• Wanderings #31/52a: The Shadow Of Heaven – Further Marks And Patterns Upon The Land

    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    And in a further consideration of natural forms of calligraphy, patterns and marks upon the land…

    Shadow Of Heaven-Scotland From Above-book-Patricia Macdonald-Dominic Cooper-Aurum-A Year In The Country-1 Shadow Of Heaven-Scotland From Above-book-Patricia Macdonald-Dominic Cooper-Aurum-A Year In The Country-7 Shadow Of Heaven-Scotland From Above-book-Patricia Macdonald-Dominic Cooper-Aurum-A Year In The Country-6 Shadow Of Heaven-Scotland From Above-book-Patricia Macdonald-Dominic Cooper-Aurum-A Year In The Country-5 Shadow Of Heaven-Scotland From Above-book-Patricia Macdonald-Dominic Cooper-Aurum-A Year In The Country-4 Shadow Of Heaven-Scotland From Above-book-Patricia Macdonald-Dominic Cooper-Aurum-A Year In The Country-3 Shadow Of Heaven-Scotland From Above-book-Patricia Macdonald-Dominic Cooper-Aurum-A Year In The Country-2

    I think one of the things that draws me to images/books like this, is that sometimes the patterns they create seem nearer to something genuinely abstract than a document of real/natural life and the land…

     

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

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    The images here are from the 1989 book Shadow Of Heaven by Patricia Macdonald, published by Aurum. Peruse it here.

     

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  • Artifact Report #31/52a: From The Furthest Signals Reviews And Broadcasts

    There have been a number of new broadcasts and reviews of the From The Furthest Signals album…

    Electronic Sound magazine-issue 31-From The Furthest Signals review-A Year In The Country

    First up is a review in issue 31 of Electronic Sound magazine by Push: “The ghosts are out of the machines. Lock your windows tonight.”

    You can visit Electronic Sound and issue 31 here (there is also a rather generous introductory subscription offer for the magazine which can be found here).

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

    Keith Seatman’s track Curious Noises and Distant Voices from the album was played on the Gated Canal Community Radio show which is presented and compiled by the record labels Front & Follow and The Geography Trip.

    The show is hosted by Reform Radio and you can find Keith Seatman’s track in some rather fine company (including a mix by IX Tab which wanders amongst the Hidden Reverse sides of music) at Gated Canal’s Tumblr site and at Mixcloud.

    The Late Junction-BBC Radio 3-logo

    Max Reinhardt played Grey Frequency’s Ident (IV) from the album on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction show. Ident (IV) plays around 1:09 and the album is also mentioned around 1:19.

    BBC-logo-5 in a row

    Visit the show here, where you can find Ident (IV) also in some fine company (including Anne Briggs, whose work is much appreciated around these parts).

    Sunrise Ocean Bender-radio show-July 2017

    Sunrise Ocean Bender played Polypores’ Signals Caught Off The Coast on their radio show, alongside the likes of Helios Creed, UFO and various wanderings amongst underground and space rock. Originally broadcast on WRIR FM the show featuring the track can be found at Sunrise Ocean Bender’s site here and also at Mixcloud.

    Bliss-Aquamarine-A-Year-In-The-Country-6 in a row

    Kim Harten reviewed the album at her site Bliss Aquamarine, where her indepth consideration of the different tracks can be found alongside an earlier review of The Restless Field. Visit those here.

    Thanks to all involved for their ongoing support: Push, Neil Mason and all at Electronic Sound, Justin and Rob of Gated Canal Community Radio, Max Reinhardt and all at Late Junction, Kevin McFadin of Sunrise Ocean Bender and Kim Harten of Bliss Aquamarine.

    Not forgetting those whose music is included on the album: Circle/Temple, David Colohan, Sharron Kraus, Time Attendant, Depatterning, Sproatly Smith, Field Lines Cartographer, Grey Frequency, Keith Seatman, Polypores, The Haren And The Moon, Pulselovers and Listening Center.

    Tip of the hat to all.

    From The Furthest Signals-album-A Year In The Country-Gated Canal-Music Wont Save You-Goldmine-We Are Cult

    More information on From The Furthest Signals can be found around these parts here and the album can be previewed at Soundcloud

    It can be ordered at our Artifacts Shop, Bandcamp and Norman Records.

