainer/Delia Derbyshire theme that was used in the show around 1980-1985.

    Fly Away was only pressed in very small quantities of vinyl back at the time of its original release. It has had a CD reissue but that is also long since sold out. It can be listened to online still (although I’m not sure the music’s creators’ are likely to receive any financial recompense from such things).

    (File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations)

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide:
    Fly Away continuous recording including notes
    Fly Away playlist at The Psychedelic Garden
    Alice Through The Looking Glass playlist
    Peter Howell’s arrangement of the Doctor Who theme

    Background notes on Peter Howell and John Ferdinando

     

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  • Wanderings #24/52a: Zardoz Ephemera / A Revisiting Of Fading Vessellings

    Zardoz-laser disc-novel-Arrow Bluray-A Year In The Country
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    A gathering of a few Zardoz related ephemera… the novelisation, the Arrow Bluray release and its earlier HD counterpart and one of the laserdiscs…

    …because, well, there’s nothing quite like revisiting a relatively big budget, big name, genuine cinematic oddity that could be said to create its own particular take on psychedelia, back out to the country utopianism and heavy, heavy (man) post 1960s comedowns…

    Or to quote myself:

    “It feels like a genuinely psychedelic and dreamlike experience in many ways… a dissonant, challenging blockbuster/spectacle film in a way, full of “I can’t actually believe that this was allowed to come to the big screen” moments, questioning of societies actions, elements of 20th century fairy tales and philosophy amongst, well, the thigh length boots, nudity, guns and entertainment.”

    Now, you could spend all day (well, a fair few hours) browsing the various Zardoz related memorabilia, although largely it would be variations on similar themes – a handful of period magazines, the varying video/DVD/Bluray/laserdisc releases and different countries posters and lobby cards.

    Zardoz-contact sheet-A Year In The Country

    One of the few actually different items that you may come across though are a handful of contact sheets.

    Its hard to know if these are the original “tumbled out of the dark room from back when” sheets or reprints but I’m quite drawn to them.

    Although I’m not somebody who has a didactic, either/or view on digital versus analogue technology and processes, I have found a certain magic to occur within dark rooms and contact sheets seem like very genuine, scarce and precious artifacts.

    Laserdiscs meanwhile seem like such, to use that word again, oddities in the modern world. Or maybe that should be stranded artifacts.

    They’re very solid, almost monumental seeming things, heavy, physically large and films sometimes came on more than one disc in gatefold sleeves and are an interesting way of seeing related artwork – collectible in themselves even without the ability to play them.

    Laserdisc-Zardoz-A Year In The Country-2 Laserdisc-Zardoz-A Year In The Country

    Despite the fact that this laserdisc copy of Zardoz is fading and corroding I know there may well be a frame or two of He who fights too long against dragons, becomes a dragon himself” tales on there somewhere,

    However, on this side of the pond and on this particular island laser disc players were such relative rarities and the technology required so specific that it is a genie (or should that be a reverse wizard of Oz?) caught in a relatively inoperable jar.

    Even with something like say old 35mm trailer reels without a projector you can still hold them up to the light to see the individual frames and with cassette tape there are still plenty of cassette players knocking about the world and  tapes themselves are still being replicated.

    …but laser discs.

    Nope.

    The last new disc was released in 2000 and although the players themselves were still sold in very limited and fairly pricey quantities until 2009, decent used working players in the UK are increasingly hard to find.

    (I say decent as surprisingly, although they look like a forerunner to DVDs, as with vinyl, audio and video cassettes this was an analogue system and so the better players give a better picture and sound.)

     

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #177/365: Zardoz… in this secret room from the past, I seek the future…

    Day #356/365: Audiological Reflections and Pathways #6; fading vessellings

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Details of laserdisc players here (or electro-mechanical helium-neon laser players and Discovision).

     

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  • Artifact Report #24/52a: From The Furthest Signals Pre-Order

    Dawn Edition £11.95. Night Edition £24.95.
    From The Furthest Signal-Night and Dawn editions-A Year In The Country
    Available via our Artifacts Shop, our Bandcamp Ether Victrola and Norman Records.
    Pre-order 13th June 2017. Released 27th June 2017.

    Artifact #3a

    Featuring audiological explorations by Circle/Temple, David Colohan, Sharron Kraus, A Year In The Country, Time Attendant, Depatterning, Field Lines Cartographer, Grey Frequency, Keith Seatman, Polypores, The Hare And The Moon, Pulselovers and Listening Center.

    From The Furthest Signals takes as its initial reference points films, television and radio programs that have been in part or completely lost or wiped during a period in history before archiving and replication of such work had gained today’s technological and practical ease.

