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

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

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

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

    From the front of the book:

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

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

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

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

    deep-country-neil-ansell-a-year-in-the-country-2

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

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

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

    deep-country-neil-ansell-a-year-in-the-country-3deep-country-neil-ansell-a-year-in-the-country-5

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

    no-more-unto-the-dance-a-year-in-the-country-revisitation-5-1400

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

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

     

    Revisitation #5a.

    no-more-unto-the-dance-image-3-week-38-a-year-in-the-country-copy

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

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

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

    no-more-unto-the-dance-image-2-week-37-a-year-in-the-country

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

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

    no-more-unto-the-dance-image-4-week-39-a-year-in-the-country

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

     

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

    Transmissions sent, received, transmitted:

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

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

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

    no-more-unto-the-dance-one-off-prints-a-year-in-the-country-2

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

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

    A tip of the hat to all concerned.

    no-more-unto-the-dance-both-editions-all-items-a-year-in-the-country-1

    Artwork/packaging design by AYITC Ocular Signals Department.

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

    More details of No More Unto The Dance here.

     

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

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

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

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

    Monumental Folies is one of those books.

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

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

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

    monumental-folies-stuart-barton-book-1972-a-year-in-the-country-4

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

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

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

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

    monumental-folies-stuart-barton-book-1972-a-year-in-the-country-3

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

    Here’s the book on the subject:

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

    monumental-folies-stuart-barton-book-1972-a-year-in-the-country-2

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

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

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

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

     

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

    british-library-sound-and-moving-image-archive-items
    File under: Artifacts / Preserved For Posterity

    Well, here’s a nice thing…

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

    the-british-library-a-year-in-the-country-3
    (You see that modernist building? Well, if you look really closely you may just be able to see a Night, Dawn etc Edition or two peaking out…)

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

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

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

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

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

    A crate diggers delight indeed.

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

    Blimey.

    the-british-library-a-year-in-the-country-2
    (Rumours of DJ Shadow trying to “accidentally” get locked in here over night have been widely exagerated.)

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

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

    You can search the Sound And Moving Image Catalogue here.

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Phew…

     

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

     

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

    the-quietened-bunker-revisiting-a-year-in-the-country-stroke

    Audiological exploration by Listening Center.

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

    Available at Bandcamp and our Artifacts Shop.

     

    Revisitation #4a.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    transmissions-sent-the-quietened-bunker-a-year-in-the-country-9b-with-stroke

    Transmissions sent, received, transmitted:

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

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

    rue-morgue-popshifter-the-quietened-bunker-review-a-year-in-the-countryshindig-magazine-issue-59-quietened-bunker-review-page-91-strokethe-quietened-bunker-was-ist-das-review-a-year-in-the-country
    From Rue Morgue, Shindig issue 59 and handwritten scribing by Was Ist Das?

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

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

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

    A tip of the hat to all concerned.

     

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

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  • Week #49/52: The Wanderings Of Veloelectroindustrial

    veloelectroindustrial-edgelands-wasteland-photography-a-year-in-the-country-1
    File Under: Trails And Influences / Year 2 Wanderings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    veloelectroindustrial-edgelands-wasteland-photography-harworth-machine-a-year-in-the-country-2

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

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

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

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

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

    Visit Veloelectroindustrial here.

     

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  • The Forest / The Wald – A Gathering Of Transmissions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    the-forest-the-wald-both-editions-a-year-in-the-country

    And the album itself? Well…

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

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

    Peruse it around these parts here.

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

    the-forest-the-wald-released-one-off-prints-3-a-year-in-the-country

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

     

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

    fractures-49-of-52-the-rowan-amber-mill-a-year-in-the-country-1400

    Audiological exploration by The Rowan Amber Mill.

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

    Available at Bandcamp and our Artifacts Shop.

     

    Revisitation #3a.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

     

    Fractures-Night-components
    Transmissions sent, received, transmitted:

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

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

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

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

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

    A tip of the hat once more to all involved.

    Further details of Fractures can be found here.

     

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  • Week #48/52: Death In Vegas, Trans-Love Energies and tumbling through the wormhole

    death-in-vegas-trans-love-energies-a-year-in-the-country-1
    File Under: Trails And Influences / Year 2 Wanderings

    The phrase hipster is generally used as a form of jokey or mild(ish) derision but the cover to Death In Vegas Trans-Love Energies album caused me to wander if it always is an actual jibe.

