• Artifact Report #47/52a: All The Merry Year Round Reviews and Broadcasts

    All-The-Merry-Year-Round-CD-album-Night and Dawn editions-3 in a row-1600

    A gathering of some of the reviews, broadcasts etc of the All The Merry Year Round album:

    Shindig magazine-issue 74-All The Merry Year Round-A Year In The Country album review-Ben Graham-stroke 2

    Ben Graham has reviewed the album for issue 74 of Shindig! magazine:

    “A Year In The Country… operating like some sinister rustic arts and crafts movement manifesting online via a Wi-Fi connected scrying mirror… an almanac of unearthly sonics to tide you through the winter nights.”

    Issue 74 will be available here soon.

    A Closer Listen-website logo-3 in a row

    Richard Allen has reviewed the album at A Closer Listen:

    “All the Merry Year Round creates an atmosphere for wandering and wondering. The set succeeds through counter intuition, its alternative calendar creating such a ruckus that it causes all calendars to blow away in the wind, leaving us only with the eternal, visceral now.”

    Visit that here.

    The Terrascope-logo and reviews image

    Andrew Young has reviewed the album at Terrascope:

    “Polypores arrive with “Meridian”… huge slabs of synth create a musique concrete, pulses and washes ominously building and decaying throughout creating an otherworldly vibe.”

    Visit that here.

    Mark Losing Today-The Sunday Experience-The Restless Field-A Year In The Country

    Mark Barton has written about All The Merry Year Round twice at his The Sunday Experience site:

    “”I’ll Bid My Heart Be Still”… blessed with a church like serene, both reverent and majestic, a stilled grandeur forms from the spectral touching, a magical occurrence intimately brushed and in tune with the coming dark season, a ghostly ceremonial séance reaching deep through the ages instilling all in enchantment and beautified bewitchment.”

    Visit those two pieces here and here.

    More Than Human Records

    More Than Human played Polypores and Time Attendant’s tracks on the intriguing selecting and wanderings of their radio show.

    Originally broadcast on CiTR FM, it can be visited here and the show is archived at their Soundcloud page here and is available as a podcast here.

    dexter bentley hello goodbye radio show-logo-3 in a row

    And amongst further intriguing wanderings and selectings, Cosmic Neighbourhood’s track was played on The deXter Bentley Hello GoodBye Show.

    Originally broadcast on Resonance FM, the playlist can be viewed here and the show is archived here.

    The Unquiet Meadow-radio show-image 2

    The Unquiet Meadow played The Hare And The Moon with Jo Lepine’s “I’ll Bid My Heart Be Still” amongst their wanderings through “psych-tinged landscapes of mutated folk & haunted electronica” on their radio show.

    Originally broadcast on Asheville FM, the playlist can be visited here.

    Tip of the hat to everybody involved in the above…

    All The Merry Year Round-landscape artwork 1-A Year In The Country

    All The Merry Year Round is an exploration of an alternative or otherly calendar that considers how traditional folklore and its tales now sit alongside and sometimes intertwine with cultural or media based folklore; stories we discover, treasure, are informed and inspired by but which are found, transmitted and passed down via television, film and technology rather than through local history and the ritual celebrations of the more longstanding folkloric calendar… travelling alongside straw bear and cathode ray summonings alike.

    The album features United Bible Studies, Circle/Temple, Magpahi, Cosmic Neighbourhood, Field Lines Cartographer, Polypores, A Year In The Country, Sproatly Smith, Pulselovers, The Hare And The Moon & Jo Lepine, Time Attendant and The Séance.

    More details can be found here and the album can be previewed here.

     

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  • Ether Signposts #47/52a: Further Reflections on a Saggy Old Cloth Cat / Related Bucolia and Archiving

    Small Films-Pogles 3

    Well, time to wander towards some gently escapist imaginary worlds…

    In amongst the various images in Jonny Trunks The Art Of Smallfilms book, there are some that have a particularly natural/bucolic/set in the landscape aspect to them and which have stuck in my mind somewhat…

    Smallfilms-Pogles-1b

    Which set me of on something of a voyage of discovery…

    The Clangers, Bagpuss and Co at the Museum of Childhood at the V&A Museum Of Childhood-2

    First off I discovered that in 2016 there was an exhibition I missed called The Clangers, Bagpuss and Co. at the V&A Museum of Childhood … which was a real “Darned it” moment when I discovered it.

    Small Films-Pogles-3b

    On further wandering amongst Smallfilms related landscape set imagery I came across photographs from some Pogles books which were published in the late 1960s which are quite lovely…

    Ivor The Engine-cutouts and model

    …and before long I was stumbling upon home-crafted Ivor The Engines and indeed make-your-own-Ivor-The Engines…

    Small Films-Pogles-4b

    So, in homage to Smallfilms, Oliver Postgate, Peter Firmin, Emily, a saggy old cloth cat, Welsh railways and volcanos powered by a gas meter, I though I would collect a few related images together…

    Emily-and-Bagpuss-stills-Smallfilms-V&A

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    Pogles bucolia (and a touch of a quietly unsettled atmosphere here and there)
    Various reflections on The Clangers, Bagpuss and Co here, here, here and here
    The Art Of Smallfilms at The Creative Review
    The Art Of Smallfilms at Eye Magazine
    Ivor The Engine projects / Make Your Own Ivor
    Darned it, missed Sandra Kerr, co-creator of the Bagpuss soundtrack playing music from the series for but £4.00

    Local Places Of Interest:
    Day #164/365: A saggy old cloth cat and curious cultural connections…
    Wanderings #38/52a: The Moomins And The Seams That Keep Giving…

     

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  • Ocular Signals #46/52a: Image T/2a

    Image-T2a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country-stroke
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #46/52a: Barsham Faire 1974 and a Merry Albion Psychedelia

    Barsham Faire 1974-BFIPlayer-medieval-folk-psych-4

    Just recently I was talking about the curious way that “in the early 1970s, some bands/musicians adopted quite medieval styles of dress, persona and even elements of such ways in day-to-day life.

    Barsham Faire 1974-BFIPlayer-medieval-folk-psych-5

    After writing that I came across some film footage of Barsham Faire in 1974 on the BFIPlayer:

    Held on the Rectory Paddock courtesy of a local landowner, the Barsham Faire was a popular event with both local communities of former city dwellers who had moved up to the Waveney valley for a slower pace of life and stall holders who came to sell their handmade goods. The faire became a popular date in the calendar throughout the 70s and a great opportunity for people to let their hair down and sing and dance in the Suffolk sunshine. Dressing up qualified you for half price entry!

