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

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

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

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

    Visit the Bliss Aquamarine reviews here.

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

    Visit that here.


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

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

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


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  • Ocular Signals #3/52a: Image C/1a

    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations


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

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

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

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

    Nothing hauntological-esque to see there then.

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    More details of the release here.



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  • Ocular Signals #2/52a: Image B/1a

    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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  • Artifact Report #2/52a: Transmissions From The Quietened Bunker…

    The Quietened Bunker-Night and Dawn Editions-release date-A Year In The Country-2
    File Under: Encasments / Artifacts – Audiological Transmission Artifact #4

    There have been a few new Quietened Bunker related transmissions and the like…


    There’s a fine review by Pete Collins at Both Bars On, which can be found here.

    …it also made Both Bars On’s Top Thirty Records Of 2016, where it can be found in some rather esteemed company. Peruse that here.

    “Nothing quite says 2016 like a compilation album on the theme of abandoned cold war structures and bunkers… Unsettling drone, snatched samples, glitched beats and claustrophobic synths; it’s all here.”

    And talking of esteemed company…


    Gated Canal Community Radio (hosted by Front & Follow and The Geography Trip) included a couple of tracks from the album in a new broadcast. Listen to that here.

    terrascope-playlist-11-the-quietened-bunker-a-year-in-the-countryPlus a track from the album can be found as part of Terrascope’s Playlist 11, one of their quarterly samplers. Listen to that here.


    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    The Quietened Bunker – A Gathering Of Transmissions

    The Quietened Bunker – A Timely Gathering Of Transmissions

    Visit The Quietened Bunker here.

    A tip of the hat to all concerned.


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  • Artifact Report #1/52a: The Marks Upon The Land / Wild Hope Flowers / The Dark Chamber EP – Preorder And Release Dates

    File Under: Encasments / Artifacts – Artifact #1a

    Pre-order 6th February 2017. Released 6th March 2017.

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

    It 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 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 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 will be available at our Artifacts Shop and our Bandcamp Ether Victrola.


    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels can be viewed/previewed here and here.

    All 104 images from The Marks Upon The Land can be viewed at Gallery: Year 1.

    Day #230/365: “Beyond the last places, the blanks on the map”; signposts to and from a deserted village

    David Colohan and Richard Moult are students of United Bible Studies and have also been fellow wanderers on a number of the audiological gatherings and explorations which were released by A Year In The Country during our last spin-around-the-sun, including The Quietened Village and The Forest / The Wald.

    Day #259/365: Artifact #37/52; United Bible Studies Doineann limited CD album – Night/Day Editions

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    David Colohan. Starred Desert / Richard Moult. United Bible Studies.


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  • Wanderings #1/52a: Something Of A Rare By Our Selves Wandering And Encasing

    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    day-2-365b-by-our-selves-andrew-kotting-swedenborg-society-book-4Well, we thought we would start this years set of breadcrumb trails and wanderings with something of a treat.

    By Our Selves.

    No, not the film by Andrew Kötting but rather the book that accompanies the film.

    (If you should not know, to quote somebody else, the film involves “‘Toby Jones, Andrew Kötting (as a straw bear) and their merry men revive the wanderings and wonderings of Northamptonshire peasant poet John Clare, on a quest “for scenes where man hath never trod’.” Oh and add Iain Sinclair, Alan Moore and others to those wanderings and wonderings.)

    At the last point of looking, this seemed to be one of those rare items that doesn’t seem to be reviewed, written about, pondered and considered all over the ether.

    It only seems to be available via an organisation called The Swedenborg Society (and sold by them at a well known ether commerce site but not actually sold by that well known site itself).


    It doesn’t even seem to get a mention on Andrew Kötting’s own site. The film does but not the book.

    Hmmm. Slightly curious.

    Anyways, it arrived through the letter box a while ago and it’s a fine publication. A lovely, solid, almost slab-in-miniature collection of images, thoughts and notes that sit alongside and intertwine with the film. A “posh” scrapbook in a way.

    I think what I am drawn to more than the book and film’s specific dealings with John Clare’s story is the imagery and a more abstract sense of a connection to or exploration of layers and roots of the land’s tales and history…


    Oh and the sheer cheek and chutzpah of the whole project, which seems to involve getting together some kind of more than reasonable pile of money through the modern day version of “now, if everybody chips in a bit we can get this done” and more traditional funding organisations, roping in and/or bringing together a reasonably well known, respected, often mainstream actor, a rather well known writer of comic books, a rather well known writer of wandering books and so forth…

    …and then putting together something which is sort of fine/experimental art but also that seems just as much to be about a bunch of mates mucking about and having a laugh while managing to delve through those just mentioned layers and tales of the land…


    …and coming out the other side full of (I hope) smiles with something that… I can’t quite put my finger on it but as a piece of work it seems to have a certain arty accessibility, to have had a reach out into the world that seems to step beyond the expected well defined routes of such experimental work and in some way to link back (without being retro in nature) to a time/the spirit of a time when independent but relatively mainstream film/television production, broadcast and distribution could include the experimentation of say Derek Jarman and Ghosts In The Machine.