    The cover made me think of a sort of otherly pastoral hipster-ism but in a good way. Kind of like how say Joanna Newsome, Devendara Banhart and Coco Rosie were the hipster kids of what became loosely know as freak folk (or the “popular kids” to quote Seasons They Change author Jeanette Leech). In that instance a sort of dressy, playful, artifice and experimentation that could maybe sometimes be rather sweet to the taste but that depends on your mood, inclination and indeed bent or disposition for such things.

    death-in-vegas-trans-love-energies-a-year-in-the-country-2

    I’m not quite sure what’s going on in the album’s accompanying photography – although I’m sure whatever it is doesn’t bring glad tidings for nearby lands and villages – but it put me in mind of The Inner Scar (or La cicatrice intérieure), the 1972 film directed by Philippe Garrel, written by and starring both him and Nico (previously of The Velvet Underground).

    Which brings me back to my hipster point and is it always an actual jibe. Just as that earlier mentioned gathering could be considered the hipster kids of freak folk, The Velvet Underground and some of the associated Andy Warhol / Factory characters and personalities could also possibly be considered hipsters of their time.

    death-in-vegas-trans-love-energies-a-year-in-the-country-4

    Hmmm.

    Anyways, Trans-Love Energies itself is a rather fine album that seems to play with a number of rock’n’roll / experimental music myths, iconography and archetypes; in parts it is electronic dance music but by way of Throbbing Gristle’s Hot On The Heels Of Love (indeed one track is called Coum, I assume in reference to Coum Transmissions from which TG sprung); song like, non-song acid house that has tumbled through the wormhole… Your Loft My Acid (Fearless Transhouse Mix Long) is Donna Summer via the other side of that wormhole and transmissions.

    death-in-vegas-trans-love-energies-a-year-in-the-country-3

    And talking of tumbling…

    A particular highlight for my good self is Witch Dance, which has a woozy, narcotic, almost narcoleptic feel that quite frankly makes my hair stand on end as each time I listen to it and causes me to stare and tumble into its all enveloping hold.

    Fine work. Tip of the hat to Mr Fearless and all concerned.

    Visit Death In Vegas’ home in the ether here. Tumble into Witch Dance here.

     

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  • Audiological Transmission #48/52: The Quietened Village – Bunk Beds / Revisitation #2a

    quietend-village-track-48-of-52-a-year-in-the-country-1400

    Audiological exploration by Cosmic Neighbourhood from the album The Quietened Village.

    Revisitation #2a:

    The Quietened Village: transmissions sent, received, transmitted;

    quietend-village-track-48-of-52-a-year-in-the-country-bc“The music conjures roofless walls holding spirits not populations, skeletal spires pointing accusative fingers skywards, submerged shadows reflecting in water, crumbled remains wreathing a cliff’s base…” Folk Words

    “This evocative album offers a score for crumbled communities, abandoned villages and sunken spires, honoring history with quiet grace befitting its title.” Richard Allen, A Closer Listen 

    “… impressively coherent. Its themes are tackled with sadness, hope and respect for the past, and will almost certainly supply prescient pointers for the future direction of nature, society and art. If the new epoch sounds like this, we may not be condemned after all.” Thomas Blake, Folk Radio UK

    “The album evokes a beautifully atmospheric pastoral reverie, and a ghostly sense of loss…” Jim Jupp, Ghost Box Records

    The Quietened Village-Duskfall Edition-front-A Year In The CountryThe Quietened Village-Duskfall Edition-opened 2-A Year In The Country

    Other audiological explorations from the album are by Howlround, Time Attendant, The Straw Bear Band, Polypores, Rowan Amber Mill, The Soulless Party, A Year In The Country, Sproatly Smith, David Colohan and Richard Moult.

    The Quietened Village-prerelease note-A Year In The Country

    Available at our Artifacts Shop and our Bandcamp Ether Victrola.

    Further details can be found around these parts here.

    Imber village-The Quietened Village-A Year In The Country-2

    The Quietened Village-A Year In The Country-Hugh Lucas-Harry Gill-Dick Dawson-Hilda-Edmund Perry-Lost Villages

    Associated wanderings can be found at The Quietened Village’s Library Of Loss:
    Volume #1#2#3#4

     

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  • Week #47/52: Shirley Collins voyages anew…

    shirley-collins-death-and-the-lady-nick-abrahams-a-year-in-the-country-1
    File Under: Trails And Influences / Year 2 wanderings

    Well, I recently came across a post by Nick Abrahams where he talked about Shirley Collins, her work and the video he has made for Death And The Lady, one of the songs from her new album.