    Barsham Faire 1974-BFIPlayer-medieval-folk-psych-3 Barsham Faire 1974-BFIPlayer-medieval-folk-psych-1

    This is a good snapshot of a point in time and culture when 1960s hippie-ness had melded into and explored medieval styles and related folk/folkloric interests – a sort of Merry England psychedelia.

    Well worth a look-see.

    Barsham Faire 1974-BFIPlayer-medieval-folk-psych-2

    Below are some of the original posters for the Faire’s, dated 1972, 1973 and 1974:

    Barsham Faire posters-1972-1973-1974

    There’s a fascinating overview of the history of Barsham Faire, how it evolved into the Albion Fairs and related archival work by The Fairs Archive at the “folk arts and esoterica for the discerning” Hare and Tabor site, who have also created an accompanying t-shirt inspired by those Fairs in collaboration with The Fairs Archive:

    Five heady events took place on Rectory Paddock in the summers from 1972 onwards.  What seemed like a temporary autonomous zone overseen by the Spirit of Misrule was established.  Out of the demise of these events emerged the Albion Fairs to take their place, which continued until the early 1980’s.  A precedent had been set that others would follow in other parts of the country. As Jill Bruce, one of the organisers  of the events explained, the experience was life changing for some: “That field, that place, that fair: the experience was colossal – a jolt into another reality, the one I was supposed to be in.””

    Also well worth a look-see.

    Hare and Tabor-logo

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

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #46:
    Barsham Faire 1974 at the BFIPlayer

    Elsewhere in the Ether:
    Barsham Faire at Hare and Tabor
    The Fairs Archive

    Local Broadcasts:
    Wanderings #46/52a: Steeleye Span, Imaginative Time Travel, Medievalism

     

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  • Wanderings #46/52a: Steeleye Span, Carboot Rummagings, Imaginative Time Travel and Medievalism

    Steeleye-Span-Below-The-Salt-vinyl-LP-A-Year-In-The-Country-lighter
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    It was a curious thing, the way that in the early 1970s, some bands/musicians adopted quite medieval styles of dress, persona and even elements of such ways in day-to-day life.

    (To quote myself quoting Rob Young, this was a form of “imaginative time travel” and as has been mentioned around these parts before, may well have also been part of a yearning to return to some imagined pastoral idyll, possibly as a form of escape from the strife and troubled times back then).

    1972-Steeleye-Span-A Year In The Country-1

    In terms of imagery, an album cover such as Steeleye Span’s Below The Salt from 1972 goes the full (medieval) hog…

    …although if you look back at photographs of them from the early 1970s, the medieval aspects are just part and parcel of an overall way of dressing that was equally post-1960s psychedelic gone more loose, a touch hippie and to a modern day eye appears to be style that wouldn’t have been out of place worn by say a more hip children’s television presenter from back when (which is said with affection, that’s not a bad look).

    Vashti Bunyan-A Year In The CountryAlthough stage personas and costumes are nothing unsual, there seemed to be a tendency for this, sometimes, to go further than that and elements of such ways and times were adopted in day-to-day life (hence Vashti Bunyan and her partners’ horse drawn ride across to the country, aiming towards a destination where they intended to live more according to ways gone by).

    As an aside, I was recently(ish) at a carboot sale and although these aren’t sometimes the old vinyl record and CD foraging bonanza they once were, there were a few stalls that had vinyl records on them – probably about four stalls, with around a hundred or so records all told.

    Steeleye Span-1972-A Year In The Country-2

    On every stall that had a selection of vinyl there seemed to be a Steeleye Span record or few, which was quite curious.

    Was it just coincidence? Is it just that people don’t want these records so much anymore or more precisely in that part of the world/culture they don’t and so they are left behind?

    Hmmm.

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #122/365: A trio or more of Fine Horsemen via Modern Folk Is Rubbish and through to patterns layered under patterns…

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

     

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  • Ether Signposts #46/52a: The Wicker Man – Summer Isle Books, Bindings, Pounds, Shillings And Pence

    The Wicker Man book collection

    A fair old while ago, back in the first year of A Year In The Country one of the posts included a consideration of various DVD etc editions of The Wicker Man.

    In a similar spirit, I thought I would bring together a gathering of some of the various Wicker Man related books that have been published…

    …there have now been enough to warrant their own section within a library.

    There are other related books and editions out in the world as well as the ones below but that library section could well include:

    The Quest For The Wicker Man-Benjamin Franks-bookFirst off there is The Quest For The Wicker Man: History, Folklore And Pagan Perspectives by Benjamin Franks, Stephen Harper, Jonathan Murray and Lesley Stevenson, which is a more academic take on the film.

    There is a somewhat rarer book that accompanies this called Constructing The Wickerman, which includes work by some of the same authors and which was published to coincide with the first academic conference on the film in Glasgow in 2003.

    Studying The Wicker Man-Andy Murray Lorraine RolstonThen there is Studying The Wicker Man from 2017, which is a shorter academic book by Andy Murray and Lorraine Rolston…
    Inside The Wicker Man-Allan Brown-1st edition and revised editionHow Not To Make A Cult Classic – Inside The Wicker Man by Allan Brown, which if memory serves correctly is a good factual and also behind the scenes intrigues view of the film. It was originally published in 2000 (the first book on The Wicker Man?) and reissued in 2010 as a newer revised edition post the US remake.
    Ritual-David Pinner-First Edition-Finders Keepers Edition

    Ritual by David Pinner, which is seen as a forebear and possible influence on The Wicker Man. Originally published in 1967 as a hardback, in paperback in 1968 by Arrow Books with a more overtly possibly exploitation cover image and text and it was republished in 2011 by Finders Keepers Records.

    First editions of the 1967 version now fetch upwards of £400 (blimey etc)… and I like the background info at Finders Keepers site on their new edition and before they republished it how Andy Votel was about to pay a fair few pounds for an original copy and then he thought “I’ll just check the local library catalogue”… and there it was.

    Ah, the good old library system.

    The Finders Keepers edition also features an interesting introduction by Bob Stanley which in an earlier post at A Year In The Country I said this:

    “The introduction opens with a sense of how nature can come to almost dwarf you, how our sense of urban/modern security can easily be dismissed by the ways and whiles of nature.”

    (As an aside, although it was released in conjunction with David Pinner and reproduced from his copy, I like the way the Finders Keepers edition is listed by them as being “Finders Keepers Forgery Number One”.)

    The Wicker Man-The Complete Piano Songbook-with sheet music

    For the 40th anniversary of the film in 2013, alongside the various Bluray/DVD and soundtrack reissues, there was also The Wicker Man – The Complete Piano Songbook published by Summer Isle Songs, with arrangements by Christopher Hussey.

    Alongside the sheet music, it also includes an introduction by film’s Associate Musical Directory Gary Carpenter and various stills from the film.

