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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Brrr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    GeminiTomorrow’s Harvest: encasement.

     

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  • Ether Signposts #13/52a: Buckminster Fuller Inc.: Architecture in the Age of Radio

    Buckminster Fuller Inc-Architecture in the Age of Radio-2

    For a while now I’ve been intrigued by this book on Buckminster Fuller.

    If you should not know he was an architect, author, designer and inventor who developed and popularised geodesic domes, along with being credited for the popularisation of terms including Spaceship Earth and synergistic.

    There have been a fair few books on and by him but it is this one in particular by Mark Wigley that I am drawn to, I expect because of it’s title and the themes it covers in relation to Buckminster Fuller’s work.

    “Bucky Inc. offers a deep exploration of Richard Buckminster Fuller’s work and thought to shed new light on the questions raised by our increasingly electronic world. It shows that Fuller’s entire career was a multi-dimensional reflection on the architecture of radio. He always insisted that the real site of architecture is the electromagnetic spectrum. His buildings were delicate mobile instruments for accessing the invisible universe of overlapping signals. Every detail was understood as a way of tuning into hidden waves. Architecture was built in, with, for and as radio. Bucky Inc. rethinks the legacy of one of the key protagonists of the twentieth-century. It draws extensively on Fuller’s archive to follow his radical thinking from toilets to telepathy, plastic to prosthetics, and data to deep-space. It shows how the critical arguments and material techniques of arguably the single most exposed designer of the last century were overlooked at the time but have become urgently relevant today.”

    Buckminster Fuller Inc-Architecture in the Age of Radio-1

    Although based in the real world, his work seems to cross some kind of divide between science fiction and science fact and to prefigure various science fiction and/or semi-futuristic films and their sets, in particular the likes of Phase IV and Beyond The Black Rainbow.

    Another one for the ever growing “To look at and investigate further” pile.

    (File under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    At Ti Pi Tin

    (A shop/website which specialises in selling often short run or independently published photography/art publications, something of a favourite place of mine to wander to and browse.)

     

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

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

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

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

    The Restless Field-cover art-A Year In The CountryAudiological contents created by Field Lines Cartographer, Vic Mars, Bare Bones, Assembled Minds, Grey Frequency, Endurance, Listening Center, Pulselovers, Sproatly Smith, Polypores, Depatterning, Time Attendant, A Year In The Country and David Colohan.

    Further details on The Restless Field can be found here.

     

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

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

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #12/52a: Oberon’s Nottanum Town

    Oberon A Midsummers Night Dream-psych acid folk 1971

    This is #1 in a series revisiting of some of the acid/psych, underground and/or privately pressed folk from the late 1960s to around the mid 1970s that I have repeatedly returned to during A Year In The Country and often that were also early touchstones and inspirations.

    Nottanum Town is from the album A Midsummer Night’s Dream which wasoriginally released in 1971 as a privately pressed edition of just 99 copies.

    Their version of the traditional song Nottanum Town opens the album and I would probably file it alongside other privately pressed psych folk from that period such as Stone Angel and Midwinter, in the way that it features transportive female vocals and conjures and captures a very particular otherly spirit of Albion atmosphere that seemed to prevail around then.

    Oberon A Midsummers Night Dream-psych acid folk 1971-2

    In 2014 it finally had a legitimate repressing by the label Guerrsen, which lead to these reviews/comments:

    “At one point the UK’s most valuable folk album, this has a dark, claustrophobic sound, heightened by eerie, acid-induced lyrics. Probably the most notable track is “Minas Tirith”, a sinister extended psych-folk excursion which suddenly explodes into a bizarre and metallic (in the literal sense) drum solo. Also notable are “The Hunt”, a strange piece of progressive-folk and a doomy opening version of “Nottamun Town”. (Richard Falk, Galactic Ramble)

    “From the murkiest crypts of the progressive folk underground comes this extraordinary LP, with a sound and atmosphere like nothing else. At least one of the few copies pressed should be preserved in the British Museum” (Patrick Lundborg, Galactic Ramble).