    When I watched the video, what it made me think of was Johnny Cash’s Hurt video – it seemed to deal with similar subjects and themes, of dignity, a particular view of an iconic figure and mortality.

    I was wary of talking about mortality and that connection to Johnny Cash but Shirley Collins herself says of the video that it “…captures the sinister quality of the song, the inevitability of death coming to us all…”.

    In a way, as well, there are more connections between Mr Cash and Ms Collins; the subject matter of both their songs often delve into the darker recesses of things and country music seems almost like folk music from over the water, in the way that it seems to look at and spring from the deeply rooted tales of a land and nation, that at points may well exist separately from the more  civilised and tamed parts of modern life…

    shirley-collins-death-and-the-lady-nick-abrahams-a-year-in-the-country-5

     

    Apparently the horseskull creatures in the video are inspired by…

    “…the Kentish tradition of the Hooden Horse, where a horse skull would traditionally be used in performing an ancient folk custom about death and resurrection…”

    Although, when I first watched it I hadn’t yet read that and what they seemed almost to have tumbled from was an unsettling children’s television program from back when that you can’t quite put your finger on (the phrase hauntological would seem appropriate here).

    shirley-collins-death-and-the-lady-nick-abrahams-a-year-in-the-country-2

    The video also features corn dollies from the Home Rites project by Cathy Ward and Eric Wright, which seem to be beautiful and entrancing, while also being unnerving in some manner that is hard to fully define.

    Peruse their home in the ether here and around these parts accompanied by faded foundlings here.

    shirley-collins-death-and-the-lady-nick-abrahams-a-year-in-the-country-3

    View the video, it’s hooden horses and Nick Abrahams accompanying notes here.

    And finally, you may know by the time of reading this but Shirley Collins first newly released record for 38 years is to arrive soon. Peruse that / Ms Collins’ home in the ether here.

     

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  • Audiological Transmission #47/52: Airwaves – A Gathering / Revisitation #1a

    airwaves-revisitation-1-a-year-in-the-country

    Revisitation #1a.

    Something of a gathering from the 12 audiological explorations on the album Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels…

    airwaves-revisitation-1-a-year-in-the-country-bc“…radio waves permeate the fog-cloaked air & I am captivated… interference, plain piano song, shimmering electronics, remote listening & shadowy melodies make for an elegant & sinister experience…” Include Me Out

     

    Airwaves-A Year In The Country-7 editions-2

    Notes and Scribings on Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels;
    A study of the tales told/required to be told by the sentinels/senders that stand atop the land; a gathering of scattered signals plucked from the ether, cryptograms that wander amongst the airwaves, fading, tired and garbled messages which have journeyed from nearby or who knows where…

    The Airwaves set of audiological constructs are an exploration that begins with and via silent but ever chattering broadcast towers; their transmissions and sometimes secrets – the songs they weave from their own particular language and emanations.

    Airwaves-Songs From The Sirens-Midnight Archaic Encasements and Dawn Light Editions with tapes-A Year In The Country-

    These stilled, quietly brooding sentinels/senders are part of a network of threads, both corporeal and those less tangible, carrying on their shoulders the weight and responsibilities of passing forward those innumerable stories; of joy, day-to-day life, institutional watchfulness, our entertainments or in conclusion harbingers of storms sent from our own hands.

    Airwaves harvests, weaves with and recasts the transmissions found amongst the gossamer strands of that network, intertwining these with and through the medium of cathodic reverberations/mechanisms while also taking ministrations from the wellsprings and flows of an otherly pastoralism, travelling through and amongst the brambled flipside of an Arcadian idyll and the subcultural undergrowth of the wald.

    Airwaves-Songs From The Sentinels-Night and Dawn Editions-A Year In The Country-700

    The resulting work, though drawn in part from the beauty and bounty of the landscape wherein these sentinels stand, seems to often summon unbidden some sense of loss, of the ghosts and fractures of a landscape and psyche that still contains the echoes and fragments of cold conflicts and end of days once planned for by national behemoths and those who stood beside them.