    The Wicker Man-1st edition and new edition book-Robin Hardy-Anthony Shaffer-foreword Allan BrownThe Wicker Man novel, which curiously was originally published in 1978, five years after the release of the film (and also slightly curiously was released in the US first).

    The novel was written by Robin Hardy, the director of The Wicker Man but is credited as being co-authored by Anthony Shaffer, the writer of the film’s screenplay, as it re-uses much of the screenplay’s dialogue.

    It was republished in 2000, the same year as Allan Brown’s Inside The Wicker Man, with this new edition also  featuring a foreword by him.

    The Wicker Man-Conversations with Robin Hardy, Anthony Shaffer & Edward Woodward-Stephen ApplebaumAlthough only available as an eBook, The Wicker Man: Conversations with Robin Hardy, Anthony Shaffer & Edward Woodward, published in 2012 collects 46 pages of interviews by Stephen Applebaum…

    I’m hoping that at some point it will appear as a physically printed book.

    Also of note…
    Your Face Here-Ali Catterall-Simon Wells-The Wicker ManYour Face Here: British Cult Movies Since the Sixties by Ali Caterall and Simon Wells from 2001, which is a fine and very readable collection that focuses on various cult films, with one chapter being specifically about The Wicker Man.

    I’ve written about this book before at A Year In The Country and said:

    “…there is a rigour to the research… the text reflects a genuine love for and appreciation of these films… This isn’t something that is written by rote or which just trots out well visited stories in a cut and paste manner. The authors have put the footwork in, visiting locations, interviewing all kinds of associated folk and bringing forth something of a wealth of new information and connections.”

    nuada-wicker-man-journal-issues…and finally there is Nuada, which was a journal/zine about The Wicker Man which had three editions published in 1999-2000 (a busy period for such things it seems).

    …so, all in all, there have been a fair few Summer Isle related books and bindings (and as mentioned earlier, the above is not a complete list of books and editions)… something of a measure of just how it’s influence and inspiration has grown over the years…

    …and somewhat impressive for a film that took $58,341 in US box office receipts on it’s first release.

    Adjusting that for inflation, it would today mean it had taken $321,575.85 or using the exchange rates back in 1973, £137,185.79.

    So, no small potatoes (or other appropriate harvest crops).

    However as a point of reference, the Top 10 US ranking films back then (The Sting, The Exorcist, American Graffiti, Papilion, The Way We Were, Magnum Force, Last Tango In Paris, Live and Let Die, Robin Hood and Paper Moon) took between $156,000,000 and $30,933,473.

    Which, again, adjusted for inflation today would be $859,872,702.70 to $170,505,442.52.

    Or £366,825,785.39 to £72,738,432.87 in modern day Blighty pounds, shillings and pence.

    Blimey.

    The Wicker Man Collage-A Year In The Country-1080

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    The Quest For The Wicker Man
    Studying The Wicker Man
    Inside The Wicker Man
    Ritual at Finders Keepers
    The Wicker Man Song Book
    The Wicker Man novel
    The Wicker Man: Conversations with Robin Hardy, Anthony Shaffer & Edward Woodward
    Your Face Here
    Nuada journal

    Local Places Of Interest:
    Day #237/365: Your Face Here; peering down into the landfill – a now historical perspective on the stories of The Wicker Man
    Day #90/365: The Wickerman – the future lost vessels and artifacts of modern folklore
    Day #101/365: Gently Johnny, Sproatly Smith, The Woodbine & Ivy band and lilting intentions…
    Week #25/52: Fractures Signals #4; A Behemoth Comes Once More A Knocking…
    Ether Signposts #24/52a: The Wicker Man / Don’t Look Now Double Bill And Media Disseminations From What Now Seem A Long Long Time Ago
    Ether Signposts #25/52a: 138 Layers And Gatherings Of The Wicker Man

     

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  • Artifact Report #46/52a: The Quietened Cosmologists – Further Reviews and Broadcasts

    The-Quietened-Cosmologists-Dawn and Night edtions-front and opened-A-Year-In-The-Country

    Some further reviews and broadcasts of The Quietened Cosmologists album, which is:

    “…a reflection on space exploration projects that have been abandoned and/or that were never realised, of connected lost or imagined futures and dreams, the intrigue and sometimes melancholia of related derelict sites and technological remnants that lie scattered and forgotten.”

    Electronic Sound magazine-issue 35-The Quietened Cosmologists review-A Year In The Country

    First up is a review in Electronic Sound issue 35 by the magazine’s Commissioning Editor Neil Mason…

    …that issue has a classic 1950s/1980s style 3D cover complete with red/blue anaglyph glasses, which is a nice touch and something of a nod to the lineage of 3D now that one of the latest incarnations of 3D in the home is largely coming to an end as manufacturers have mostly stopped making 3D televisions.

    The issue is available here and as part of a vinyl bundle here.

    Goldmine Magazine-Spin Cycle-Dave Thompson

    Next up is Dave Thompson’s review at his Spin Cycle column on Goldmine magazine’s site:

    “…a rumination on what might have been – the space missions that were promised, that were planned and then abandoned, or that never got off even the figurative ground in the first place… Disconnected voices from impossible distances, radio signals, muted melodies, ambitious hope and scientific daydreams…”

    Find the column here.

    The Terrascope-logo and reviews image

    Andrew Young reviews the album at Terrascope:

    “Keith Seatman has beats a plenty like a wonky Kraftwerk after they have discovered Steve Birchall’s epic Reality Gates album, proper space rock… Listening Center  take us to a strange ticking otherworldy place, a place that feels at once vast and infinite, a haunting slice of space music… The record ends with Landfall at William Creek, David Colohan’s spectral hammered dulcimer peels away into the inky vastness of space, a beautiful end to a fine record.”

    Visit the review here.

    We Are Cult website logo

    We Are Cult included the album in a review round up

    “…it’s a cracking collection of electronica… about the abandoned, uncelebrated, and unrealised attempts to reach the stars… David Colohans desolate Landfall At William Creek perfectly evokes lonely space junk rusting in the wilderness… Keith Seatman’s 093A-Prospero is best described as a sort of interstellar Lieutenant Pigeon.”

    An interstellar Lieutenant Pigeon? Well, count me in (!).

    Visit the reviews round up here.

    The Unquiet Meadow-radio show-Ashevill FM

    The Unquiet Meadow included Pulselovers Lonely Puck amongst some fine company on their show which wanders through and explores the further reaches of folk and where they meet the spectral concerns of hauntology…

    Originally broadcast on Asheville FM, browse the playlist here and the show’s site at the radio station here.