    Curiously, such television and radio broadcasts may not be fully lost to the wider universe as they can travel or leak out into space and so may actually still exist far from their original points of transmission and places of creation, possibly in degraded, fractured form and/or mixed amongst other stellar noises and signals.

    The explorations of From The Furthest Signals are soundtracks imagined and filtered through the white noise of space and time; reflections on those lost tales and the way they can become reimagined via hazy memories and history, of the myths that begin to surround such discarded, lost to view or vanished cultural artifacts.

    Listen to clips from the album at our Soundcloud: Mark II Ether Victrola

     

    Dawn Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £11.95.
    Hand-finished white/black CDr album in textured recycled fold out sleeve with inserts and badge.From The Furthest Signal-Dawn-front cover-A Year In The Country From The Furthest Signal-Dawn-back-A Year In The CountryFrom The Furthest Signal-Dawn-opened-A Year In The CountryFrom The Furthest Signals-Dawn-Edition-white-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                          Bottom of CD.

    Further encasement details:
    1) Custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink.
    2) Includes 25mm/1″ badge, secured with removable glue on string bound tag.
    3) Back of one insert hand numbered.

     

    Night Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £24.95.
    Hand-finished box-set contains: album on all black CDr, 12 page string bound booklet, 4 x badge pack, 1 x large badge, 1 x round sticker, 1 x landscape format sticker.
    From The Furthest Signal-Night-front-A Year In The Country From The Furthest Signal-Night-opened-A Year In The CountryFrom The Furthest Signal-Night-all components-A Year In The Country From The Furthest Signal-Night-opened booklet page-A Year In The CountryFrom The Furthest Signals-Night-Edition-all-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                            Bottom of CD.

    Further encasement details:
    1) Booklet/cover art custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink.
    2) Contained in a matchbox style sliding two-part rigid matt card box with cover print.
    3) Fully black CDr (black on top, black on playable side).
    4) Black string bound booklet: 12 pages (6 sides printed);
    Printed on textured fine art cotton rag paper, heavy card and semi-transparent vellum.
    Hand numbered on the reverse.
    5) 4 x badge set, contained in a see-through polythene bag with a folded card header.
    6) 1 x large badge.
    7) 1 x round sticker, 1 x landscape format sticker.

     

    From The Furthest Signals-landscape sticker-A Year In The Country

    Further Audiological Exploration Details:
    1) Circle/Temple – The Séance/Search for Muspel-Light
    2) David Colohan – Brass Rubbings Club (Opening Titles)
    3) A Year In The Country – A Multitude Of Tumblings
    4) Sharron Kraus – Asterope
    5) Time Attendant – The Dreaming Green
    6) Depatterning – Aurora In Andromeda
    7) Sproatly Smith – The Thistle Doll
    8) Field Lines Cartographer – The Radio Window
    9) Grey Frequency – Ident (IV)
    10) Keith Seatman – Curious Noises & Distant Voices
    11) Polypores – Signals Caught Off The Coast
    12) The Hare And The Moon – Man Of Double Deed
    13) Pulselovers – Endless Repeats/Eternal Return
    14) Listening Center – Only The Credits Remain

    Artwork / encasment design by AYITC Ocular Signals Department.

    Library Reference Numbers: A009FTFSN and A009FTFSN.

    Both editions hand-finished and custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink by
    A Year In The Country.

    From The Furthest Signals-landscape artwork 2-A Year In The Country-2

    (File Under: Encasements / Artifacts – Artifact #3a)

     

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  • Ether Signposts #24/52a: The Wicker Man / Don’t Look Now Double Bill And Media Disseminations From What Now Seem A Long Long Time Ago

    The Wicker Man-Dont Look Now-double bill-The Guardian and The Observer DVDs

    Fairly recently I was in a charity shop and on the counter they had a box full of the DVDs and CDs that used to come free with newspapers…

    That time now seems long, long ago, before the advent and popularity of online streaming services for films.

    The Wicker Man-Dont Look Now-double bill-The Guardian and The Observer DVDs-2

    Anyways, a while after I got home I realised that two of the DVDs I had gotten from the shop were effectively the original double bill cinema release of The Wicker Man and Don’t Look Now.

    The version of The Wickerman on the DVD is one of the shorter ones with a runtime of 84 minutes but nonetheless I suppose for Wickerman collectors and completists this would still be something to look out for.

    Finding them also made me curious if there had ever been one of those double bill cinema posters for the two films.

    They were once quite popular and now seem to often capture previous era’s styles and aesthetics.