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #221/365: A Straw Bear went a-wandering; a once Berberian sound engineer follows past footsteps, other boot filling and less than but two penn’orth worth on a roll of music

    Day #225/365: A return to the returning footsteps of a Berberian Straw Bear and companions

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

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Peruse the book in the ether here and here. Andrew Kötting’s home for By Our Selves here. The flickering’s of the trailer here. The encasers and envoyers of the film here.



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  • Ocular Signals #1/52a: Image A/1a / A New Spin-Around-The Sun

    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations
    Subsection: Beginnings

    Well, what can I say? A fine New Year to one and all.

    The bells have barely stopped peeling and it would appear that it is time to begin another spin-around-the-sun.

    As you may well be able to see, we’re returning to something of a more traditional (for around these parts) calendar…

    365 days of wanderings, artifacts, artwork, ether signposting and so on which may well take in a stroll or two through an otherly pastoralism and the spectral edgelands of culture.

    (And talking of tradition, if you should look closely, this particular work that we’re beginning the year with is something of a nod and rounding of the circle back to almost the very beginning of A Year In The Country… Ah, curious coincidences and all that. ‘Twas not planned but a pleasant discovery which tumbled forth.)

    And so, here goes…


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  • Week #52/52: An Arboreal Collection Or Two And Hello And Goodbye…

    File Under: Trails And Influences / Year 2 wanderings

    So, we thought a nice, relaxing way to end the year would be a visit to some of the patterns to be found across the land and amongst the woods and forests.

    More specifically trees, leaves and bark. More specifically again Roger Phillips book Trees In Britain from 1978.

    It’s an intriguing book, one of those you can pick up from time to time and just flick through to see what you will see…


    To quote myself on such things:

    “A fair while ago (I think) I read the phrase God’s calligraphy in relation to the patterns that trees write and create… I don’t tend to think of it in an overtly spiritual related manner – more as an expression of beauty, delight, variations and non-directed by our good selves craft…”


    Looking at this book, I’m not so sure if it’s calligraphy when presented like this. Maybe rather a form of natural clip art (that made me think of the Craphound zine if you should remember that).

    Anyways, looking such things up, I see that there are quite a few more of these arborea and related books written and researched by Mr Phillips – more than enough natural clip art to keep you busy for a fair old while.


    Anyways, thankyou all good sirs and ladies for the time and attention this year.

    Thankyou also once again to everybody who has contributed work to the series of album releases and all those who have broadcast or written about them.

    And indeed everybody who has dipped into their zeros and ones pockets, purses and wallets for one or more of said items.

    Tip of the hat to you all and here’s to a good repose and the next spin around the sun.



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  • Audiological Transmission #52/52: The Forest / The Wald – The Abney Ritual / Revisitation #6a


    Audiological exploration by Bare Bones.

    From the album The Forest / The Wald, which also features work by Magpahi, Polypores, Time Attendant, David Colohan, Richard Moult, Sproatly Smith, The Hare And The Moon ft Alaska, The Rowan Amber Mill, The Séance with Lutine, Cosmic Neighbourhood and A Year In The Country.

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


    Revisitation #6a.


    Notes And Scribing:
    The Forest / The Wald is a study and collection of work that reflects on fragments and echoes of tales from the woodland and its folklore.

    Such wooded realms are deeply embeded in our folk and popular culture stories: their boughs and undergrowth being seen as places where spirits both good and bad may reside, visitors from elsewhere in the cosmos have laid down roots or where unwary travellers can come undone.


    The album takes as one of its initial reference points Electric Eden author Rob Young’s observations of the roots of the word folk as being “…the music of the ‘Volk’, a word born of the Teutonic Wald, the wild wood where society was organised ad hoc, bottom-up and frequently savage…”; places where rituals endured and perplexed their heirs.

    Although today they are often tamed and managed it takes but a wandering into the heart of one to realise just how near to being far from the comforts and securities of civilisation we are.


    In amongst The Forest / The Wald can be found field recording folk that captures greenwood rituals performed in the modern day, echoes of fantastical childhood rhymes, sylvan siren calls that tremble through tangles of branches, electronics pressed into the summoning of otherworldly arboreal creations unearthed amidst the creeping thickets and elegies to woodland intrustions, solitudes and seasons.


    Wald considerations by Rob Young.

    Artwork / encasement design and fabrication by AYITC Ocular Signals Department.

    Audiological Transmission Artifact #6.
    Library Reference Numbers: ATA006N / ATA006D


    Transmissions sent, received, transmitted:

    “…an album, then, to listen to in undisturbed sittings, as you pick out the stories that it tells. And needless to say, it’s essential listening…”
    Dave Thompson at Spin Cycle / Goldmine magazine

    “…a response to British folk traditions that acknowledges the history without seeming beholden to it.”
    John Coulthart / Feuilleton

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

    “…shifting ancient ballads into the now via contemporary electronic enhancements, creating dangerous trans-dimensional paradoxes like Sapphire & Steel warned us again… mixing drones, feedback and woodland ambience to create a beautiful, disturbing evocation of the primeval forest that lives on in our dreams.”
    Ben Graham in Shindig issue 62


    The Forest / The Wald can also be found amongst the zeros and ones and frequency modulation airwaves via:

    Evening Of Light / Golden Apples Of The Sun / Gated Canal Community Radio / You, The Night & The Music and in a circular manner at the phantom seaside radio of The Séance here and here.


