• Wanderings #13/52a: Boards Of Canada – Tomorrows Harvest; Stuck At The Starting Post / Tumbled From A Future Phase IV?

    boards-of-canada-tomorrows-harvest-warp-artcard-edition-a-year-in-the-country-1c
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    So, Gemini, the first track on Boards Of Canada’s Tomorrow’s Harvest album from 2013…

    It begins with an Advisory Circle / Ghost Box-esque TV ident-like introduction (although I suppose considering who came first, any such things on Advisory Circle / Ghost Box releases are possibly Boards Of Canda-esque) and then…

    …well it seems to tumble down a wormhole and create a soundtrack to some imagined future version of the 1974 film Phase IV, a science fiction soundtrack that seems to be both beautiful and terrifying.

    The album’s title and the limited artcard edition seem to add to that Phase IV air, of a natural world order gone out of kilter and what seem to be only-just-official scientific investigation attempts.

    boards-of-canada-tomorrows-harvest-warp-artcard-edition-a-year-in-the-country-4

    It also puts me in mind of the hidden, subterranean investigations and research facility of The Andromeda Strain  although without any of the comfort that the passing of time and the film being aimed towards a mainstream audience has added.

    (And talking of hidden, subterranean, are these fully officially sanctioned research facilities?… Beyond The Black Rainbow and its soundtrack may also be an appropriate reference point.)

    The cover artwork features a cityscape photographed from the land that surrounds it, caught in a sickly yet beautiful haze, which could be wandering towards shades of the environmental disasters of 1970’s No Blade Of Grass or maybe even the skies from the 1979 Quatermass series once the harvesting has taken place.

    Brrr.

    boards-of-canada-tomorrows-harvest-warp-artcard-edition-a-year-in-the-country-3

    Inside devastated crops, broadcast towers, unidentifiable research-esque buildings/installations, distant hazy figures in desertscapes, barbed wire, forests, marks in the earth, a possibly abandoned car, what could be a reflection in a car light or may be on the glass of the visor of protective suiting and present-day-from-the-future concrete monolithic buildings all jostle for space, captured via the pixels of I assume a traditional cathode ray television screen.

    The effect is strangely beautiful, entrancing and unsettling – similar indeed to Gemini.

    I tend to find with this album that I rarely make it past this first track. In fact I often don’t even make it through this one track – it throws and distorts my mind, not through being extreme in terms of say dissonant audio but just in the atmosphere it conjures of all the above.

    boards-of-canada-tomorrows-harvest-warp-artcard-edition-a-year-in-the-country-2

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #88/365: No Blade Of Grass and a curious mini-genre…

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

    Day #197/365: Huff-ity puff-ity ringstone round; Quatermass and the finalities of lovely lightning

    Day #255/365: Beyond The Black Rainbow; Reagan era fever dreams, award winning gardens and a trio of approaches to soundtrack disseminations… let the new age of enlightenment begin…

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

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    The Andromeda Strain #1The Andromeda Strain #2 (contemporary revisiting). Award Winning Gardens / Mercurio Arboria / Beyond The Black Rainbow. Phase IV. Phase IV lost and found. No Blade Of Grass (and a good sit down with a cup of tea afterwards while the old nerves recover).

    GeminiTomorrow’s Harvest: encasement.

     

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  • Artifact Report #13/52: The Restless Field – Clips Online

    The Restless Field-Night Edition-landscape sticker artwork 2-A Year In The Country
    File Under: Encasments / Artifacts – Artifact #2a

    Clips from The Restless Field are online for listening to. Visit them here.

    Release date 2nd May 2017. Pre-order 10th April.

    The Restless Field-cover art-A Year In The CountryAudiological contents created 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.

    Further details on The Restless Field can be found here.

     

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  • Ocular Signals #12/52a: Image L/1a

    image-l1a-3rd-year-a-year-in-the-country
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Wanderings #12/52a: Katalina Varga, Conjuring Worlds And Arthouse Evolution

    katalina-varga-2009-peter-strickland-a-year-in-the-country-2File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    I was quite nervous about watching Peter Strickland’s Katalina Varga film – I’ve been rather impressed by The Duke Of Burgundy and Berberian Sound Studio, the worlds they create and the surrounding culture/music/design that accompanied them.