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

    AVT Guide listing: Oberon A Midsummer’s Night Dream

     

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

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

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

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

    So, Katalina Varga…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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  • Ether Signposts #12/52a: OM-1 Cassette Synthesizer

    OM-1 cassette synthesizer-2

    The OM-1 cassette synthesiser is part of a current trend for the romance attached to analogue instruments and the desiring, possibly even fetishising of related small run, independently made hardware based electronic/synth instruments.

    The FACT website described it as being “Instant Boards Of Canada”…

    OM-1 cassette synthesizer-3

    “The OM-1 Cassette Synthesizer is an analog musical instrument built around the concept that when a continuous tone/note is recorded to tape, its pitch will change as the tape’s playback speed is increased or decreased.”

    OM-1 cassette synthesizer-1

    Not sure if I would actually use it but I want one etc etc.

    (File under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and destinations: Onde Magnetique

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #11/52a: Broadcast and The Focus Group – #2: I See, So I See So

    Broadcast and The Focus Group-2-I See, So I See So-4

    I recently wrote about Witch Cults, one of the videos which were created by Julian House to accompany the album Broadcast And The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age.

    There was another video created at the same time for the song I See, So I See So.

    This one is more obviously set in a recognisable real, realist or natural world than Witch Cults, which is more inherently other or occult and in which the normal or actual world and its colours very rarely make an appearance.

    However, I See, So I See So is still a view through the looking glass.

    What it puts me in mind of is the intros to the likes of The Tomorrow People and possibly The Owl Service or maybe some flipside Camberwick Green-esque animation series intro. It seems to shadow, layer and reflect such things but without being a replication.

    At one point a crudely rendered orb flies across the screen, from room to outside a building, out into the country and almost to a child’s hand, which calls to mind an effect from a 1960s/1970s Children’s Film Foundation series of some flying creature, spirit or visiting alien.

    Broadcast and The Focus Group-2-I See So I See So-1

    Elsewhere in the video box is filled with objects, shapes, a staring disembodied eye, which also seemed to connect back to a previous era’s children’s television, viewing it as through an avant-garde, experimental film co-op filter.

    At various points the video includes variations on Julian House’s signature mandalas and op-art graphics, rapidly changing images and rapidly moving psychedelic lights and patterns.

    However, as with the television series intros, the mention of psychedelic is not meant to infer a replication of a previous era’s cultural forms.

    Broadcast and The Focus Group-2-I See, So I See So-2

    If this is psychedelia then it is more an evolution, a using of such things as a lens through which to view, refract and explore:

    “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.” (Trish Keenan in an interview with Broadcast by Joseph Stannard, published in Wire magazine issue 308.)

    Although I See, So I See So and Witch Cults are two of the more conventional songs on the album, they still contain elements of the collaging and jump cuts that characterise the album as a whole.

    The video for I See, So I See So in particular seems to be a visual reflection of that and the associated collage techniques.

    Broadcast and The Focus Group-2-I See, So I See So-3

    This, along with Trish Keenan’s comments about challenging conventions of form and temper puts me in mind of two quotes regarding such things that I have included in A Year In The Country once before:

    “House is a fan of the inadvertent avant-gardness of ‘bad’ or ‘clunky’ design, as seen in Polish movie posters of library music sleeves. He intentionally achieves similar effects through “bad looping, looped samples that change their start and end points. With visual collage there’s a way in which images that are cut out ‘badly’, maybe with bits of their background or surrounding image, make it difficult to discern where on part of the collage begins and another ends. This trompe l’oeil effect (a visual illusion) brings you deeper into the collage, confuses your ability to discern images as surface”…” (From Simon Reynolds article Haunted Audio, published in Wire magazine issue 273.)