    The Seance Radio show-wider logo

    In a rounding the circle manner, some time A Year In The Country fellow travellers Pete Wiggs and James Papademetrie of the “phantom seaside radio” show The Séance have included David Colohan and Field Lines Cartographers tracks on two of their show.

    First heard via the airwaves at Radio Reverb and Sine FM, the episodes and their playlist’s are archived here and here.

    You the night and the music-radio show-mat handley-A Year In The Country

    In a further rounding of the circle manner, Mat Handley of Pulselovers played David Colohan, Time Attendant and Vic Mars’ tracks on his You, the Night & the Music show.

    That show was also originally broadcast on Sine FM. Visit the online archive for the episodes here and here.

    the-gated-canal-community-radio-the-quietened-bunker-a-year-in-the-country

    The Gated Canal Community Radio Show, hosted by record labels Front & Follow and The Geography Trip, played Howlround’s track on their show.

    Originally on Reform Radio, the show is archived here and here and the show’s blog can be found here.

    Wyrd Daze-zine-logo

    In an interconnected manner, Wyrd Daze included three tracks from the album on their Samhain Seance 6 : Triffid Witch mix, alongside tracks from Front & Follow’s 10th anniversary compilation Lessons and their Blow series, plus the likes of Leyland Kirby and The Haxan Cloak.

    The online archive can be found here and details of the mix can be found here. Wyrd Daze’s main site can be found here.

    The Quietened Cosmologists-landscape artwork-2

    Previous reviews and broadcasts of The Quietened Cosmologists:
    Artifact Reports #37/52a: The Quietened Cosmologists Writing, Posts and Broadcasts
    Artifact Report #38/52a: The Quietened Cosmologists Writing, Posts and Broadcasts
    Artifact Report #39/52a: The Quietened Cosmologists at You, the Night & the Music and feuilleton
    Artifact Report #44/52a: A Year In The Country at The Golden Apples of the Sun

    A tip of the hat to everybody involved. The support is much appreciated.

    The Quietened Cosmologists-landscape artwork-4

    The Quietened Cosmologists features Field Lines Cartographer, Pulselovers, Magpahi, Howlround, Vic Mars, Unit One, A Year In The Country, Keith Seatman, Grey Frequency, Time Attendant, Listening Center, Polypores and David Colohan.

    Further details can be found around these parts here, at Bandcamp here and can be previewed at Soundcloud here.

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #45/52a: Z For Zachariah

    Play For Today title-BBC

    Z For Zachariah-Robert O'Brien-bookZ For Zachariah is a novel by Robert C. O’Brien that was published in 1974 and has been made as a Play For Today drama for television by the BBC in 1984 and as an American film in 2015.

    Its plot involves a young woman who believes she is the last survivor of a worldwide nuclear conflict which has left the world uninhabitable apart from the small valley in which she lives.

    Into this valley one day comes a stranger in a protective suit and the story revolves around his almost passing away after being contaminated, their attempts at survival and farming and the conflict between them in their isolate enclave.

    Z For Zachariah-1984 BBC Play For Today-3

    The 1984 Play For Today adaptation is a particularly dour and unsettling piece of drama.

    This is partly because of the inherent nature of its themes, background and plot but it is quite possibly heightened by it only being available as an umpteenth generation version, with the resulting washed out grey-green colour palette.

    Also, I was quite aware when watching it that the background of its making and broadcast was the real life threat of a peak in tension during the Cold War, which possibly made it less entertainment than a form of almost speculative documentary.

    Z For Zachariah-2015-1

    When I watched the 2015 film version I was actually quite surprised by it; the film stars three well known actors – Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Chris Pine – but it is a fairly downbeat, understated feature.

    (Curiously, in a revolving mirror manner of what often happens with film and television adaptations when they cross the Atlantic, the book was originally set in the United States, the story was relocated to Wales for the Play For Today version and then returned to the US for the 2015 film version.)

    Z For Zachariah-2015-2

    The film version adds a third survivor – Chris Pine – and it becomes in part a tale of a love triangle set against the background of survival and the conflict between faith and scientific practicality (this aspect is particularly shown when one of the characters wishes for the wooden church in the valley to be taken down in order to build a power creating watermill and does not or cannot take on board the spiritual effect this may have on another of the trio).

    In this version the apocalypse that has faced the wider world is not overtly defined as being conflict related and is more hinted at as being some vague nuclear related cataclysm, which accompanied by it being made after the Cold War era means that the underlying real life threat of the film is at least lessened.

    However, I have to admit that by the end of the film I’m not sure that I was so much entertained as unsettled and disturbed, finding myself with a strong sense of nolonger wanting to be in this world and its realities.

    This natural rural enclave may in some ways look like a singular paradisiacal new beginning but it is one that seems to have an overhanging sense of a clock ticking towards when it will no longer be sustainable.

    Brrrr.

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

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #1:
    (Fragments of) Z For Zachariah 1984
    Z For Zachariah 2015

    Local Broadcasts:
    Day #46/365: Threads, The Changes, the bad wires and the ghosts of transmissions
    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #30/52a: The Last Train And Fractured Timelines

     

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  • Wanderings #45/52a: Further and Audio Visual Explorations

    Further-Portico poster-DJ Food Pete Williams-c

    DJ Food and Pete Williams’ Further event has a second installment on November 18th (ticket info can be found here), the first one of which I wrote about a while ago…

    Further-DJ Food-Pete Williams-1c

    At this second event DJ Food and Pete Williams will be once again creating their multi-projection Further environment, which from the images I have seen seems to have an immersive, layered, enveloping atmosphere and accompanying them will be audio-visual live sets by Simon James and Sculpture.

    Simon-James-Furthe-Event-Portico-4c2

    The preview videos for Simon James’ performance feature gentle, dreamlike patterns, which at times puts me in mind of abstracted sea creatures, possibly sea anemone’s… and also, while it has a character all of its own, at points it shares similar territory with some of the film work Julian House has produced for Ghost Box Records, creating imagery where hazy geographic shapes and forms seem to contain some kind of hidden, otherly message that you can’t quite decode.

    And just as there often can be with filmed recordings of some sea creatures, there is a drift to these images and they hypnotically draw you in as they are accompanied by ambient spectral synthesized music.

    Simon James-Furthe Event-Portico-2c

    (Simon James has also worked as part of Black Channels, whose particularly rare cassette release Two Knocks For Yes is well worth seeking out in one form or another – it’s still available digitally. Amongst other things it is an intriguing mixture of Radiophonic-esque synthesis, poltergeist exploration and recordings of ghost reports. He has also created the Akhai Den Den album and project, which is a soundtrack and radio drama set in a crumbling amusement park, which I expect I may well visit further around these parts at a later date.)