    I was nervous in case I didn’t like it or it was a let down…

    So, Katalina Varga…

    The film involves a Vashti Bunyan-esque horse and cart journey/mission through the land (although with a rather darker intent than to join a musician lead communal way of life) and could almost be a period film – in part it seems to be set in a generally pastoral world that may not have changed all that much since medieval times.

    In fact it is physically jarring when you see a more built up area and modern buildings, when I heard a mobile phone ring tone I would find myself thinking “What’s that doing there?”, while a yellow plastic plate that appears at one point seems almost offensive in this setting.

    The modern world often seems to only appear in relatively small details – the contemporary rubber car tyres on the cart, hay making carried out by hand while in the background will be a building with a satellite dish.

    katalina-varga-2009-peter-strickland-a-year-in-the-country-4

    Although it is more stylistically experimental, I think Josephine Decker’s Butter On The Latch might well be an appropriate reference point for Katalina Varga – pastorally set work that wanders off the beaten paths of conventional cinema or indeed a slasher in the woods / the land without the slashing (thankfully).

    Thinking back to Katalina Varga, it conjures its own world just as completely as Peter Strickland’s other films, though in a different manner; this is a film that appears to more have been shot in the “real” world rather than the honey toned fantasy land of The Duke Of Burgundy or the cloistered, contained interiors of Berberian Sound Studio and it doesn’t have the more polished sheen that those films and their worlds have.

    katalina-varga-2009-peter-strickland-a-year-in-the-country-3It may in part be a side effect of that lack of sheen but it seemed as though it could be some semi-lost European almost accidentally transgressive film from an unspecified point in time, possibly the 1970s; something that would have appeared at London’s Scala cinema around the early 1980s to the early 1990s, which was something of a home for such things.

    In fact, when I watch Peter Strickland’s films, they make me think of those kind of arthouse, sometimes transgressive films that have gone on to find a cult following (think much of what would have appeared in the pages of Films And Filming magazine) but which rather than being sometimes culturally interesting / intriguing, possibly with a great poster but not all that easy to sit through, his films are an evolution of that area of cinema but which also work as entrancing entertainment (albeit that can also be more than a little unsettling).

    katalina-varga-2009-peter-strickland-a-year-in-the-country-1b

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #153/365: Stepping through into… Berberian Sound Studio

    Week #1/52: The Duke Of Burgundy and Mesmerisation…

    Week #41/52: The Dark Pastoral Of Butter On The Latch

    Elsewhere In The The Ether:
    An introductory flickering for Katalina Varga. Encasments and envoying.

     

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  • Artifact Report #12/52: The Restless Field – Preorder And Release Dates

    The Restless Field-cover art-A Year In The Country
    File Under: Encasments / Artifacts – Artifact #2a

    Release date 2nd May 2017. Pre-order 10th April.

    The 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 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.

    Audiological contents created 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.

    References and starting points include: The British Miners Strike of 1984 and the Battle Of Orgreave. Gerrard Winstanley & the Diggers/True Levellers in the 17th century. The first battle of the English Civil War in 1642. The burying of The Rotherwas Ribbon. The Mass Tresspass of Kinder Scout in 1932. Graveney Marsh/the last battle fought on English soil. The Congested Districts Board/the 19th century land war in Ireland. The Battle Of The Beanfield in 1985.

    Will be available via our Artifacts Shop and our Bandcamp Ether Victrola.

     

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  • Ocular Signals #11/52a: Image K/1a

    image-k1a-3rd-year-a-year-in-the-country-stroke
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations / Harbingers

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

    day-8-anthony-burton-wilderness-britain-jorge-lewinski-book-1985-a-year-in-the-country
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    I feel that “say no more” might be appropriate at this point…

    …but…

    For a while now when I find myself in those reasonably-rare-nowadays places, bricks and mortar second hand bookshops, I will take myself off to browse the section/s called something like Topography, Landscape or maybe Nature for largely photography based books that capture a particular kind of mood or atmosphere.

    What that atmosphere is I find hard to quite be able to put my finger on but the books often seem to be from the 1970s, to have a quietly haunted atmosphere, a certain kind of dour British representation of the landscape (and I don’t use dour here in a negative sense, it’s more in a, hmmm, expressively subdued manner).

    Maybe a certain sense of loss or melancholia but not in a purely hankering after the past and stasis manner.

    The Right Side Of The Hedge-Country Life Today-Chris Chapman-Ian Niall-A Year In The CountryI think one of the first of such books I bought along such lines was probably The Right Side Of The Hedge by Chris Chapman or possibly, when I was heading in the general direction of such things, Vanishing Britain by Roy Christian (both of which are from 1977).