    Peruse The Forest / The Wald further here.


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  • Week #51/52: Deep Country – Five Years In The Hills / Two Years At Sea And Becoming A Non-Rolling Stone

    deep-country-neil-ansell-a-year-in-the-country-1File Under: Trails And Influences / Year 2 wanderings

    There seem to be a fair number of “we went and lived on an island / as an 18th century house for a week or few” programs on mainstream television nowadays / over the last few years…

    …there is a possible connection to those and the book Deep Country but also none at all – this was not a brief, managed hardship repose for the cameras but rather a very particularly ongoing way of life.

    From the front of the book:

    “I lived alone in this cottage for five years, summer and winter, with no transport, no phone. This is the story of those five years, where I lived and how I lived. It is the story of what it means to live in a place so remote that you may not see another soul for weeks on end. And it is the story of the hidden places that I came to call my own, and the wild creatures that became my society.”

    That “no transport, no phone” could be extended to no gas, electricity, (I assume) internet and without running water – indeed he was above the water table and so had to physically carry his water uphill from the well.

    In some ways it reminded me of Ben River’s film Two Years At Sea, which focuses on the solitary life of a gent who lives in a small-ish shack amongst the wilds. However, Deep Country is more a personal journal of a life lived; whereas Two Years At Sea, although it does document an actual way of life, feels nearer to an art project directed by its creator – a recording alongside being a form of personal creative expression.

    Also, while Deep Country is set remotely (in an area of Wales apparently known as its green desert or empty quarter), its author is within various degrees of walking distance to farms, a small village, a shop, a doctors; in Two Years At Sea, the place shown seems far removed geographically from any such things.


    It is all swings and roundabouts however; the gent in two Two Years At Sea is shown as having / using a shower, record player and motor transport (although their actuality could only be considered modern conveniences in a fairly rough and ready manner), whereas such things most definitely don’t seem to be in use during Deep Country.

    Another large difference is that Two Years At Sea, by its filmic nature, is a visual experience, whereas Deep Country is an almost exclusively text based story, apart from a woodcut-esque cover illustration of the cottage and a stylised pictorial map of the immediate surrounds of the cottage.

    That lack of visual presentation or documentation makes me think of how this a way of life without (I assume) any access to screens – whether television, computer, phone etc.


    Indeed, what seems to become Neil Ansell’s entertainment and television equivalent is observing those earlier mentioned wild creatures and in particular bird watching or seeking out; walking a whole day on the slight chance of seeing a particular nesting bird becomes a normal occurrence for him.

    In such visually documented times, the ack of photographic etc recording seems strange (although not in a bad way, just unusual) and leaves the imagination wandering “What did this chap look like after these five years? Did he become the bearded recluse of Two Years At Sea?”

    (Via a quick related peruse, I see there is some related imagery online but I shall leave such things alone and let the old minder wander…)

    Neil Ansell doesn’t overly dwell on why he chose to live like this for an extended length of time apart from a curiousity about do-able-ness and the practical challenge of it all; one of my abiding memories from the book was that after a while, the associated hardships and physical labour / preparations all just became day-to-day life, part of manageable and managed yearly rituals and he described himself as having “become part of the landscape, a stone”.

    Peruse Deep Country here. Visit Two Years At Sea around these parts here and at Ben Rivers’ home in the ether here.


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  • Audiological Transmission #51/52: The Experiment Ends – No More Unto The Dance / Revisitation #5a


    Audiological exploration by A Year In The Country from the album No More Unto The Dance.

    Available at our Artifacts Shop, our Bandcamp Ether Victrola and Norman Records.


    Revisitation #5a.


    Notes And Scribing:
    A reflection of nightlife memories and the search for the perfect transportative electronic beat; a collection of reverberations that have fragmented with the passing of time.

    It is a document of life once lived in the very heart of metropolises, immersed in their subcultures: a time that was predicated in part by a passion for club culture, dancing, dressing up and related explorations carried out with the obsession, enjoyment and energy of youth.

    Much of that gradually (or sometimes not so gradually) faded away or took other pathways.


    The world in which this recording was made does still come alive at night but it is more likely to be the nocturnal foraging and wanderings of wildlife rather than in a low-ceilinged basement lit by a strobe light.

    The music presented here is the soundtrack to those basements, filtered through the looking glass of a life far removed from the bright lights and big city, the dressing up and dancing but a memory – a world far, far apart, almost that seems to belong only to the worn and aged pages of a faded, forgotten magazine.