    Sculpture-Tape Box-Further event-Portico-4c

    Sculpture is the duo of Dan Hayhurst and Reuben Sutherland whose audio-visual work utilises a wide array of analogue alongside digital techniques to create an at points cut-up-esque swirling montage of sounds and images.

    The picture discs they have released come alive and full of animation once they begin to spin on the turntable, recalling the early pre-celluloid days of moving images, along which lines they describe themselves as utilising a “library of zoetropic prints” (zoetropes were a mechanical form of producing moving images via spinning cylinders that were initially created in the 19th century).

    Sculpture-Tape-Box-Further-event-Portico-2cc

    …while at other times their work includes cosmic, surreal, nature infused images…

    Sculpture-Tape Box-Further event-Portico-3c

    …which intermingle with what could well be escapees created from either/or/both the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and the Berberian Sound Studio.

    Further-DJ Food and Pete Williams-5c

    There are a number of different cultural themes and strands within the Further events but looking at related images and videos for this second event a word that kept occurring to me, particularly in terms of the visual work, was psychedelia.

    Not psychedelia in a retro, retreading, style, rather a contemporary take, exploration or progression of such things.

    Further-DJ Food-Pete Williams-6c

    Taken as a whole and loosely gathered together, such work as that at the second Further event made me think of Trish Keenan of Broadcast’s quote/comment on her interest in and connection with psychedelia:

    “I’m not interested in the bubble poster trip, ‘remember Woodstock’ idea of the sixties. What carries over for me is the idea of psychedelia as a door through to another way of thinking about sound and song. Not a world only reachable by hallucinogens but obtainable by questioning what we think is real and right, by challenging the conventions of form and temper.”
    (Taken from an article on/interview with Broadcast by Joseph Stannard in Wire magazine, issue 308, October 2009. It can also be found in an unedited version online at Wire magazine’s site.)

    I don’t want to make the Further events sound all overly serious though. What they seem to be in part are an attempt to create a night-time space that moves beyond a purely youthful focus and preoccupation, somewhere you can go out, enjoy a bit of exploratory/experimental music and visual culture and also kick back a bit.

    Further-Portico Gallery DJ Food-flier

    Or to quote DJ Food and Pete Williams themselves when describing the first event, the flier for which is above, Further is:

    “An irregular event held in different places, it’s not a club night, it’s not monthly, there’s no dance floor. It HAS got all the things we love in it though: experimental music and film, food and drink, socialising and a bit of record hunting. Taking old analogue image making techniques from the 20th century and recontextualising it into new spaces for today.”

    (File post under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings)

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Ether Signposts #14/52a: Further – A Temporary Audio Visual Space

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Further related posts at DJ Food’s main site
    .
    Further related videos.
    Tickets for the second Further event.

    Akhai Den Den: the main site and transmissions from the deep darkness.
    Akhai Den Den: radio waves, half-heard transmissions and electronic music boxes.
    Black Channels, Two Knocks For Yes and “otherworldly vibrations and oscillations”.

    Sculpture’s main site and collection of videos.

     

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  • Ocular Signals #45/52a: Image S/2a

    Image-S2a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country-stroke
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Artifact Report #45/52a: All The Merry Year Round – Pre-order

    Pre-order available today 7th November 2017. Release date 28th November 2017.

    All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night and Dawn editions-A Year In The Country

    Artifact #6a

    Featuring United Bible Studies, Circle/Temple (Dom Cooper of The Owl Service/Bare Bones/Rif Mountain), Magpahi, Cosmic Neighbourhood, Field Lines Cartographer, Polypores, A Year In The Country, Sproatly Smith, Pulselovers, The Hare And The Moon & Jo Lepine (The Owl Service), Time Attendant and The Séance (Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne and James Papademetrie).

    All The Merry Year Round is an exploration of an alternative or otherly calendar that considers how traditional folklore and its tales now sit alongside and sometimes intertwine with cultural or media based folklore; stories we discover, treasure, are informed and inspired by but which are found, transmitted and passed down via television, film and technology rather than through local history and the ritual celebrations of the more longstanding folkloric calendar.

    However, just as with their forebears there is a ritualistic nature to these modern-day reveries whereby communal or solitary seances are undertaken when stepping into such tales via flickering darkened rooms lit by screens, although their enclosed nature is in contrast to more public traditional folklore rituals.

    Accompanying which with the passing of time some televisual and cinematic stories continue or begin to resonate as they gain new layers of meaning and myth; cultural folklore that has come to express and explore an otherly Albion, becoming a flipside to traditional folklore tales and sharing with them a rootwork that is deeply embedded in the land.

    In amongst All The Merry Year Round can be found wanderings down such interwoven pathways, travelling alongside straw bear and cathode ray summonings alike.

     

    Available via our Artifacts Shop, our Bandcamp Ether Victrola and at Norman Records.
    Dawn Edition £11.95. Night Edition £24.95.

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


    Tracks also previewable at Soundcloud.

     

    Dawn Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £11.95.
    Hand-finished white/black CDr album in textured recycled fold out sleeve with inserts and badge.All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Dawn edition-front-A Year In The Country
    All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Dawn edition-back-A Year In The CountryAll The Merry Year Round-CD album-Dawn edition-opened-A Year In The CountryAll The Merry Year Round-Dawn edition-white-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                          Bottom of CD.

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

     

    Night Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £24.95.
    Hand-finished box-set contains: album on all black CDr, 12 page string bound booklet, 4 x badge pack, 4 x stickers, 1 x large badge.

    All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night edition-front-A Year In The Country All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night edition-opened-A Year In The Country-2All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night edition-all items-A Year In The Country All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night edition-booklet 2-A Year In The Country-2All The Merry Year Round-Night-Edition-all-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                            Bottom of CD.

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

    All The Merry Year Round-landscape artwork 5-A Year In The Country

    Tracklisting:

    1) Towards The Black Sun – United Bible Studies
    2) Rigel Over Flag Fen – Circle/Temple
    3) She Became Ashes and Left With the Wind – Magphai
    4) Winter Light – Cosmic Neighbourhood
    5) Azimuth Alignment Ritual – Field Lines Cartographer
    6) Meridian – Polypores
    7) Tradition and Modernity – A Year In The Country
    8) Moons (Part 1) – Sproatly Smith
    9) Tales Of Jack – Pulselovers
    10) I’ll Bid My Heart Be Still – The Hare And The Moon & Jo Lepine
    11) In a Strange Stillness – Time Attendant
    12) Chetwynd Haze – The Séance

    Artwork/encasment design and fabrication by AYITC Ocular Signals Department

    Artifact #6a / Library Reference Numbers: A011ATMYRD / A011ATMYRN

    All The Merry Year Round-landscape artwork 6c-A Year In The Country

     

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  • Ether Signposts #45/52a: Further Accidental Folk-Art

    1970 British Rail-Eastern-leaflet

    In terms of accidental folk-art, I think these British Rail leaflets from 1970 should be filed alongside the Cornflakes packet that is featured in the Own Label: Sainsburys Design Studio: 1962 – 1977 book by Jonny Trunk.