    Such books and work aren’t deliberately hauntological, the idea and phrase had not yet been created, it’s rather that with the passing of time they seem to contain within them an often quite subtle left-of-centre sense of the land, its layers, marks and spirit.

    As I say, it’s hard to quite define but I know it when I see it (and sometimes it can be just in one or two photographs in a book rather than the whole thing).

    Bollocks To Alton Towers-Uncommonly British Days Out-Robin Halstead-Jason Hazeley-Alex Morris-Joel Morris-A Year In The Country-covermonumental-folies-stuart-barton-book-1972-a-year-in-the-country-1

    One of the books along these lines that I’ve mentioned before is Monumental Follies, which I was pointed towards by Jason Hazeley, author of  B* To Alton Towers and the modern day humorous reinterpretings of Ladybird books that the nation seems to have taken to their hearts and homes in fairly large quantities.

    Monumental Follies and other similar books seem to step aside from the more chocolate box, rose tinted view of such things; there is a sense in the photographs they contain that maybe the weather was fairly permanently under an overcast, grey 1970s sky that was forever about to ruin family days out.

    (The image that starts this particular wandering is from Anthony Burton and Jorge Lewinski’s Wilderness Britain book. Published in 1985, just to break the mould a little.)

     

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Week #4/52: The Following Of Ghosts – File Under Psychogeographic / Hauntological Stocking Fillers
    (Wherein I consider Mr Hazeley and fellow writers/journeyers B* To Alton Towers… which if I was writing this post in thirty or so years time I expect may well be included in with such books as the above due to an understated melancholy and sense of loss  which can be found amongst its pages.)

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

    Week #50/52: Monumental Follies – An Exposition On The Eccentric Edifices Of Britain (to give the book its full title)

     

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  • Artifact Report #11/52a: The Marks Upon The Land And Fellow Travellers; Broadcasts And Reviews

    The Golden Apples Of The Sun Radio Show-The Marks Upon The Land-A Year In The Country
    File Under: Encasments / Artifacts

    Tracks from Wild Hope Flowers, The Dark Chamber EP and Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels that accompany The Marks Upon The Land book can be found amongst some rather fine company at The Golden Apples Of The Sun Radio Show, which is always worth a wander around. This particular episode is…

    “…hosted by Claude Mono. It commences with a soundscape from Under The Skin, the unsettling sci-fi film that creates a strange brooding dystopian landscape within contemporary Glasgow and its surrounds. More soundscapes from A Year In The Country, Broadcast, Pram, The Dandelion Set, Stereolab and space-psych from Our Solar System… immersive listening…”

    Visit The Golden Apples Of The Sun here.

    John Coulthart-Feuilleton-A-Year-In-The-Country“The Marks Upon The Land… converts the bucolically familiar into something more eerie or even sinister, a series of widescreen mutations that create pareidolia spectres through symmetry and layering. Seen in isolation, these images are arresting enough but they gain power by being collected together, fashioning a statement of intent.”
    John Coulthart at his Feuilleton site.

    Goldmine magazine logo-Dave Thompson-Spin Cycle 2“Two EPs and one full album offer up three very different explorations of, indeed, the marks that man has made on the land… United Bible Studies David Colohan and Richard Moult’s… Wild Hope Flowers is the gentle, mystic face, a self-described “elegy for layered histories” that is both sparse and fulfilling…

    “Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels (is an) aural exploration of what it must sound like to rise above the earth, and hear everything that is going on beyond the range of hearing.  Snatches of radio percolate around the slowly shifting themes, mysterious crackles and sudden sideslips, a symphony in which nothing happens, but an awful lot takes place.”
    Dave Thompson at Spincycle / Goldmine Magazine.

    Crooked Button Radio Show

    There were also tracks played on The Crooked Button Radio Show / NearFM on the 19th of February 2017… but as far as I know that particular edition of the show isn’t archived and the broadcast has wandered off amongst the literal airwaves, possibly making its way out into the cosmos about now. Visit The Crooked Button here.

    Tip of the hat to all concerned.

     

    FB release day-The-Marks-Upon-The-Land-book-CD-and-cassette-David-Colohan-Richard-Moult-A-Year-In-The-Country-6

    More details on The Marks Upon The Land and fellow travellers can be found here.