    The journey it takes envisions a mixtape of memories and echoes of those pages, of 12”s bought because of the primal rush their electronics would bring on when listened to in a record shop, the lucky dip of unknown records bought hopefully from the racks of bargain basements, the more abstract/triphop beats to be found in intriguingly designed/obscure sleeves and to times lost in the seemingly endless dreams of a club; a time when the future burned with the brightness, optimism and idealism of youth.


    No More Unto The Dance-both editions-A Year In The Country

    Transmissions sent, received, transmitted:

    “A taking by the hand journey down dimly lit back alleys into signless word of mouth back rooms and basements where inside sounds come wired to the hive mind pulse of the underground, a place where Add N to X ghost lights prickle with ominous intent amid a palette populated by LFO trancetones, motoric murmurs, psychotronic disturbias, radiophonic echoes, kosmick pulsars, serene ambient flurries and soundscapes siren calling futureworld dystopias.”
    The Sunday Experience

    No More Unto The Dance-Night Edition opened-A Year In The Country copy

    “…flirts with the imagery of earlier dance beats, but never loses sight of the beat, the heartbeat that every great club has (or had), that gave every one its own sense of purpose and desire, be it a prohibition speakeasy or a chill-out room in a rural barn… Such imaginings are haunting, layering one another with emotional imagery that cannot help but lead the ghosts onto the floor, a disco queen here, a rave scene there, the scent of northern soul, the smell of teen spirit. By the time it’s over, you feel as though you’ve been dancing all night; by the time you’ve recovered, you want to do it again.”
    Dave Thompson at Spin Cycle/Goldmine Magazine


    “Al mutare degli orizzonti paesaggistici, non muta dunque l’atmosfera straniante di A Year In The Country, adesso non più riconducibile a linguaggi latamente folk, bensì prodotta da una sequenza di pulsazioni e strati ipnotici, dai tratti invariabilmente notturni e visionari.”
    Raffaello Russo at Music Won’t Save You (and via modern day intangible robot translation here).

    It can also be heard amongst the zeros and ones / frequency modulation broadcasts of deXter Bentley’s hellogoodbyeshow.

    A tip of the hat to all concerned.


    Artwork/packaging design by AYITC Ocular Signals Department.

    Audiological Transmissions Artifact #5
    Library Reference Numbers: ATA005N / ATA005D

    More details of No More Unto The Dance here.


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

    monumental-folies-stuart-barton-book-1972-a-year-in-the-country-1File Under: Trails And Influences / Year 2 Wanderings

    There are a fair number of books out in the world that focus on ancient monuments, follies, crumbling castles and so forth.

    And while many of them are perfectly pleasant, they’re not necessarily things I feel the need to own; there’s a certain atmosphere or other-ness that is hard to fully define which I look for, that can creep in around the edges of often fairly mainstream books.

    Monumental Folies is one of those books.

    Written by Stuart Barton and published in 1972 it is a photographic/text appreciation of follies throughout Britain but seems to capture a very different atmosphere of such things than the more chocolate box heritage take on them; its a quiet, subtley off-centre difference but there nonetheless.

    This isn’t a book that makes you conjure up sun filled images of tourist friendly picnics (although it does still make me want to wander off and visit some of them).

    As far as I can tell, the photographs weren’t taken by Mr Barton – or if he did, he had a very busy year or few – but they have a consistent tone that seems far removed from those more twee views of its subject matter.


    (As an aside, some of the photographs seem almost to have tumbled from a grown-ups re-edit of Children Of The Stones – ancient monuments imbued with an unsettling air and sense of dread.)

    It seems to have within its pages a certain grey, desolate grittiness that may well reflect the times in which it was published, an era when, to quote myself:

    “…there appeared to be a schism in the fabric of things, a period of political, social, economic and industrial turmoil, when 1960s utopian ideals seemed to corrupt and turn inwards…”

    The book isn’t all doom and gloom and Mr Barton seems to have a particular appreciation for these brick and stone fripperies but…


    …well, it probably didn’t help that the first page I opened showed the above neglected/tumbled obelisk, which if you did an online image search for something like “worrying 1970s Public Information Films and municipal neglect around a similar time” I suspect it might well show up.

    Here’s the book on the subject:

    “Unfortunately, the obelisk has been toppled over and it is only to be hoped that the satisfaction of seeing it fall was worth the considerable effort which must have been expended by the vandals responsible.”


    Which I think reflects two strands within the book; there is a sense of it belonging to a gentler, pre-1970s time and also to the unrest of the period it was published.

    I was pointed in the direction of Monumental Follies by Mr Jason Hazeley, one of the authors of B******s To Alton Towers: Uncommonly British Days Outs, which (along with its companion book) could also be considered a quiet, subtley off-centre take on what is often presented in a more chocolate box manner.

    Visit those around these parts via The Following Of Ghosts and elsewhere in the ether here and here.

    Monumental Follies itself can generally be found for but a few pence(ish) here.