    (Although strictly speaking I might say to file the British Rail leaflets nearby to the Sainsbury’s Corn Flakes, say under Accidental Folk-Art/Hauntological Precedents.)

    Own Label- Sainsburys Design Studio-Jonny Trunk-Fuel book-2

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    Jonny Trunk on Own Label
    Peruse a few more images from the book
    Own Label at Fuel

    Local Places Of Interest:
    Day #213/365: Artifacts of a curious mini-genre (and misc.)

     

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  • Ocular Signals #44/52a: Image R/2a

    Image-R2a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country-stroke
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Wanderings #44/52a: Recording The Layers Upon And Under The Land

    02-Aerial Archaeology-A Year In The Country
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    Over the year I’ve wandered several times to photography that takes an aerial or birds eye view of the land, that highlights the sometimes almost abstract art-like, natural calligraphy of the coasts, trees, natural features etc.

    Along which lines, aerial archeology.

    03Aerial Archaeology-A Year In The Country

    Apparently tiny differences in ground conditions caused by buried features can be emphasised by a number of factors and then viewed from the air:

    Slight differences in ground levels will cast shadows when the sun is low and these can be seen best from an aeroplane. These are referred to as shadow marks.

    Buried ditches will hold more water and buried walls will hold less water than undisturbed ground, this phenomenon, amongst others, causes crops to grow better or worse, taller or shorter, over each kind of ground and therefore define buried features which are apparent as tonal or colour differences. Such effects are called cropmarks.

    05-Aerial Archaeology-A Year In The Country

    Frost can also appear in winter on ploughed fields where water has naturally accumulated along the lines of buried features. These are known as frostmarks.

    Slight differences in soil colour between natural deposits and archaeological ones can also often show in ploughed fields as soilmarks.

    06-Aerial Archaeology-A Year In The Country

    Differences in levels and buried features will also affect the way surface water behaves across a site and can produce a striking effect after heavy rain.

    07-Aerial Archaeology-A Year In The Country

    I find related photographs interesting in part because they literally record the marks upon and under the land, they are quite literally a documenting of the layers of history that without aviation would be more or less impossible to view.

    Leo Deuel-Flights Into Yesterday-Aerial Archeology-paperback-A Year In The Country copy Leo Deuel-Flights Into Yesterday-Aerial Archeology-A Year In The Country

    There have been a number of books published on the subject and having something of a weakspot for cultural artifacts from around 1973, Flights Into Yesterday by Leo Deuel caught my eye.

     

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Wanderings #15/52a: Other Views / The Patterns Beneath The Plough, The Pylons And Amongst The Edgelands #1

    Wanderings #31/52a: The Shadow Of Heaven Above

    Wanderings #40/52a: Further Natural Calligraphy / Carving The Land

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #44/52a: Meg Baird’s Don’t Weigh Down The Light

    Meg Baird-Dont Weigh Down The Light-A Year In The Country
    Well, Meg Baird’s Don’t Weigh Down The Light…

    A fair while ago I wrote about the Espers II album and how I seemed to rarely get beyond the first track Dead Queen…

    Not because of any failing in the rest of the album but, well because:

    “…it’s a song that swoops, sparkles, gently tilts you back into somewhere else. It’s epic and grand in scale but never verbose; a song full of glistening beauty, gentle and lilting but also one which subtly loops and returns throughout to something that touches on night dreams.

    And I seem to find it hard to travel beyond it on the album; where do you go after something like this? It’s such a complete, swirling world of a song.

    Espers II-Greg Weeks-Drag City-A Year In The Country 5 Espers II-Greg Weeks-Drag City-A Year In The Country

    When I hear it I think of semi-lost privately pressed psychedelic/acid folk records from somewhere in the 1970s… but this is no straight replucking or homage; in many ways it shines a beacon as how to look to and draw from earlier source material but to bring it into today and your own vision.”

    And now, here I find myself with a similar, not unpleasant conundrum regarding an album by sometime Esper-er Meg Baird.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to the first track, Counterfeiters, on Don’t Weigh Down The Light, fully with the intention of listening to the whole album but it just stops me dead in my tracks…

    …for many of the same reasons as above, the same thing occurs here. Although I wouldn’t necessarily use the phrase epic, Counterfeiters is a very intimate song that draws you in and creates its own world.

    This is a rather classy take on the source material of folk that carefully draws a line back to such things but which also wanders quite somewhere else. Entrancing indeed. Gentle, bucolic and also containing a subtle edge of melancholia, a glimpse of a world far removed…

    baird-sisters-green-front_10b_border

    Which is something I could well also say about the Until You Find Your Green album by The Baird Sisters, particularly its first track On And On.

    As I have a tendency to say around here, lovely stuff.

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

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #1:
    Meg Baird’s Counterfeiters

    Local Broadcasts:
    Day #93/365: Seasons They Change and the sweetly strange concoctions of private pressings…
    Day #132/365: Espers, coruscation and the demise of monarchs…

     

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  • Ether Signposts #44/52a: Estelle Hanania’s Glacial Jubile And Further Folkloric Escapees, Strands And Intertwinings

    Estelle Hanania-Glacial Jubile-Shelter Press-European folklore costume-1

    Earlier this year at A Year In The Country I talked about the similarities between the yetis/abominable snowmen from vintage Doctor Who and the folkloric costumes in Charles Fréger’s Wilder Mann book.

    At the time I said:

    …many of the costumes in Wilder Mann could well be escapees (prototypes?) for the 1970s British BBC costume and creature effect department.

    And then I came across the photographs of folkloric costume in Estelle Hanania’s Glacial Jubilé book, which seems to take those similarities and… well, it looks the escapees have arrived…

    Estelle Hanania-Glacial Jubile-Shelter Press-European folklore costume-3Estelle Hanania-Glacial Jubile-Shelter Press-European folklore costume-8Estelle Hanania-Glacial Jubile-Shelter Press-European folklore costume-2

    After advancing across the land, as was often the way with those vintage Doctor Who invaders, these creatures are wandering down the high street and through the city centres…

    Estelle Hanania-Glacial Jubile-Shelter Press-European folklore costume-7 Estelle Hanania's Glacial Jubilé-cave-Shelter Press

    And alongside the photographs of of the folkloric costumes in Estelle Hanania’s Glacial Jubilé, there are intriguing location photographs of caves and strangely shingled and shuttered houses, that make me think of battening down the hatches against the creatures…

    For myself there seem to be two quite separate but interlinked strands of folkloric costume and rituals books:

    Layout 1

    The more documentary like ones that focus on British folklore that can be found in books such as Once A Year by Homer Sykes, Sarah Hannant’s Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids, Henry Bourne’s Arcadia Britannica: A Modern British Folklore Portrait, Merry Brownfield’s Merry England and the archival collection of Benjamin Stone’s work, A Record Of England.