    Preview clips from Wild Hope Flowers here, The Dark Chamber EP here and Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels here.

     

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  • Ocular Signals #10/52a: Image J/1a

    Image-J1a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country-stroke

    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Wanderings #10/52a: A Baker’s Dozen Of Professor Bernard Quatermass

    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    Well, after delving amongst various final series of Quatermass/The Quatermass Conclusion related finds and ephemera, I was signposted towards a rather fine and fully stocked archiving of related imagery, press, promotional items etc at Professor Bernard Quatermass’ home in the social ether.

    Upon arrival there, I had something of a wander around and good old perusal.

    Below is a baker’s dozen of things around those parts that caught my eye…

    professor-bernard-quatermass-a-bakers-dozen-a-year-in-the-country
    Ah, the classic Conclusion image… “Earth’s dark ancestral forces awaken to a summons from beyond the stars.”

    Interest piqued. Count me in…

    professor-bernard-quatermass-a-bakers-dozen-a-year-in-the-country-3

    The Manxman? Well, that’s an evocative way to start your article… It makes me think of, hmmm, Quatermass as superhero or maybe a creature from the dark side in one of his own tales.

    professor-bernard-quatermass-a-bakers-dozen-a-year-in-the-country-2
    And although I’m not madly keen on seeing behind the scenes of things and the possible breaking of the spell… well, this particular image, taken by Martin Wilkie, of working on a prop just seems to capture a particular moment in cultural time.

    For fans of all things hauntologically Radiophonic maybe?

    professor-bernard-quatermass-a-bakers-dozen-a-year-in-the-country-4
    And talking of capturing particular things and times… this photograph of Dog Dish and Cat Dish seems to capture a very particular sense of some kind of flipside to the countryside and landscape.

    professor-bernard-quatermass-a-bakers-dozen-a-year-in-the-country-8professor-bernard-quatermass-a-bakers-dozen-a-year-in-the-country-b-12
    The helmeted security/police in the background seem to place the series much more with traditional science fiction than it actually is… I quite like them, in a 1970s British television/repurposing of day-to-day objects/Blakes 7-esque kind of a way, while also finding them curiously jarring.

    professor-bernard-quatermass-a-bakers-dozen-a-year-in-the-country-7
    While this puts me in mind of later scenes in Zardoz, as the citadel has been breached.

    Or possibly a gathering from Jeremy Sandford and Ron Reid’s documenting of the 1970s free festival scene in their Tomorrow’s People book?

    And then wandering away from the final Quatermass series…

    professor-bernard-quatermass-a-bakers-dozen-a-year-in-the-country-6
    Well, for the title text and all it implies. Prescient could well be an apt word to use about now.

    professor-bernard-quatermass-a-bakers-dozen-a-year-in-the-country-13professor-bernard-quatermass-a-bakers-dozen-a-year-in-the-country-9
    “You don’t have to ask ‘What’s doing the business?’… If you haven’t booked it, you don’t like money!”… “Let them know they will be chained to their seats!”

    Say no more.

    professor-bernard-quatermass-a-bakers-dozen-a-year-in-the-country-11…and just what is happening in this from-over-the-seas video cover?

    Ah, there’s nothing like wildly inappropriate cover/poster design.

    A literal online translation considers the title to be “The Ship Of Lost Beings” but then quickly recognises it and changes it to Quatermass And The Pit.

    Modern day technology hey? Innit marvelous (!)…

     

    professor-bernard-quatermass-a-bakers-dozen-a-year-in-the-country-10professor-bernard-quatermass-a-bakers-dozen-a-year-in-the-country-b-5
    …and I shall end with a return back to the Quatermass final series, rounding the circle, as it were (or should that be ringstone round?)…

    The poster is again from over the seas, in part because I’m fond of seeing what happens with such things when work travels elsewhere and also because it is a wandering back to one of the classic designs/images from the series…

    …and then finally, this portrait of Professor Quatermass, as it seems to capture a certain quiet, weary dignity which is so much part of his character at this point.

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

    Day #197/365: Huff-ity puff-ity ringstone round; Quatermass and the finalities of lovely lightning

    Week #6/52: Tomorrow’s People, further considerations of the past as a foreign country and hauntology away from its more frequent signifiers and imagery…

    Week #7/52: Eyes Turned Skywards; once streaks in the sky, almost futures and reverberations in the ether

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

    Elswhere in the ether:
    Just in case you missed it, these images were gathered from here.