    The Wicker Man and Dont Look Now-double bill adverts

    However, despite quite a search for one of those double bill posters I couldn’t find one, only a couple of newspaper/magazine adverts.

    So in lieu of an actual double-bill poster I thought I would repost a double page spread from a copy of Film Review magazine back in 1974, showing The Wicker Man side-by-side with its cinematic partner:

    The Wicker Man-Dont Look Now-Film Review Magazine-A Year In The Country-1200

    Directions and Destinations:
    Day #90/365: The Wickerman – the future lost vessels and artifacts of modern folklore
    For Summer Isle completists: The Wickerman and Don’t Look Now

     

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

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  • Ocular Signals #23/52a: Image W/1a

    Image-W1a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #23/52a: The Viewing Portals of Children Of Alice

    Children Of Alice website-1

    I’m rather taken by the Children Of Alice website: it seems to harken back to a time before the busy hustle and bustle of todays ever-updating and information full social media and online world.

    It consists of just a set of nine animated GIF slideshows on a black background, which flicker, rotate and seem to almost slide away from view when you try to watch and focus them on the page as they create a set of screens for or portals to a very particular world.

    And in contrast to much of todays online world, the only nod to functionality or user interaction on the site is that when moused over one of the GIFs/slideshow images changes from the album cover image to simply read “Children Of Alice Out Now” with three links to where the album can be bought.

    Children Of Alice website-3

    Rather than the more uncanny pastoral collage and themes of the first Children Of Alice album, the imagery in these GIFs seems nearer to the haunted dancehall, parallel worlds of Ghost Box Records and Julian House’s related work.

    And while it contains some similar arcane imagery as may be found amongst the Ghost Box releases, it also seems to conjure a sense of belonging in part to some earlier era than Ghost Box, mixed here and there with flashes of some kind of almost Kenneth Anger-esque hipster-ness.

    The soundtrack to the website mixes and filters a sense of being the theme tune to a lost children’s television series, possibly a distant animated kin to the Moomins or Clangers, along with a woozy hauntological take on the gentle escape of say Virginia Astley’s From Gardens Where We Feel Secure.

    Children Of Alice website-2

    While still musically experimental and layered, it is more overtly accessible and melodic than much of the work on the first Children Of Alice full release and it puts me in mind of the Broadcast And The Focus Group Investigate Witchcults Of The Radio Age album in its more conventional moments.

    Musically and visually I think the site is an interesting pointer or harbinger for future Children Of Alice work, if its creators choose to move away from the more pastoral, folkloric concepts and themes of Folklore Tapes where their work first appeared.

    (File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations)

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide: Children Of Alice’s website

     

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  • Wanderings #23/52a: Malcolm Pointon – Electromuse

    Malcolm Pointon-Electromuse-Ian Helliwell-Public Information
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    I’ve been rather taken by the Malcolm Pointon album Electromuse that was released by Public Information.

    Some electronic music from earlier eras I can sometimes find more interesting culturally than as work to actually sit down and listen to.

    However the tracks presented here are a different deal altogether.

    Particularly Symbiosis, especially once it really kicks in around 2:30 into it’s playing time.

    This is threatening, engrossing music.

    It sounds like all of the contemporary electronic takes on what has come to be known as hauntology synthesized (literally) and boiled down into one piece of work.

    As I listen to it again, it puts me in mind of early Human League’s darker, instrumental, artsy but not self indulgent older brother – Being Boiled Plus Plus.

    Good stuff.

    Malcolm Pointon-Electromuse-Ian Helliwell-Public Information-2

    And talking of hauntology – the cover art – just a stark presentation of one of the original tapes seems as though it could have tumbled from a spectral hauntology film project (the made-at-home, good old British pluck companion to The Berberian Sound Studio?).

    Similar could be said of the accompanying studio-like tracklisting and tape speed.

    And although of its time much of the work here sounds curiously contemporary. Possibly in part because some of the sounds, styles and atmospheres to be found on the album have been revisited by some of hauntology but I think it’s more than that…

    …maybe it’s that there’s a certain, hmmm, not necessarily timelessness but maybe more a sense that this is in part unexplored, un-heavily harvested work.

    Something interesting I read about Malcolm Pointon was that although the members of The Radiophonic Workshop often receive much of the attention and plaudits, here was a gent separate to all that and its associated state sponsorship – this was literally personal, private endeavour and that just mentioned good old British pluck.

     

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    The album was compiled by Ian Helliwell and Public Information. It can be perused further here.