    Charles Freger-Wilder Mann-Once A Year-Yokainoshima-Dusk-Axel Hoedt-Glacial JubiléEstelle Hanania-folk costume and ritual

    Alongside these are the photography books/projects which focus more on European folklore such as the just mentioned Charles Fréger’s Wilder Mann and Yokainoshima – Island Of Monsters, Axel Hoedt’s Once A Year and Dusk and Estelle Hanania’s Glacial Jubilé.

    Although I suppose that both sets of books are essentially photographic portraits of folkloric costume but just in different locations, however the exoticness that is leant to the European focused ones by me not being as familiar with their costumes, rituals and aesthetics seems to separate them for me.

    Also, the European focused books seem in part to be more a reflection of fine art like take on photography, to be partly an expression of the photographer’s own creative intent and stories as well as being documentary in nature

    That seems to be particularly so with Axel Hoedt’s and Estelle Hanania’s work.

    Along which lines, at the Shelter Press website, who published Glacial Jubilé, Estelle Hanania’s work is described as being:

    Unlike the anthropologist or pure documentarist, she doesn’t try neither to understand nor to decode the mystery of those rites, letting them pass trough her camera… A procession of giants in a field, a magician in a parking lot, a wild cave… The shadows of a singular identity are standing in a non-exotic setting yet revealing themselves as an hallucination.

    Estelle Hanania-Glacial Jubile-Shelter Press-European folklore costume-4
    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    Estelle Hanania’s Glacial Jubilé at Shelter Press
    Estelle Hanania’s website

    Local Places Of Interest:
    Day #19/365: Once a Year – Homer Sykes
    Day #66/365: Sarah Hannants wander through the English ritual year
    Day #69/365: Charles Frégers Wilder Mann and rituals away from the shores of albion

    Day #272/365: Axel Hoedt’s folkloric club kid rogues gallery and symbolic expulsions…
    Wanderings #2/52a: Merry Brownfield’s Merry England / The Eccentricity Of English Attire
    Ether Signposts #5/52a: Homer Sykes Once A Year And A Lineage Of Folk Custom Wanderings
    Ether Signposts #32/52a: Charles Frégers Yokainoshima – Island Of Monsters
    Ether Signposts #43/52a: Axel Hoedt’s Dusk And Final Celebrations

     

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  • Artifact Report #44/52a: A Year In The Country at The Golden Apples of the Sun

    Golden Apples Of The Sun-radio show-RTR FM-Claude Mono

    The Golden Apples of the Sun radio show and site is one of my favourite places online to visit… on the shows you will find a vast range of music nestled next to one another and may well hear Brian Eno, Shirley and Dolly Collins, Broadcast, Tangerine Dream, The Focus Group, Keith Seatman, CAN, Leyland Kirby, Link Wray, Air, Devandra Banhart, Andrew Weatherall, Emerald Web, Kraftwerk, DJ Shadow, The Assisant, The KLF, Jon Brooks, The Hardy Tree and Jane Weaver to name but a few.

    Golden Apples Of The Sun Radio Show-Claude Mono-RTRFM-A Year In The Country-Fractures

    The shows are organised and curated by Claude Mono, often with guest hosts and throughout its eclectic music wanderings there are themes or strands that loosely often connect the shows, which are in part explorations of when the flipside or undercurrents of pastoralism meets the spectres and imagined parallel worlds of hauntology.

    Or to quote the show itself:

    “The Golden Apples collective is a small informed and passionate group of music-lovers who each Sunday afternoon (and via re-stream) curate a musical odyssey through psych-tinged realms such as pastoral folk, glitch, lo-fi electronica, hauntology and hypnagogic pop. Through blissful reverie and sun-dappled hallucinogenic soundscapes, find yourself transported to a world beyond time, where both past and future intermingle, and where sound rules supreme.”

    The Golden Apples Of The Sun-radio show-Music From Perth edition and illustration

    The blog/site is also well worth a wander around and I will often find a number of semi-hidden cultural curios that have me planning to squirrel away some time to explore them (recently that has included links to the rare 2006 documentary The Eternal Children directed by David Kleijwegt that focused on what was known as weird or freak folk in the earlier 2000s and fellow companions – work by the likes of Antony & The Johnsons, Coco Rosie and the aforementioned Devandra Banhart).

    10 albums-A Year In The Country-album covers artwork-Burn The Witch-Fractures-The Quietened Village

    Over the years the show has included a fair few tracks from the A Year In The Country releases and on the 10th September 2017 there was a show where “Claude visits A Year In The Country”, which featured something of a gathering of selections from the A Year In The Country releases, including David Colohan, United Bible Studies, The Rowan Amber Mill, Sproatly Smith, A Year In The Country, She Rocola, Circle/Temple and Sproatly Smith.

    The show then wandered off into music by sometimes A Year In The Country contributor Vic Mars, alongside the also aforementioned Broadcast, Emerald Web, Jon Brooks, Jane Weaver and Kraftwerk.

    The Golden Apples Of The Sun-10th Sept 2017-Claude Mono visits A Year In The Country-graph

    I particularly liked the above semi-scientific graph representation of the elements of the show.

    Anyways, I thought about now would be a good time to post a number of links to some of the previous episodes of The Golden Apples of the Sun that featured A Year In The Country releases.

    Originally broadcast on RTR FM, the playlists and streams are archived at the links below:

    Episode 337: Claude visits A Year In The Country: featuring Doineann, Fractures, Burn The Witch/Molly Leigh Of The Mother Town, The Quietened Village, In Every Mind, The Forest / The Wald, Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels & From The Furthest Signals

    Episode 200: featuring Doineann, Burn The Witch/Molly Leigh Of The Mother Town & Torridon Gate (United Bible Studies, She Rocola & Howlround)

    The Golden Apples Of The Sun-radio show-episode 266-Claude Mono copy

    Episode 266: featuring In Every Mind (A Year In The Country):
    “This sound journey is a true audio bell curve commencing with the vinyl crackle of dust from the nettles style original British acid folk, some US Espers-esque psych folk and prairie modern from Meg Baird and Speck Mountain…the show then meanders through the hazy electronica of Noveller, Lutine and Haelos heading towards a single epic extended high through 20 minutes of a most (in)famous Nurse With Wound and Stereolab collaboration. Over the bell curve and new West Coast meets East Coast from Heron Oblivion and finally some crystalline lo-fi timeless moments from the Golden Apples archives of 2010, 2011 and 2012.”