    Broadcast and The Focus Group-2-I See, So I See So-5

    “…assembled using a sampling method which makes a virtue of its imperfection. House (Julian of Ghostbox Records/The Focus Group) evidently delights in the inexact fit, the abrupt cut, and for the most part, the rhythms on Witch Cults are irregular, giddily tripping over themselves and each other. In drawing attention to the awkwardness of each edit, House does not demystify the art of sampling so much as emphasise its position at the intersection of magic and science…” (Written by Joseph Stannard as part of the above interview in Wire magazine issue 308.)

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

    AVT Guide listing: Broadcast and The Focus Group – #2: I See, So I See So

     

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

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

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

    …but…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

     

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  • Ether Signposts #11/52a: A Small But Dedicated Growing Library Of Albionic Undercurrents & Folk Horror

    Folk and folk horror books-Seasons They Change-Electric Eden-Witches Hats-Field Studies-Adam Scovell-b

    When I first started researching what would become A Year In The Country there were only two contemporary books that I knew of which explored the undercurrents and flipside of folk and related/interconnected culture.

    They were Rob Young’s Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music and Jeanette Leech’s Seasons They Change: The Story of Acid and Psychedelic Folk, published in 2011 and 2010 respectively.

    Seasons They Change-acid psych folk-Jeanette Leech-Electric Eden-Rob Young

    “…a sweeping panorama of Albion’s soundscape… (Electric Eden) investigates how the idea of folk has been handed down and transformed by successive generations – song collectors, composers, folk-rockers, psychedelic voyagers, free festival-goers, experimental pop stars and electronic innovators.”

    “In the late 60s and early 70s the inherent weirdness of folk met switched-on psychedelic rock and gave birth to new, strange forms of acoustic-based avant garde music… Seasons They Change tells the story of the birth, death and resurrection of acid and psych folk. It explores the careers of the original wave of artists and their contemporary equivalents, finding connections between both periods, and uncovering a previously hidden narrative of musical adventure.”

    Witches Hats & Painted Chariots bookWhile there still aren’t a huge number of such books, there is a small, growing library of such things and so I thought it would be a good thing to bring together some of them.

    So, alongside the two above books I would also probably include as a companion work to Seasons They Change:

    Witches Hats & Painted Chariots: The Incredible String Band and the 5,000 Layers of Psychedelic Folk Music by Jon ‘Mojo’ Mills and Andy Morten. This was published in conjunction with Shindig magazine, of which the authors are the editors and it also features the likes of Dr Strangely Strange, Comus, Heron, COB and Forest.

    More specifically along the lines of folk horror there have been two books published in the last couple of years:Folk Horror Revival Field Studies-Adam Scovell-b

    Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange by Adam Scovell, the descriptive text for which begins with:

    “What exactly is Folk Horror? Is it the writing of M.R. James and Alan Garner? Is it the television scripts of Nigel Kneale, John Bowen and David Rudkin, the films of David Gladwell and The Blood On Satan s Claw? Or could it be the paranoid Public Information Films of the 1970s; the Season Of The Witch ; The Advisory Circle reminding us to Mind how you go?”

    Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies which is an anthology collection of essays that explores various areas of folk horror related work by a number of different writers including Kim Newman, Robin Hardy, Thomas Ligotti, Philip Pullman, Gary Lachman, John Coulthart, Grey Malkin (The Hare And The Moon), Sharron Kraus, Andy Paciorek and Chris Lambert.

    Not yet quite enough to fill out a library shelf but possibly enough to warrant its own section and shelf marker.

    (File under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Destinations and directions:
    Electric Eden
    Seasons They Change
    Witches Hats & Painted Chariots
    Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange
    Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies

     

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

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

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

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

    Visit The Golden Apples Of The Sun here.

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

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

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

    Crooked Button Radio Show

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

    Tip of the hat to all concerned.