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  • A Year In The Country Artifacts / The British Library Sound Archive

    File under: Artifacts / Preserved For Posterity

    Well, here’s a nice thing…

    There are physical copies of all the A Year In The Country audiological artifacts now present and correct at The British Library’s Sound Archive.

    (You see that modernist building? Well, if you look really closely you may just be able to see a Night, Dawn etc Edition or two peaking out…)

    If you should not know, The British Library is a nationally owned building/institution in the centre of London (next door to St Pancras railway station to be precise), that is visitable by the public, wherein can be found copies of all books and periodicals published in the UK.

    the-british-library-a-year-in-the-country-4KIPPA MATTHEWS - © COPYRIGHT NOTICE
    (For those times when you just can’t find anything to read / Tomorrow’s World looks at the latest in home storage systems.)

    Alongside that, they also selectively archive music, field recordings, film etc, which is where the A Year In The Country artifacts come in…

    Over the years they have amassed a couple or more records etc or to quote the British Library:

    “Over 1 million discs, 185,000 tapes, and many other sound and video recordings.”

    A crate diggers delight indeed.

    At the time of writing there are over 625 kilometres of shelves in the British Library and that’s apparently growing by 12 kilometres each year (that would be 388 / 7.5 miles in old money then).


    (Rumours of DJ Shadow trying to “accidentally” get locked in here over night have been widely exagerated.)

    There’s a lovely video of the sound archive by Wire magazine, where Nathan Budzinski interviews Popular Music Curator Andy Linehan, Audio Engineer/Conservation specialist Will Prentice, and Wildlife Sounds Curator Cheryl Tipp. Visit that here.

    (As an aside, the Wire footage of the sound archive shelves makes me think of the classic Twilight Zone episode where a chap who loves just being left to read find himself all alone amongst the bounties of a library in a post-apocalyptic world – well, it reminds me of that until the twist at the end of the episode.)

    You can search the Sound And Moving Image Catalogue here.

    If you should find yourself around central London, you can visit the Sound Archive in person and listen to items; details here. The British Library’s main home in the ether is here, the Sound Archive here.


    If it should be of interest to you, below is a list of all the A Year In The Country released items and editions in the archive:

    Grey Frequency-Dawn Edition-opened 2-A Year In The Country copyHand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-Dusk Edition-opened 2-A Year In The CountryMichael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-Dusk Edition-opened front-A Year In The CountryShe Rocola-Molly Leigh Of The Mother Town-Owl Light Edition-A Year In The Country-all parts

    Immersion by Grey Frequency: Audiological Case Study #1 (Dawn Edition)

    Black-Veined White by Hand of Stabs:  Audiological Case Study #2 (Dawn Edition)

    Nine Of Swords by Michael Tanner:  Audiological Case Study #3 (Dusk Edition)

    Doineann by United Bible Studies:  Audiological Case Study #4 (Dawn Edition)

    Burn The Witch / Molly Leigh Of The Mother Town by She Rocola:  Audiological Case Study #5 (Owl Light Edition)

    Howlround-Robin The Fog-Chris Weaver-Dusk Edition-front of sleeve disc and insertTwalif X-Day Edition-Orphan & Racker-A Year In The Country-inside of booklet 2A Year In The Country-In Every Mind-Dawn edition opened 2-audiological construct-transmission resonances volume 1

    Torridon Gate by Howlround:  Audiological Case Study #6 (Dusk Edition)

    Twalif X by Racker&Orphan:  Audiological Case Study #7 (Day Edition)

    In Every Mind by A Year In The Country:  Transmission Resonances: Volume 1 (Dawn Edition)

    Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels by A Year In The Country:  Audiological Transmission Artifact #1 (Dawn Edition)

    Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels by A Year In The Country: Audiological Transmission Artifact #1(Midnight Archaic Encasements Edition)

    Airwaves-Songs From The Sentinels-Dawn Edition-opened-A Year In The Country-700The Quietened Village-opened etc-A Year In The CountryFractures-release date-all items-A Year In The Country

    The Quietened Village: Audiological Transmissions Artifact #2 (Night Edition)
    Audiological explorations by Howlround, Time Attendant, The Straw Bear Band, Polypores, Rowan Amber Mill, Cosmic Neigbourhood, The Soulless Party, A Year In The Country, Sproatly Smith, David Colohan and Richard Moult.

    The Quietened Village: Audiological Transmissions Artifact #2 (Duskfall Edition)

    Fractures: Audiological Transmissions Artifact #3 (Night Edition)
    Audiological explorations by  Circle/Temple, Sproatly Smith, Keith Seatman, Polypores, The Listening Center, The British Space Group, The Hare And The Moon ft Alaska/Michael Begg, Time Attendant, The Rowan Amber Mill, A Year In The Country and David Colohan.

    The Quietened Bunker-Night Edition-opened-A Year In The CountryNo More Unto The Dance-Dawn Edition opened-A Year In The Countrythe-forest-the-wald-dawn-edition-back-a-year-in-the-country

    The Quietened Bunker: Audiological Transmissions Artifact #4 / ATA004N (Night Edition) Audiological explorations by Keith Seatman, Grey Frequency, A Year In The Country, Panabrite, Polypores, Listening Center, Time Attendant, Unknown Heretic and David Colohan.