     

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  • Artifact Report #23/52a: Grey Frequency’s Agrarian Lament Video

    Grey Frequency-Agrarian Lament video still-From The Furthest Fields
    File Under: Encasments / Artifacts – Artifact #2a

    The Restless Field-Dawn Edition-front-A Year In The CountryThe video to accompany Grey Frequency’s Agrarian Lament from The Restless Field album can be viewed amongst their other hypnotic audio visual work at their Youtube channel.

    Grey Frequency’s online home for their “ethereal ambient transmissions” can be visited here.

    Further details on The Restless Field album can be viewed here.

     

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  • Ether Signposts #23/52a: Nigel Kneale’s Lost Visions And A Library Of Voyages Into The Unknown

    Nigel Kneale-The Road still

    As mentioned in the notes for the A Year In The Country From The Furthest Signals album, it is a strange thing in the modern world, where most of culture is endlessly recorded, stored, archived and replicated relatively easily via digital technology, to think of a time when that was not the case, particularly in terms of radio and television broadcasts.

    In past eras these were often produced and transmitted live or if they were recorded then the physical media that held them were often wiped, discarded, damaged and/or quite simply just lost.

    There were a number of reasons for such actions and loss, including the cost and sheer physical volume of storage space required to archive them, wishing to save money by re-using tapes, not necessarily thinking that such recordings would have worth or cultural value in the future and sometimes just the literal fragility or unstably dangerous nature of the recording media.

    Day 14-The Twilight Language Of Nigel Kneale-Strange Attractor-A Year In The Country

    Quite a few areas of what have come to gain a cult following in British television suffered such fates, in particular broadcasts of some of Nigel Kneale’s work.

    One of his lost television plays is The Road from 1963.

    This was set in 1770 and involves a country squire and “natural philosopher” Sir Timothy Hassell investigating a haunted wood where men pass away screaming after hearing strange cries “as if all the dead people was risin’ out o’ Hell”.

    This is a phenomenon that occurs just once a year, on Michaelmas Eve. Sir Timothy decides to investigate, thinking it’s a past echo of a retreating Roman army… but it is actually the cries of those suffering in a future apocalyptic attack.

    The idea of which is genuinely chilling and although part of me would like to see it, part of me is kind of glad I can’t.

    Nigel Kneale plays-The Road-Stone Tape-Year Of-BFI DVD Stone Tape-2

    Anyways, the script for The Road is available as a PDF on the out of print BFI DVD of The Stone Tape.

    It was also published in book form in 1976 alongside the scripts for The Stone Tape and Year Of The Sex Oympics but the last time I looked you would need to be breaking into probably quite a few of your piggy banks to be able afford one as it’s rather rare and tends to cost in the hundreds of pounds.

    Nigel Kneales The Road reading

    There have been other fleeting glances of The Road; for a while there was a live amateur production of it available to watch online but that has since disappeared and transgressive horror research project The Miskatonic Institute presented a live reading of it at The Horse Hospital in London in 2015.

    The Horse Hospital reading was to mark the launch of a book of essays about Nigel Kneale called We Are The Martians: The Legacy Of Nigel Kneale, which was delayed somewhat but which is finally due to appear this year, which will feature writing by amongst others Mark Gatiss, Tim Lucas, Kim Newman and Neil Snowdon.

    Nigel Kneale books-We Are The Martians-Into The Unknown-Quatermass And The Pit-The Twilight Language

    It joins a number of other explorations of his work in book form; the biographical Into The Unknown: The Fantastic Life Of Nigel Kneale by Andy Murray (which is to be revised and republished by Headpress in 2017), Kim Newman’s Quatermass And The Pit published by the BFI and the beautifully produced, risograph printed collection of essays The Twilight Language Of Nigel Kneale, which was edited by edited Sukhdev Sandhu, published by Strange Attractor and Texte und Töne and designed in a rather fine manner by Seen Studios.

    We Are The Martians-The Legacy Of Nigel Kneale-Spectral Screen edition
    (The earlier version of the book’s cover.)