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #10/52a: Beyond The Black Rainbow Soundtrack Clips

    Beyond The Black Rainbow-still-1b

    Further and ongoing considerations of Panos Cosmatos 2010 film Beyond The Black Rainbow…

    A brief précis of the plot:

    The film centres around the Aboria Institute, a new age research facility founded in the 1960s by Dr Arboria and dedicated to finding a reconciliation between science and spirituality, allowing humans to move into a new age of perpetual happiness.

    In the 1980s his work was taken over by his protégé Dr Barry Nyle who despite outward appearances of charm and normality is actually mentally unstable and has thoroughly corrupted the Institute and its aims.

    Beyond The Black Rainbow-still-3b

    He spends his time trying to understand the preternatural psychic abilities of a young woman under his care, nominally as part of a therapeutic process but in fact he has imprisoned her in a state of heavy sedation in a hidden quasi-futuristic facility underneath the institute.

    The soundtrack to the film is an analog synthesizer score by Jeremy Schmidt (also of Sinoia Caves and Black Mountain), which I have written about before and revisit/expand on below:

    If the film could be a rediscovered and refracted Cronenberg project from a parallel world, the music could well be what my minds tends to imagine a Tangerine Dream soundtrack from that world would sound like.

    I Am The Center-Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990-Light In The Attic-A Year In The Country

    The music that accompanies the film puts me in mind of the further reaches and undercurrents of what has been loosely labelled new age music, including some of the work that can be found on the compilation I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America – 1950-1990 (released in 2013 by Light In The Attic) such as Wilburn Burchette’s Witch’s Will and its creation of an atmosphere that is restful, draws you in and yet is also portentous and unsettling.

    Beyond The Black Rainbow-still-2b copy

    Connected to this, one of the themes of the film seems to be the corrupting of new age principles (as referred to earlier when mentioning the activities of Dr Barry Nyle at the Arboria Institute); it presents a world where there has been a curdling or perverting of philosophies of empowerment and enlightenment from when the Institute was founded in the 1960s.

    More so than the official soundtrack release, it is the soundtrack clips from the film that can be found online that I am particularly drawn to, their inclusion of elements of the dialogue and effects etc adding to and connecting with the atmosphere and world the film creates.

    With their accompanying video clips they also act as an overview and distilling of that world and the aesthetics of the film.

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

    AVT Guide listing:
    Beyond The Black Rainbow soundtrack clips

     

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

    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

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

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

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

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

    Interest piqued. Count me in…

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

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

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

    For fans of all things hauntologically Radiophonic maybe?

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

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

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

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

    And then wandering away from the final Quatermass series…

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

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

    Say no more.

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

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

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

    Modern day technology hey? Innit marvelous (!)…

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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  • Ether Signposts #10/52a: From the Forests, Fields and Furrows: A Folk Horor Introduction by Andy Paciorek / Where To Begin by Adam Scovell

    Folk Horror Revival website logo

    I recently wrote about Folk Horror Revival and the growing in interest in folk horror.

    If you should be curious for a definition of this loose cultural grouping then I would recommend Andy Paciorek’s article From the Forests, Fields and Furrows: An Introduction, which can be found at the Folk Horror Revival site.

    In it he talks about where the phrase is thought to have first been used/popularised and gives a broad overview of folk horror.

    However, when I say definition, one overarching exact description is a difficult thing to achieve, as he says in his article:

    “…one may as well attempt to build a box the exact shape of mist; for like the mist, Folk Horror is atmospheric and sinuous. It can creep from and into different territories yet leave no universal defining mark of its exact form.”

    A Fiend In The Furrows-A Year In The Country

    A particular point of interest in the article is when he talks about Folk Horror book author Adam Scovell’s describing a chain of elements that comprise a folk horror film, which he spoke about at a paper written for the Fiend In The Furrorws conference on folk horror which was held at Queen’s University Belfast in September 2014.

    This chain of elements includes: Landscape, Isolation, Skewed Moral Beliefs, Happening/Summoning.