    No More Unto The Dance by A Year In The Country: Audiological Transmissions Artifact #5 / ATA005D (Dawn Edition)

    The Forest / The Wald: Audiological Transmissions Artifact #6 / ATA006D (Dawn Edition)
    Audiological explorations by Bare Bones, Magpahi, Polypores, Time Attendant, David Colohan, Richard Moult, Sproatly Smith, The Hare And The Moon ft Alaska, The Rowan Amber Mill, The Séance with Lutine, Cosmic Neighbourhood and A Year In The Country.



    A tip of the hat to James Tugwell of the British Library. Much appreciated.


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  • Audiological Transmission #50​/​52: The Quietened Bunker – Comms: Seen Through The Grey / Revisitation #4a


    Audiological exploration by Listening Center.

    bunker-revisiting-2-for-bandcamp-strokeFrom the album The Quietened Bunker, which also includes work by Keith Seatman, Grey Frequency, A Year In The Country, Panabrite, Polypores, Time Attendant, Unknown Heretic and David Colohan.

    Available at Bandcamp and our Artifacts Shop.


    Revisitation #4a.

    The Quietened Bunker-Night Editions-landscape sticker artwork-A Year In The Country

    Notes and Scribings:
    The Quietened Bunker is an exploration of the abandoned and/or decommissioned Cold War installations which lie under the land and that would have acted as selectively populated refuges/control centres if the button was ever pushed.

    They could be seen as once modern fortresses – reinforced concrete and blast doors replacing moats and stone battlements.

    However, these subterranean fortresses would likely also have been places of entombment – somewhere that those who once ran the infrastructure and defence of the nation would watch the days pass as supplies dwindled and the inevitable time came when the air filters would give out, all long before the world would become habitable again.

    The Quietened Bunker-landscape artwork 3-A Year In The Country

    Accompanying the main bunkers in the UK were a network of hundreds of small underground monitoring posts which would report on the size of an attack and the resulting fallout. Manned by volunteers, they were to be operational for just three weeks.

    The intention was that these would form part of a network of civil defence and management, accompanied by government issued Protect and Survive leaflets/broadcasts that would have offered advice on how to protect home and hearth via little more than whitewashing windows as blast protection and forming a shelter by leaning mattresses against an inner wall of your house.

    Looking back, such preparations can seem a reflection of some kind of madness or delusion in the collective consciousness and the halls of power – a tilting at windmills that was necessary to protect national psyches from the reality and aftermath of the sudden use and descending of mechanisms with almost indescribable destructive power.

    The Quietened Bunker-29 of 52-Keith Seatman-A Year In The Country-stroke

    Now it can all seem like a dream from another world, one where for a number of decades populations lived under the day-to-day threat of total annihilation and where millions was spent on this network of shelters and defences; preparations to allow fiddling once all had burned, such bunkers possibly being nearer to utilitarian national follies than fortresses.

    Indeed, today they are as likely to be signposted tourist attractions as operative defences.

    The Quietened Bunker reflects on these chimeric bulwarks and the faded but still present memory of associated Cold War dread, of which they are stalwart, mouldering symbols.



    Transmissions sent, received, transmitted:

    “The Quietened Bunker is an exploration of the abandoned and/or decommissioned Cold War installations (i.e. my favourite places). And (spoiler) it’s brilliant – an absolute contender for my album of the year. Every single track is expressive of the theme, though they all take a different approach to presenting it.” Pete Collins at Both Bars On

    “Grey Frequency’s Drakelow Tunnels is comprised of desolate drones like wind whipping through a crumbling building, menacing hums and echoes, and a repeated three-note melody loaded with foreboding… Listening Center combines music reminiscent of 1970s synth pioneers with a darkly experimental edge… David Colohan of United Bible Studies contributes a soundtrack-esque piece that is stark yet beautiful, a sense of hope shining through the abandonment like flowers arising triumphantly through crumbling concrete.” Kim Harten at Bliss Aquamarine

    From Rue Morgue, Shindig issue 59 and handwritten scribing by Was Ist Das?

    “Over the course of the album, the sounds blend beautifully together,  each seemingly tied to the next by a sense of loneliness and abandonment, creating a very melancholic collection that is very engaging with every artist playing their part in the mystery. To end it all, David Colohan takes the listener on a magical ride as “Waiting for the Blazing Sky” unfolds around you, a soft melodic slice of electronics that seems to float without form or purpose, summing up the cold war relics that inspired this excellent compilation.” Simon Lewis at Terrascope

    Other considerations and zeros and ones/frequency modulation broadcasts of the album can also be found at:

    The Quietened Bunker-Night Edition-all items-A Year In The CountrySeance Radio Show / Include Me Out / A Closer Listen #1 / A Closer Listen #2 / You, The Night & The Music #1  / You The Night & The Music # 2Evening Of Light / Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone / Nick Luscombe at Late Junction / Music Won’t Save You / The Crooked Button Radio Show / John Coulthart’s Feuilleton / Syndae #1 / Syndae #2 / The Sunday Experience / Gated Canal Community RadioSimon Reynold’s Retromania.