    Episode 295 & Episode 314: both featuring The Forest / The Wald (The Rowan Amber Mill, Magpahi & The Hare And The Moon):
    “Claude musically meanders through private press folk, funk and psych, some spiritual jazz and lo-fi electronic gospel, Balearic beats, baroque pop and electronica.”

    The Golden Apples Of The Sun-radio show-RTF FM-episode 315

    Episode 315: featuring Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels (A Year In The Country):
    “…Claude returns and weeks of field study, archaeological digging, explorations of secret rural Holloways, learning the Rites of Mu and Hypnagogia all come together…its a strange beautiful musical trip….”

    Episode 336: featuring The Quietened Village (Listening Center)

    Summer Solstice-The Golden Apples Of The Sun radio show-episode 274

    Episode 273Episode 274 & Episode 335: all featuring Fractures (Circle/Temple, The Hare And The Moon & Polypores)

    Episode 219: featuring In Every Mind (A Year In The Country)

    The Golden Apples Of The Sun Radio Show-The Marks Upon The Land-A Year In The Country

    Episode 307: featuring Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels, The Dark Chamber EP & Wild Hope Flowers (A Year In The Country, Richard Moult & David Colohan):
    “This edition of the Golden Apples 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…”

    Episode 335: featuring The Quietened Cosmologists (Unit One and Field Lines Cartographer)

    You can also visit The Golden Apples of the Sun at RTR FM’s website here.

    Tip of the hat to all involved. Much appreciated.

     

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  • Ocular Signals #43/52a: Image Q/2a

    Image-Q2a-3rd-year-A-Year-In-The-Country
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Wanderings #43/52a: The Solitude Of Ravens and Images from an Unknowable Story

    Masahisa Fukase-The Solitude Of Ravens-A Year In The Country-2b
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    When I first came across Masahisa Fukase’s photography book The Solitude of Ravens it was out of print and as seems to often be the way with what is sometimes known as fine art photography, earlier editions of the book have become particularly collectible and copies could easily fetch in the hundreds of pounds…

    …and it was a struggle not to think to myself “Hmmm, what day-to-day necessities could I forgo so that I would be able to afford a copy?”.

    Masahisa Fukase-The Solitude Of Ravens-A Year In The Country-b

    There’s an entrancing beauty to the images I’ve seen, with sometimes the birds being shown only as abstract grain filled silhouettes or their clawprints in the snow forming what are at first unidentifiable patterns.

    However, at points they also give me the absolute heebie jeebies and despite the photographs in part capturing elements of what essentially are day-to-day natural world occurrences, there is at times something almost claustrophobically, indefinably unsettling about them.

    Masahisa Fukase-The Solitude Of Ravens-A Year In The Country-4

    While the birds are a recurring motif throughout the book, these are interspersed with enigmatic and unexplained other photographs including an intimate night time scene, silhouettes of people on the coast with their hair flying in the wind, flowers and other items possibly exploding or caught in some kind of extreme turbulence, weather that has become cosmic ambient streaks of light and a man sat on the ground, seemingly drinking alone in what may be a litter strewn park.

    Taken as a whole the book appears to tell some unknown or unknowable story – to almost be an essay, the subject of which is just out of reach.

    I’d say lovely stuff about now but I don’t think that’s quite appropriate here.

    Beguiling, beautiful, disturbing, unsettled, unsettling, lovely stuff might be heading in the right direction.

    Masahisa Fukase-The Solitude Of Ravens-A Year In The Country-3

    As a postscript, since I started to write about the book, it has been reissued by the publisher Mack in what looks like a rather fine slipcase edition, with one of the iconic images from the book silkscreen printed in a subtle, almost hidden manner on the cover.

    Raven-Mack books-Masahisa Fukase-slipcase cover and interior pages-stroke 3

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    View a selection of images from the book here, here, and here. The Mack edition can be visited here.

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #43/52a: Images and the Uneasy Landscape

    Images-1972-Robert Altman-Sussanah York-film-quarterly-winter-1972-1973

    Images is a Robert Altman film from 1974…

    …and it is a strange, unsettling viewing experience.

    Images-1972-Robert Altman-Sussanah York-film-1

    The plot involves a children’s author Cathryn, played by Susannah York, who receives a series of disturbing phone calls at her home in London, which leave her in a state of confused disarray. When her husband comes home they decide to take a vacation at their isolated country cottage in Ireland, hoping that it will ease and calm her.

    Once there Cathryn’s mental state deteriorates, she begins to witness hallucinations or apparitions of people who aren’t there – past lovers, dopplegangers of herself and reality seems to crumble.

    As a viewer it becomes difficult to decide and decipher what is real and what is not, with all such things seamlessly linking into one another and being presented in a largely realist manner rather than possible hallucinations being signposted by overt visual effects.

    Images-1972-Robert Altman-Sussanah York-film-3

    It put me in mind of José Ramón Larraz’s long lost and relatively recently restored 1974 film Symptoms in that it is a study of the fracturing of a mind in an isolated rural setting, amongst a landscape that should contain bucolic ease, escape and rest but that subtly seems to represent and capture a 1970s psychic malaise.

    Images-1972-Robert Altman-Sussanah York-film-4

    In part that may be because despite the the rural setting, both films have an understated murky, subdued colour palette that seems to have been prevalent around the time of their making.

    Images-1972-Robert Altman-Sussanah York-film-7

    Within both films the interior scenes of the country houses are claustrophobic, confined, dark spaces, seemingly worlds unto themselves, decorated in what seems to be a kind of gothic, bohemian, Hammer Horror mansion bric-a-brac style.

    Images-1972-Robert Altman-Sussanah York-film-3 copy Images-1972-Robert Altman-Sussanah York-film-5

    Symptoms is possibly more overtly claustrophobic, with its exterior scenes seeming to consist largely of overhung, sunblocking trees and vegetation, whereas in Images there are views of rolling moors and open hillsides but still within such shots there is little sense of ease and these landscapes and skies seem to contain a foreboding, brooding sense of menace.

    Both films also seem to straddle some kind of line between arthouse, enquiring cinema and exploitational shock and violence; unsettling, possibly a little distasteful in parts but intriguing nonetheless.

    Neither are films for a quiet, relaxing Sunday afternoon. Nor are they films that send you off to a calm nights sleep…

    Images-1972-Robert Altman-Sussanah York-film-6

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

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #1:
    Images at Filmbar70

    Local Broadcasts:
    Week #28/52: Symptoms and gothic bucolia

     

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