     

    Airwaves-A Year In The Country-7 editions-1“…a heart-rending and epic symphony of strings, chilly drones and wintry beauty. And then there is silence, the transmission has ended; yet this album leaves behind a sense of wonder and mood that lasts for long afterwards…” Grey Malkin, The Active Listener

     

    Further details and encasements of Airwaves: Songs From The Sentinels can be perused here, ferrous reel entanglements here and Ether Envoy-ing here.

     

     

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  • Week #46/52: Midnight Movies, (re)findings, crumbling textures and a certain geometric otherlyness…

    midnight-movies-band-a-year-in-the-country-3File Under: Trails And Influences / Year 2 wanderings

    I was recently sorting out and re-ordering the piles of less corporeal, zeros and ones MP3 stores of music that had begun to gather digital dust around these parts over the years, when I accidentally came across Midnight Movies.

    Something of a (re)find indeed.

    The single I came across was Persimmon Tree from 2004 (b/w Just To Play).

    I have no idea how I found their work back when, although thinking of the year it was before quite such internet/streaming etc ubiquity of music and that it was either via the promotional items and discs that used to be sent to me when I was “spinning the platters that matter” once upon a time or possibly via the racks of such things that you could buy for pocket money prices in second hand shops.

    (CD singles and their promos. That takes me back. It’s a fair while since I saw a newly released CD single, let alone in a mainstream, high street shop as they once were or a row of used/sold-on promos that back when I seemed to spend a fair amount of time flipping through).

    How to describe Midnight Movies? Well, although having their own character, if you should appreciate the sort of avant-pop of the likes of Broadcast or Death And Vanilla, you may find much to enjoy here.

    Melodic, accessibly experimental/exploratory and in some ways seeming to refer back to a previous hazily defined time or era, without being retro or a retreading (psych might be a good word to use around this point).

    A touch of Nico maybe, that icy aloofness or distance without being cold or unfeeling.

    midnight-movies-band-a-year-in-the-country-7b

    When I (re)found Persimmon Tree, I was rather taken by the single and when I looked them up in the ether I discovered that the artwork was by a certain House@Intro (Mr Julian House of Ghost Box Records). I may have seen that back when, it may have been why I bought it (if I did indeed buy it) but memory fails me…

    The associated design work is very House-like, it is strongly stamped with his auteur-ist collaged design technique, which to quote myself “…often seems to make use of geometric shapes and patterns to invoke a particular kind of otherlyness, to allow a momentary stepping elsewhere…”.

    Mr House also created the artwork for the self-titled Midnight Movies album of around the same time (and looking at it probably the single Mirage), which also feature similar use of such elements/design.

    midnight-movies-patient-eye-a-year-in-the-country-5

    The video to later single Patient Eye/Golden Hair seems to indolently channel a mixture of Hammer Horror-esque gothic Victoriana, the gloss and glamour of the back then style press and say the polished follk horror/preternatural style in elements of the television series The Living And The Dead… filtered via the crumbling, textured, shadowed, faded grandeur imagery of Deborah Turbeville…

    That crumbling, textured, Deborah Turbeville-esque style can also be found in some of the photographs of the band that appeared in the actual style press back when.

    midnight-movies-band-a-year-in-the-country-6b

    Anyways, Midnight Movies and Just To Play – a rather pleasant (re)stumbling upon.

    Peruse the encasements of Midnight Movie here. Flickerings here. Further traces amongst the social ether here.

    Previous intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    A wander through crumbling textures / Stepping through into… Berberian Sound Studio / Films within films… / The worlds created by an otherly geometry / Broadcast; constellators and artifacts / The Duke Of Burgundy and Mesmerisation…

     

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  • Audiological Transmission #46/52: Fantastic Mass – The Forest / The Wald

    the-forest-the-wald-weekly-track-05-time-attendant-a-year-in-the-country-1400

    Audiological exploration by Time Attendant from the album The Forest / The Wald.

    the-forest-the-wald-weekly-track-05-time-attendant-a-year-in-the-country-bcTransmissions sent, received, transmitted:

    Wald considerations can be found at John Coulthart’s feuilleton:
    “…a response to British folk traditions that acknowledges the history without seeming beholden to it…”

    And amongst the ether / frequency modulation airwaves courtesy of Mat Handley and You, The Night & The Music.