    A tip of the hat to all concerned.


    The Quietened Bunker-secret bunker tourist road signs-A Year In The Country-3 copyFrankie Goes To Hollywood-Two Tribes-OMD-Two Tribes-Jona Lewie-Stop The Cavalry-Trailblazers-Sky Arts-A Year In The Country
    A set of intermingled The Quietened Bunker wanderings can be perused via:

    Week #30/52: The Quietened Bunker Archives #1; A Lovely Day Out / Not Your Average Des Res

    Week #31/52: The Quietened Bunker Archives #2; Songs For The Bunker – The Once Was Ascendance Of Apocalyptic Pop

    Week #32/52: Bunker Archives #3: Wargames, Hollywood phantoms and phantasms and the only winning move is not to play

    Week #33/52: Bunker Archives #4; Paul Virilio’s Bunker Archaeology and accidental utilitarian art


    The Quietened Bunker-Dawn and Night editions-opened-release date-A Year In The Country

    Further details of The Quietened Bunker can be found around these parts here.


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  • Week #49/52: The Wanderings Of Veloelectroindustrial

    File Under: Trails And Influences / Year 2 Wanderings

    Well, this was something of a find (or strictly speaking a signposted towards wander of a wander).

    There seems to have grown/arrived in the world a kind of romantic appreciation of brutalist architecture, edgelands, derelict spaces and industry… not necessarily things that you would immediately expect to attach the word romance to.

    I think in a way they have come to be imbued with a sort of hauntological melancholia, a yearning for a both real and imagined past, things and ways lost.

    Veloelectroindustrial is a relatively new space/place in the ether that focuses on such things and it seems to be a capturing of that yearning, created with a very particular beauty and lyricism.

    Essentially it is a blog that documents the wanderings and explorations of forgotten industry, land that is slowly being reclaimed, the tumbling and crumbling along the nation’s coastlines.

    Lovely stuff. The photography has a fine, stylish and well observed take on its subject matter and brings or reflects a surprising and intriguing artistry to these essentially very utilitarian objects.

    veloelectroindustrial-edgelands-wasteland-photography-a-year-in-the-country-3 veloelectroindustrial-edgelands-wasteland-photography-a-year-in-the-country-4

    I was particularly taken by a couple of images which, although they are of more modern day industrial/communication structures, seemed to connect back to a more folkloric or ancient history of the land; echoes of wicker structures marching across the land or monuments for worship.


    Also, the Harworth Machine, the name and appearance of which made it seem to be something that had fallen from the skies via battles in a forgotten science fiction tale.

    Definitely somewhere in the ether to revisit and look forward to where its creator’s wandering take it next.

    I was pointed in the direction of it by Grey Frequency, whose work may well be a fine musical accompaniment to peruse the site to (alongside Veloelectroindustrial’s own choice of Steel City synth pioneers), being in part a soundtrack to or inspired by those very same edgelands and fading industrial documents of the nation’s past.

    Visit Grey Frequency at two of their homes in the ether here and here and around these parts via a consideration of related Cold Geometries and the encasements of the Immersion album.

    Previous tumblings from dsytopic tales around these parts can be found here.

    Visit Veloelectroindustrial here.


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  • The Forest / The Wald – A Gathering Of Transmissions

    the-forest-the-wald-transmissions-sentTransmissions sent, received, transmitted:

    Below is a gathering of some of the various considerations and airwaves sendings of The Forest / The Wald…

    shindig-62-the-forest-the-wald-a-year-in-the-country-stroke“…the seasons shift through a dozen tracks that rage and range from the manic Morris Dance of Cosmic Neighbourhood’s ‘Equinox’ to the electronic storm of Time Attendant’s ‘Fantastic Mass’… An album… to listen to in undisturbed sittings, as you pick out the stories that it tells.” Dave Thompson, Spin Cycle at Goldmine Magazine

    “…a response to British folk traditions that acknowledges the history without seeming beholden to it…” John Coulthart at Feuilleton

    “…The Hare And The Moon offering… a ghostly love note murmured in spectral tidings upon which droning mists descend which once cleared and lifted reveal siren-esque apparitions softly wooing with their beckoning bewitchment…” Mark Barton at The Sunday Experience here and here.

    Raffaello Russo has captured the spirit of things rather well at Music Won’t Save You (and we shall not offend his fine, flowing investigations by trying to translate the text here).

    The good folk at Shindig have included The Forest / The Wald scribings in issue 62 of the magazine. Peruse that here (and writer Ben Graham’s home in the ether here).

    The Forest / The Wald can also be found amongst the zeros and ones and frequency modulation airwaves, in particular via:

    Evening Of Light / Golden Apples Of The Sun / Gated Canal Community Radio / You, The Night & The Music and in a circular manner at the phantom seaside radio of The Séance here and here.