     

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  • Artifact Report #10a: The Marks Upon The Land/Wild Hope Flowers/The Dark Chamber EP book, CD & cassette released

    The Marks Upon The Land-book CD and cassette-David Colohan Richard Moult-A Year In The Country-6
    File Under: Encasments / Artifacts

    Available at our Artifacts Shop and our Bandcamp Ether Victrola.
    £24.95. Free UK shipping. Released today 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.

    the-marks-upon-the-land-book-coverThere 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).

    The Marks Upon The Land-book CD and cassette-David Colohan Richard Moult-A Year In The Country-5

    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 Marks Upon The Land-book CD and cassette-David Colohan Richard Moult-A Year In The Country-4

    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.

    The Marks Upon The Land-book CD and cassette-David Colohan Richard Moult-A Year In The Country-2

    the-marks-upon-the-land-book-inside-pages-1 the-marks-upon-the-land-book-inside-pages-2-david-colohan-richard-moult-a-year-in-the-country the-marks-upon-the-land-book-inside-pages-3-david-colohan-richard-moult-a-year-in-the-country

    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.

    the-marks-upon-the-land-book-david-colohan-richard-moult-a-year-in-the-countryThe Dark Chamber EP-The Marks Upon The Land-A Year In The Country Wild Hope Flowers-David Colohan-Richard Moult-The Marks Upon The Land-A Year In The Country

    Audiological 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 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.

    the-marks-upon-the-land-book-david-colohan-richard-moult-airwaves-songs-from-the-sentinels-cassette-a-year-in-the-country-psdAirwaves-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.

    The Marks Upon The Land-book CD and cassette-David Colohan Richard Moult-A Year In The Country-1

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

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

     

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  • Ocular Signals #9/52a: Image I/1a

    image-i1a-3rd-year-a-year-in-the-country
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • 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

    windmills-and-watermills-1970s-books-restoration-rj-de-little-althea-john-reynolds-a-year-in-the-country-1
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    I recently mentioned about being drawn to certain books, sometimes when wandering the aisles and shelves of second hand bookshops, which “…often seem to be from the 1970s and capture a particular kind of mood, that have a quietly haunted atmosphere, a certain kind of dour British representation of the landscape and which with the passing of time they seem to have come to contain within them an often quite subtle left-of-centre sense of the land, its layers, marks and spirit.

    And I suppose the books featured here may well in part belong to such an area.

    Or possibly, if “Often 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, they might belong there.

    (Although strictly speaking, they came from a whole shelf of books marked “Watermills and Windmills”).

    the-restoration-of-windmills-and-windpumps-in-norfolk-book-a-year-in-the-country-blurI can’t remember the last time I saw a windmill out in the actual, real world. Maybe these books were all published in the 1970s because that was a time before windmills finally gave up the ghost, collapsed or were just cleared away.

    So, anyway, if you were to do an image search for something like “people drawn to an imagined past idyll, folk culture, folk rock and repairing windmills in the 1970s”, I expect the cover of The Restoration of Windmills And Windpumps in Norfolk from 1977 may well come up.

    It’s a nicely produced, sepia toned, almost pocket book overview of its title subject.

    whirling-windmills-book-althea-colourmaster-junior-series-a-year-in-the-countrywhirling-windmills-book-althea-colourmaster-junior-series-a-year-in-the-country-2

    And then we have Whirling Windmills by Althea from 1972, which is listed as being part of the Colourmaster Junior Series and although it’s a fair few years since I’ve seen one, I imagine that if the I-Spy series of books were given a more hand drawn, bucolic makeover then they might well look like this.

    One of my favourite pages is this windmill illustration, which I tend to think of as a prototype for say a Maddy Prior and Tim Hart album cover, around the Folk Songs Of Olde England period and featuring at its heart a yearning for a return to that just mentioned folk-ish imagined idyll.

    And the quiz spread, which in particular made me think of something like I-Spy.

    the-windmill-yesterday-and-today-book-rj-de-little-a-year-in-the-country-cthe-windmill-yesterday-and-today-book-rj-de-little-b

    And then we have The Windmill – Yesterday And Today by R.J. De Little, again from 1972.

    Of these books, this is the one that most directly connects with that particular left-of-centre, quietly dour atmosphere and it put me in mind of something like Monumental Follies that I have visited a time or two around these parts.