     

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  • The Forest / The Wald – Night and Dawn Editions released

    Dawn Edition £12.00. Night Edition £25.00.
    the-forest-the-wald-released-dawn-and-night-editions-a-year-in-the-country-b

    Audiological Transmissions Artifact #6

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

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

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

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

     

    Night Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £25.00.
    Hand-finished box-set contains: album on all black CDr, 12 page string bound booklet, 4 x badge pack, 4 x round stickers, landscape format sticker and individual one-off print.
    the-forest-the-wald-night-edition-front-a-year-in-the-countrythe-forest-the-wald-night-edition-opened-a-year-in-the-countrythe-forest-the-wald-night-edition-all-black-cdr-a-year-in-the-countrythe-forest-the-wald-night-edition-all-items-a-year-in-the-countrythe-forest-the-wald-dawn-edition-booklet-opened-a-year-in-the-country-2
    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) 4 x vinyl style round stickers.
    7) 1 x vinyl style landscape format sticker.
    8) One-off print on textured fine art cotton rag paper, hand numbered on the reverse.

    the-forest-the-wald-night-edition-badge-pack-and-stickers-a-year-in-the-country

    the-forest-the-wald-released-one-off-prints-4b-a-year-in-the-country
    (A selection of the Night Edition one-off prints.)

     

    Dawn Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £12.00.
    Hand-finished white/black CDr album in textured recycled fold out sleeve with inserts and badge.
    the-forest-the-wald-dawn-edition-front-a-year-in-the-countrythe-forest-the-wald-dawn-edition-opened-a-year-in-the-country

    the-forest-the-wald-dawn-edition-white-and-black-cdr-a-year-in-the-countrythe-forest-the-wald-dawn-edition-back-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.

     

    the-forest-the-wald-night-edition-landscape-sticker-artwork-a-year-in-the-country
    Notes and Scribings:

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

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

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

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

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

    the-forest-the-wald-released-one-off-prints-3-a-year-in-the-country
    (A selection of the Night Edition one-off prints.)

     

    the-forest-the-wald-released-dawn-editions-multiple-a-year-in-the-country
    Further Audiological Exploration Details:

    1) The Abney Ritual – Bare Bones
    2) Hawthorn Heart – Magpahi
    3) Deep Undergrowth – Polypores
    4) Fantastic Mass – Time Attendant
    5) Waldeinsamkeit – David Colohan
    6) The Hand Of Auctumnus – Richard Moult
    7) Tomo’s Tale – Sproatly Smith
    8) A Whisper In The Woods – The Hare And The Moon ft Alaska
    9) Ocarina Procession – The Rowan Amber Mill
    10) Trees Grew All Around Her – The Séance with Lutine
    11) Equinox – Cosmic Neighbourhood
    12) Where Once We Wandered Free – A Year In The Country

    Wald considerations by Rob Young.

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

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

    the-forest-the-wald-released-all-items-a-year-in-the-country-c

     

     

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

     

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

    quatermass-nigel-kneale-time-out-september-1979-a-year-in-the-country-4File Under: Trails And Influences / Year 2 wanderings

    Well, these were something of a treat to find.

    I think I came across them when I was wandering around the ether perusing details about the 1963 TV play The Road that Nigel Kneale wrote and the tapes of which were wiped…

    Now, as I may well have said around these parts before, once upon a time there weren’t necessarily all that many accompanying pieces of memorabilia and ephemera for films and TV. Which is in contrast to today where I expect you could well have a full time job keeping up with the output of such things for just one or two popular series or films.

    With that in mind, coming across anything related to the final 1979 Quatermass series feels like a very fine find as there’s something of a paucity of related items or printed artifacts from back when.

    Now, to my mind the above portrait / cover of Time Out should hang in national galleries. I find it beautiful and entrancing, ancient and modern – it captures the tired and world weary sense of Professor Quatermass in these later years paticularly well, with the subtle scan lines quietly adding to the whole thing just so.

    (If you should not know by the way Time Out is a weekly London listings magazine.)

    quatermass-tv-times-nigel-kneale-a-year-in-the-country-1 quatermass-tv-times-october-31-nigel-kneale-a-year-in-the-country-2

    And then we get to the original schedule listings in the TV Times. I know that dystopic or threatening fiction / fantasy / science fiction can be quite a common thing among more overtly light entertainment but thinking of watching Quatermass after LingaLonging with Max Bygraves or Name-ing That Tune with Tom O’Connor seems just odd.