    Thanks to Oscar, Justin, Mat, James and Pete for those transmissions and a general tip of the hat to all concerned for both the above and ongoing support. Thankyou kindly.


    And the album itself? Well…

    The Forest / The Wald is a study and collection of work that reflects on fragments and echoes of tales from the woodland and its folklore; greenwood rituals performed in the modern day, fantastical childhood rhymes, sylvan siren calls that tremble through tangles of branches, electronics pressed into the summoning of otherworldly arboreal creations unearthed amidst the creeping thickets and elegies to woodland intrustions, solitudes and seasons.

    Audiological explorations by Bare Bones, Magpahi, Polypores, Time Attendant, David Colohan, Richard Moult, Sproatly Smith, The Hare And The Moon ft Alaska, The Rowan Amber Mill, The Séance with Lutine, Cosmic Neighbourhood and A Year In The Country.

    Peruse it around these parts here.

    It is available in physical form at our Artifacts Shop, Norman Records and the Ghost Box Guest Shop and in physical/download form at our Bandcamp Ether Victrola.


    It can also be found in less tangible, binary form at most of the multitude of usual places one would go to consider and listen to music in a newer, more fangled, less corporeal manner. So, at the streaming/rent, download/buy and stream/have-the-occasional-interruption-of-almost-surreally-unconnected-adverts (!) likes of DeezerSpotifyAmazon and iTunes.


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  • Audiological Transmission #49/52: Fractures – Ratio (Sequence) / Revisitation #3a


    Audiological exploration by The Rowan Amber Mill.

    fractures-49-of-52-the-rowan-amber-mill-a-year-in-the-country-bcFrom the album Fractures, which also includes work by Circle/Temple, Sproatly Smith, Keith Seatman, Polypores, The Listening Center, The British Space Group, The Hare And The Moon ft Alaska/Michael Begg, Time Attendant, A Year In The Country and David Colohan.

    Available at Bandcamp and our Artifacts Shop.


    Revisitation #3a.

    Fractures-Night and Dawn Editions-A Year In The Country

    Notes and Scribings:
    Fractures is a gathering of studies and explorations that take as their starting point the year 1973; a time when there appeared to be a schism in the fabric of things, a period of political, social, economic and industrial turmoil, when 1960s utopian ideals seemed to corrupt and turn inwards.

    As a reaction to such, this was a possible high water mark of the experimentations of psych/acid folk, expressions of eldritch undertones in the land via what has become known in part as folk horror and an accompanying yearning to return to an imagined pastoral idyll.

    Looking back, culture, television broadcasts and film from this time often seem imbued with a strange, otherly grittyness; to capture a sense of dissolution in relation to what was to become post-industrial Western culture and ways of living.

    Fractures-22 of 52-Keith Seatman-A Year In The Country-1200

    Such transmissions and signals viewed now can seem to belong to a time far removed and distant from our own; the past not just as a foreign country but almost as a parallel universe that is difficult to imagine as once being our own lands and world.

    Fractures is a reflection on reverberations from those disquieted times, taking as its initial reference points a selected number of conspicuous junctures and signifiers: Delia Derbyshire leaving The BBC/The Radiophonic Workshop and reflecting later that around then “the world went out of time with itself”. Electricity blackouts in the UK and the three day week declared. The Wickerman released. The Changes recorded but remained unreleased. The Unofficial Countryside published. The Spirit Of Dark And Lonely Water released.


    1973-A Gathering-A Year In The Country-4Delia Derbyshire-Hook Films-Test Shoot-A Year In The Country
    1973-Blackout-power cut-A Year In The Country
    A set of intermingled Fractures wanderings can be perused via:
    Fractures Signals #1Fractures Signals #2Fractures Signals #3Fractures Signals #4


    Transmissions sent, received, transmitted:

    “A year in the country quietly go about their business releasing beautifully packaged music that is influenced by folk, electronica, drone as well as by landscape, time and place. These… compilations each have themes running through them, tying the music together and seemingly telling a story as they unfold… It takes a while to fully absorb these releases, their depth and wonders requiring listening to fully appreciate, a task that is totally worthwhile, hidden gems to be discovered on every journey.” Terrascope

    “A skillfully weighted blend of dark folklore and synthesised experimentation, Fractures is a bit special.” Electronic Sound

    “Another excellent snapshot of current experimental music, showing the coexistence of darkness, strangeness, and profound beauty.” Bliss Aquamarine

    Fractures 21 of 52-Sproatly Smith-A Year In The Country-1200

    The album can also be found amongst the zeros and ones and frequency modulation airwaves at:
    Evening Of Light / The Golden Apples Of The Sun #1 / The Golden Apples Of The Sun #2The Séance / Radio: More Than Human / You, The Night And The Music #1 / You, The Night And The Music #2 / fRoots Radio / Free Form Freakout,  Project Moonbase and in a circular manner at the Test Transmission Archive.

    A tip of the hat once more to all involved.

    Further details of Fractures can be found here.


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