    Andy Paciorek goes on to put forward his thoughts in relation to these, which I briefly excerpt from below:

    “Landscape: Some consider that the setting should be rural for the film to be ‘Folk’, but I think a broader view may be considered. The tradition of the horror may indeed have rustic roots and pastoral locations may provide the setting for many of the stronger examples, but people carry their lore and fears with them on their travels and sometimes into a built-up environment.”

    The Wicker Man-Hessian Bag Edition-A Year In The Country 2

    “Isolation and Skewed Moral Beliefs: In these instances, ‘Isolation’ does not refer to being entirely alone but may refer to characters such as Sergeant Howie in The Wicker Man finding themselves alone within a group whose moral beliefs and practices are utterly alien to their own.”

    “Happening / Summoning: The Happening/Summoning that falls close to the conclusion of such films may involve a supernatural element such as an invocation of a demon, or it may be an entirely earthly (though no less horrific) event such as an act of violence or a ritual sacrifice.”

    The article is well worth a read as an overview of folk horror, one that is both wide reaching and inclusive, while also giving its “box the exact shape of mist” an overall shape, form and parameters.

    The article includes reference to a considerable number of films and television dramas. However if the considerable number of these induces a sense of “Where do I start?” then accompanying the article with a perusal of Adam Scovell’s “Where to begin with folk horror” that he wrote for the BFI’s website may prove just the ticket as it is a concise collection and consideration of some of the key touchstones in such work.

    (File under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Destinations and directions:
    From the Forests, Fields and Furrows: A Folk Horor Introduction by Andy Paciorek
    Where to begin with folk horror by Adam Scovell

     

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  • Artifact Report #10a/52a: The Marks Upon The Land/Wild Hope Flowers/The Dark Chamber EP book, CD & cassette released

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Audiological exploration details:

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

    Preview clips here.

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

    Preview clips from the EP here.

    the-marks-upon-the-land-book-david-colohan-richard-moult-airwaves-songs-from-the-sentinels-cassette-a-year-in-the-country-psdAirwaves-Songs From The Sentinels-cassette-The Marks Upon The Land-A Year In The Country

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

    Preview the album  here.

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

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

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

     

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  • Ocular Signals #9/52a: Image I/1a

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

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #9/52a: Beyond The Black Rainbow and Phase IV

    Beyond The Black Rainbow-still-1

    A number of years after first watching it and writing about it at A Year In The Country, I still find that the 2010 film Beyond The Black Rainbow completely intrigues me and draws me into the world it creates.

    Panos Cosmatos, its director, has spoken about how Phase IV was one of the major influences on his film, saying that:

    “There is a sub-genre of what I call “trance film,” and I really wanted this film to fall into the trance or dream genre without it being specifically a dream. I wanted it to feel like a lucid dream state. The whole time you are probing forward, deeper and deeper into an unknown world.”

    Beyond The Black Rainbow-A Year In The Country 3

    He includes Phase IV within this sub-genre of trance film, with which Beyond The Black Rainbow shares a deliberate, still or slow almost hypnotic pace.

    It also uses a rich, sensuous colour scheme and accompanying geometric design, structures and architecture in the creation of its hidden world, which links with the underground insect sequences and the mirrored research facility and reflective structures that the ants build in Phase IV.

    Phase-IV-Saul-Bellow-A-Year-In-The-Country-2b

    The lines of connection and inspiration between Phase IV and Beyond The Black Rainbow are not a direct transference and replication, rather, as also said by the director it is in an “abstracted, vaguely recognizable way”.

    Phase-IV-Saul-Bellow-A-Year-In-The-Country-6

    This sense of non-replication can be linked to the representations of the 1980s when the film is set, which do not create a detail perfect simulacra but rather a reflection of that time which has been somewhat aptly evocatively described as “a Reagan era fever dream”.

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

    AVT Guide listing:
    Beyond The Black Rainbow trailer
    Phase IV trailer

     

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