    I suspect that’s in part because Mr Kneale’s work is more layered than much of similar more purely entertainment fare and also it’s hard to cast back and remove the subsequent weight of cultural, cult and hauntological associations  of/with Quatermass and other tales written by him and to think of his work as mainstream, prime time broadcasts.

    (As an aside and another “if you should not know”, the TV Times is a weekly magazine that lists the broadcast schedule for that week – back then there were only three television channels in the UK, so I suspect it was a little less packed with information than today. Those just three channels, there being less entertainment media in general and the prime time position of Quatermass means that I suspect a sizeable percentage of the population tuned in, running into the many millions.)

    quatermass-tv-times-nigel-kneale-a-year-in-the-country-3b

    And finally, another TV Times clipping, where Mr Kneale talks about both this series and previous Quatermass outings.

    It’s interesting to hear from the horses mouth, as it were, the ways in which the various Quatermasses were connected to and intended to reflect their times, with the 1979 series being an extreme, possibly pessimistic, take and extrapolation on the then worries of a Britain which had been experiencing an extended period of social / political / economic malaise, strife and conflict.

    Which makes the Party Political Broadcasts just before Quatermass seem quite apposite and almost too perfectly placed; I can but imagine what the more, shall we say starboard leaning, broadcast was like and / or its themes; “It’s all gone to pot, vote for us or you’re all doomed!”.

    I came across the clippings courtesy of Mr Peter Fuller here and here, the Time Out cover via Mr Kim Newman here. Thanks and a tip of the hat to both.

    Quatermass has (relatively) recently had a brush and scrub up. Visit that here.

    Previous huff-ity puff-ity ringstone round wanderings around these parts can be visited here.

     

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  • Audiological Transmission #45/​​​​​52​​: Trees Grew All Around Her – The Forest / The Wald

    the-forest-the-wald-weekly-track-04-the-seance-with-lutine-a-year-in-the-country-1400

    Audiological exploration by The Séance with Lutine from the album The Forest / The Wald.

    the-forest-the-wald-weekly-track-04-the-seance-with-lutine-a-year-in-the-country-bcTrees Grew All Around Her can also be found amongst the wanderings, channellings and summonings of The Séance’s phantom seaside radio show. Join them around the cloth covered table amongst the ether and airwaves here.

     

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  • Week #44/52: The Touchables and a pop-art pastoral playland

    the-touchables-1968-film-a-year-in-the-country-2
    File Under: Trails And Influences / Year 2 wanderings

    The Touchables is a 1968 film where a group of stylish sixties gals who live in a huge see-through plastic bubble in the middle of the countryside kidnap a rock star as “a temporary solution to the leisure problem”. Mixed in with that are the stealing of a Michael Caine dummy, gangsters, wrestlers with rather refined aristocratic tastes… essentially, at heart it’s a caper romp but…

    Here’s something I wrote just after rewatching it:

    “It’s just insane. A real ‘How did they get the money to do that?’ film.”

    Which I think is not a bad observation.

    And how did they get the money to do that? Well, I expect in part it was maybe because it was made during a peak of interest in all things youth and Swinging London, at a point when money was quite possibly being thrown at anything that might make inroads into the pockets and pounds of related younger folk… being directed by a gent who photographed one of The Beatles album covers may well also of helped.

    the-touchables-1968-film-a-year-in-the-country

    …you could draw some kind of line from this to the film The Final Program, which concerns itself with a sort of dandy, avant-garde secret agent (based on the Michael Moorcock book of the same name / his Jerry Cornelius character), which although it was released in 1973 seems to belong more to late 1960s decadent high-fashion and pop-art…

    …or indeed to the science-fiction-psychedelia-in-the-country-experimentalism-created-with-a-reasonable-amount-of money that can be found in Zardoz.

    It also put me in mind of Queens Of Evil – where a group of stylish late 1960s women kidnap a pretty boy to live in their almost ginger-bread house in the forest – though that film has a decidedly darker psyche-folk-giallo air to it.

    And it wasn’t a surprise to see that it was based on a script by Donald Cammell, as it could be seen as a sort of proto, more pop-art, playful take on Performance with its themes of popstars living in enclosed bubble worlds, intertwined with the more gangster / East End side of life from back when…

    the-touchables-film-1968-a-year-in-the-country-3

    …although it was a slight surprise to see that the screenplay had been penned by mainstream sitcom The Likely Lads co-creator Ian La Frenais.