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    Into The Unknown: The Fantastic Life Of Nigel Kneale by Andy Murray (original version)
    Into The Unknown: The Fantastic Life Of Nigel Kneale by Andy Murray (revised edition)
    Quatermass And The Pit by Kim Newman
    The Twilight Language Of Nigel Kneale at Strange Attractor
    The Twilight Language Of Nigel Kneale at Seen Studios
    We Are The Martians: The Legacy Of Nigel Kneale
    The Road At The Miskatonic Institute

    Local places of interest:
    Day #15/365. The Twilight Language Of Nigel Kneale
    Day #23/365: Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape – a study of future haunted media
    Day #197/365: Huff-ity puff-ity ringstone round; Quatermass and the finalities of lovely lightning
    Week #45/52: Quatermass finds and ephemera from back when
    Artifact Report #21/52a: From The Furthest Signals – Preorder And Release Dates

     

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  • Ocular Signals #22/52a: Image V/1a

    Image-V1a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country-stroke
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #22/52a: Edgelands – Psychogeographical Folk Tales In An Unexpected Realm

    Edgelands-Marshlight software-Hoofus-3b

    “Magic and folklore… entangle the modern world… in an uncanny rustic adventure…”

    No, it’s not the taglines from the poster to a folk horror film that you’ve not heard of.

    They are from one of the trailer’s for a computer game called Edgelands created by Marshlight software.

    Now, it’s a fair old while since I’ve been especially intrigued by a computer game.

    But…

    …well, this looks lovely.

    To a startling synth soundtrack by Hoofus (who shared a cassette with IX Tab in record label Front & Follow’s Blow series of releases) that quite frankly made my hair stand on end, the trailer evokes an enchanting flipside of the folkloric atmosphere that I expect I’ve been looking for in films, television etc all throughout A Year In The Country.

    Edgelands-Marshlight software-Hoofus-2b

    I didn’t expect to accidentally find it via a computer game.

    And more than that, although I’m not any kind of up-to-date expert on such things, this is one of the first times that I’ve seen a computer game that feels genuinely personal, to be telling a personal emotional tale in the way that films or television can do.

    And without the flash-bang-whallop factor of much of modern gaming.

    The mechanics of the game seem in part like an evolution of the old text based adventure games from a fair few decades ago, which also adds to the appeal for me.

    On that Blow cassette, one of the Hoofus tracks was called Edgeland Industries.

    Edgelands-Marshlight software-Hoofus-1

    And when I delved a bit further I discovered that Edgelands was created by Andre Bosman, who is also responsible for Hoofus.

    In an interview he says of the game:

    The inspirations and ideas behind my music are very similar to the sorts of themes I’m exploring in The Edgelands (such as uncanny beauty, rural hinterlands). In many ways it feels like Hoofus – The Game… As well as being a musician I also have a background in graphic design, and it feels like all this different creative strands I’ve been following now have a place where they can all work together to make something interesting.”

    That intertwining of different layers and mediums is one of the aspects of Edgelands that makes it so intriguing…

    Edgelands-Marshlight software-Hoofus-5b

    And to the question “You also talked about ‘psychogeographical folk tales’ – what are they then?” he says:

    Tapping into the sense of overwhelming feelings that being in a particular landscape can give you, and exploring the idea that these feelings are related to some intangible forces that are deeply rooted in that landscape. And then taking that further by imagining the sorts of folk stories that might have arisen because of how it feels to walk in a particular wood at night. And then taking it a bit further still by imagining that somebody builds a fancy restaurant or a hat factory in that wood, and what sort of atmosphere that would have, and how the intangible forces would integrate with the modern occupants, and what sort of modern occupants would feel comfortable in that situation… and then turning that into yet more folk tales. Ambiguous magical stories based on ambiguous magical feelings in the landscape caused by ambiguous magical forces.

    Edgelands-Marshlight software-Hoofus-4

    On the Marshlight website the game is described as:

    The Edgelands is an atmospheric adventure set in the present day, based on real and imagined folklore.

    Beginning in a house in the forgotten rural backwoods beyond the City, you soon find yourself exploring an uncanny rustic twilight landscape in which familiar rural landmarks overlap with otherworldly occurrences, creating a dream-like blurring of the ordinary and the supernatural.

    The Edgelands is focused on exploration and atmosphere, not brain-taxing puzzles and inventory juggling. It is a sedate and eerie experience, with an ambiguous narrative designed to enhance the mood of dusky ramblings in mysterious places where urban and rural environments overlap.

    Interest piqued, as they say. Definitely something for further investigation.

    (File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations. Sub-section: Psychogeographic Folkloric Gaming)

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide:
    The Edgelands Trailer
    The Edgelands Teaser Trailer
    An Interview with Andre Rosman on Edgelands
    Edgelands at Marshlight Software
    The Hoofus Edgelands soundtrack at Bandcamp
    Loomings from the trailer’s soundtrack
    Blow Volume 1 at Front & Follow

    A Year In The Country Broadcasts & Wanderings:
    Day #115/365: Edward Chell’s Soft Estates – documents of autobahn edgelands
    Day #160/365: Edgelands Report Documents; Cases #1a (return), #2a-5a.

     

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