    It seems to particularly focus on/capture a sense of windmills and neglected, tumbling relics from another era.

    windmills-and-watermills-book-john-reynolds-a-year-in-the-country

    And finally Windmills and Watermills by John Reynolds, from 1970, which seems to have a slightly more upbeat take on things, a few less crumbling structures in its pages but this photograph I rather liked in a layering of the past and present manner.

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #157/365: The Dalesman’s Litany; a yearning for imaginative idylls and a counterpart to tales of hellish mills

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

    Week #50/52: Monumental Follies – An Exposition On The Eccentric Edifices Of Britain (to give the book its full title)

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Peruse via: The Restorations of Windmills and Windpumps in Norfolk. Whirling Windmills. The Windmill Yesterday And Today. Windmills & Watermills.

     

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  • Artifact Report #9/52a: At Home With Include Me Out

    Include Me Out-Robin Tomens-The Quietened Village-A Year In The Country
    File Under: Encasments / Artifacts

    Over the months I’ve enjoyed seeing/reading Include Me Out’s writing and photographing about various A Year In The Country releases. Some of them have been mentioned around these parts before and below is a gathering of them and more…

    Airwaves-Songs From The Sentinels cover-A Year In The Country“…spectral sounds made for wandering the moors… interference, plain piano song, shimmering electronics, remote listening & shadowy melodies make for an elegant & sinister experience.” On Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels

    I’ve particularly enjoyed the “at home” studies of the albums…

    The Quietened Village LP-Include Me Out
    The Quietened Village

    Fractures-A Year In The Country“Polypores’ The Perfect Place For An Accident which, after 5mins of throbbing wave forms takes a nice slow dive into beatless disorientation…” On Fractures

    And then, as a respite from the audio intrusions of property developers…

    BC-Bunker-Dawn and Duskfall-cover“A more welcome noise has been this release… Grey Frequency’s Drakelow Tunnels is a stand out piece of work regarding atmospherics and Unknown Heretic’s Crush Depth in contrast renders the air heavy with mechanic industrialism… the inclusion of Time Attendant once again is a reason to be cheerful as he displays an ability to organise sound above and beyond what most others a capable of doing. The track title, Crafty Mechanics, is a fitting description of the comp as a whole.” On The Quietened Bunker

    The releases are also in rather fine company at Include Me Out’s 2016 Music Of The Year, alongside the likes of Autechre, John Cage, Demdike Stare, David Toop, The Pop Group, eMMplekz and Heliocentrics. Visit that here.

    A tip of the hat to the gent concerned.

    Include Me Out is a good place to spend an hour or two wandering around and is described as being…

    “… about anything that I find interesting, such as music of of all kinds (but lots of electronic sound both new and old), graphic art, literature, book covers and illustrations from books in my collection, images generally, cinema, and my own work in both word & image… There are album and book reviews, along with what I’ve labelled ‘Musings’, my thoughts on various matters relating to culture… Include Me Out is multi-faceted as opposed to strictly niche, therefore anything could appear.”

    A particular favourite is the post on The Hardy Annual from the Watford School Of Art in 1969, which when reading it tends to bring on a general sense of “I want one”.

    Find Include Me Out in the ether here and the interrelated Out Of My Mind here.

     

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  • Ocular Signals #8/52a: Image H/1a

    image-h1a-3rd-year-a-year-in-the-country
    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

    kid-koala-ghost-box-records-the-focus-group-we-are-all-pans-people-a-year-in-the-country

    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.

    moon-wiring-club-depth-charge-blank-workshop

    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.

    adrian-younge-the-electronique-void-the-radiophonic-workshop

    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.

    adrian-younge-shot-me-in-the-heart-video-rob-young-electric-eden

    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

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    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Wanderings #7/52a: Brutalist Breakfasts

    roadside-britain-sam-mellish-cafes-photography-book-a-year-in-the-country-1
    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”.

    roadside-britain-sam-mellish-cafes-photography-book-a-year-in-the-country-4

    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.

    roadside-britain-sam-mellish-cafes-photography-book-a-year-in-the-country-stroke-3

    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.”

    roadside-britain-sam-mellish-cafes-photography-book-a-year-in-the-country-2

    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.

    roadside-britain-sam-mellish-cafes-photography-book-a-year-in-the-country-5

    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).

    roadside-britain-sam-mellish-cafes-photography-book-a-year-in-the-country-7

    roadside-britain-sam-mellish-cafes-photography-book-a-year-in-the-country-6

    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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