    I like the way that there’s not even an attempt to explain how their bubble or lifestyle are afforded nor why anybody says anything about their quite frankly rather unusual giant blow-up see-through home that is sat in the middle of the countryside (complete with jukebox, canopied merry-go-round etc).

    If ever a film seemed custom made for say a BFI Flipside Bluray brush and scrub up it would be this one – in part I think that because at the moment the version/s wandering around have a colour palette where the hues seem quite muted and so I’m curious to see whether it was actually intended to be more a pop-art dazzle of colour, which would maybe suit the film more.

    the-touchables-1968-film-a-year-in-the-country-4

    Previous intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #36/365: Psychedelic Folkloristic and niche corners of the electronic ether (which is more overtly folkloric than The Touchables pop-art pastoral playland in terms of takes on the late 1960s and related fashionable folk but they both interconnect).

    Day #177/365: Zardoz… in this secret room from the past, I seek the future…

    Peruse the trailer here (accompanied by the film’s rather fine theme tune – a fine piece of psych-pop by Nirvana. No, not that Nirvana. The rather more Shindig! friendly Nirvana).

     

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  • Audiological Transmission #44​/​​​​​52​​: A Whisper In The Woods – The Forest / The Wald

    the-forest-the-wald-weekly-track-03-the-hare-and-the-moon-a-year-in-the-country-1400

    Audiological exploration by The Hare And The Moon ft Alaska from the album The Forest / The Wald.

    the-forest-the-wald-weekly-track-03-the-hare-and-the-moon-a-year-in-the-country-bc“…sylvan siren calls that tremble through tangles of branches…”

     

     

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  • The Forest / The Wald – Preorder

    Dawn Edition £12.00. Night Edition £25.00.
    the-forest-the-wald-both-editions-a-year-in-the-country
    Audiological Transmissions Artifact #6

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

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

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

    Available to order at our Artifacts Shop, our Bandcamp Ether Victrola and Norman Records.
    Pre-order. Release date / begins shipping 14th November 2016. 

     

    Night Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £25.00.
    Hand-finished box-set contains: album on all black CDr, 12 page string bound booklet, 4 x badge pack, 4 x round stickers, landscape format sticker and individual one-off print.
    the-forest-the-wald-night-edition-front-a-year-in-the-countrythe-forest-the-wald-night-edition-opened-a-year-in-the-countrythe-forest-the-wald-night-edition-all-items-a-year-in-the-countrythe-forest-the-wald-dawn-edition-booklet-opened-a-year-in-the-country-2
    the-forest-the-wald-night-edition-all-black-cdr-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) 4 x vinyl style round stickers.
    7) 1 x vinyl style landscape format sticker.
    8) One-off print on textured fine art cotton rag paper, hand numbered on the reverse.

    the-forest-the-wald-one-off-prints-a-year-in-the-country-1
    A selection of the Night Edition one-off prints.

     

    Dawn Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £12.00.
    Hand-finished white/black CDr album in textured recycled fold out sleeve with inserts and badge.
    the-forest-the-wald-dawn-edition-front-a-year-in-the-countrythe-forest-the-wald-dawn-edition-opened-a-year-in-the-country the-forest-the-wald-dawn-edition-back-a-year-in-the-countrythe-forest-the-wald-dawn-edition-white-and-black-cdr-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.

     

    the-forest-the-wald-night-edition-landscape-sticker-artwork-a-year-in-the-country

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

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

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

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

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

    the-forest-the-wald-one-off-prints-a-year-in-the-country-2
    A selection of the Night Edition one-off prints.

     

    Further Audiological Exploration Details:
    1) The Abney Ritual – Bare Bones
    2) Hawthorn Heart – Magpahi
    3) Deep Undergrowth – Polypores
    4) Fantastic Mass – Time Attendant
    5) Waldeinsamkeit – David Colohan
    6) The Hand Of Auctumnus – Richard Moult
    7) Tomo’s Tale – Sproatly Smith
    8) A Whisper In The Woods – The Hare And The Moon ft Alaska
    9) Ocarina Procession – The Rowan Amber Mill
    10) Trees Grew All Around Her – The Séance with Lutine
    11) Equinox – Cosmic Neighbourhood
    12) Where Once We Wandered Free – A Year In The Country

    Wald considerations by Rob Young.

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

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

    Available to order at our Artifacts Shop, our Bandcamp Ether Victrola and Norman Records.
    Pre-order. Release date / begins shipping 14th November 2016. 

     

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