    Other reviews and broadcasts etc of the album by Music Won’t Save You, John Coulthart, Violet Apple, Dave Thompson at Goldmine/Spin Cycle, We Are Cult, Whisperinandhollerin, Flatland Frequencies and More Than Human, alongside earlier broadcasts by Gated Canal Community Radio and Sunrise Ocean Bender can be visited around these parts here.

     

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  • Ocular Signals #30/52a: Image D/2a

    Image-D2a-3rd-year-A-Year In The Country
    File under: A Year In The Country Ocular Explorations

     

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  • Wanderings #30/52a: Grenzfälle / Falling Barriers / Edgeland Ghosts

    Grenzfalle-Falling Barriers-Kerber Photoart-photography book-A Year In The Country-4
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    I suppose if you take the phrase edgelands as in part referring to transitional areas, often where industry/man made areas meet the countryside, then the book Grenzfalle / Falling Barriers could be seen as a document of a type of edgelands…

    …but, well this is an edgelands with a particular brutal, brutalist architecture.

    Grenzfalle-Falling Barriers-Kerber Photoart-photography book-A Year In The Country-2

    The book was published in 2009 and is a collection of photographs taken by six different photographers of the barriers that divided East and West Germany, just as the country began to be reunited.

    (The photographers in question are Gerhard Zwickert, Eberhard Kloppel, Peter Leske, Heinz Dargelis, Werner Schulze, Bernd-Horst Sefzik.)

    Grenzfalle-Falling Barriers-Kerber Photoart-photography book-A Year In The Country-3

    While a lot of imagery of such things has focused on the Berlin wall, this is more a document of the barriers in the landscape, next to frontier villages and so on.

    There’s a curious harshness or possibly even (static) violence to these structures, their purpose and the philosophy that underlined them.

    Grenzfalle-Falling Barriers-Kerber Photoart-photography book-A Year In The Country-5

    It is a fascinating, enthralling, moving book and I’m rather glad I found it.

    Although the images were taken in 1990, they seem to harken back to an earlier, nearer mid century time somehow and reminded me of Paul Virilio’s Bunker Archaeology photographs…

    Grenzfalle-Falling Barriers-Kerber Photoart-photography book-A Year In The Country-1

    I could easily be posting most of the images within it from now to whenever but I thought the best way to go about it was possibly to select just one book spread by each of the six photographers (not an easy task)… so here goes…

    Grenzfalle-Falling Barriers-Kerber Photoart-photography book-A Year In The Country-6

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #160/365: Edgelands Report Documents; Cases #1a (return), #2a-5a.

    Day #229/365: A Bear’s Ghosts…

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

    Week #34/52: Restricted Areas – Further Wanderings Amongst A Bear’s Ghosts

    Week #9/52: Christopher Herwig’s Soviet Bus Stops, echoes of reaching for the cosmos, folkloric breakfast adornment and other artfully pragmatic curio collectings, encasings and bindings…

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    Peruse the book here and at the publishers Kerber Verlag.

     

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  • Ether Signposts #30/52a: Explorations From The Last Train

    Thorpe Marsh power plant-1

    When I was watching the 1999 television series The Last Train, some of the derelict sites that were used as locations seemed almost surreal and unexpectedly abandoned; it was genuinely odd to see a hi-de-hi like traditional British holiday camp in a state of abandonment and collapse, while the cooling towers that are seen in one episode seem just too monumental in scale and purpose to have been discarded.

    Thorpe Marsh power plant-2

    Thorpe Marsh power plant-3When I was looking up online about the series, I came across various examples of what is sometimes known as urban exploration (exploring and photographing derelict places and structures) that featured the locations from The Last Train.

    I was particularly taken by these of Thorpe Marsh power plant and its cooling towers; they seemed to capture a grand or monumental nature of the structures and put me in mind of photographs of Soviet era abandoned places and the way that they seem to be nearer to monuments to a lost time and age rather than merely derelict often utilitarian structures.

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    Report – Thorpe Marsh Power Plant, Doncaster – February 2011

    Local places of interest:
    Day #229/365: A Bear’s Ghosts…
    Day #346/365: Audiological Reflections and Pathways #1; a library of loss
    Week #9/52: Christopher Herwig’s Soviet Bus Stops, echoes of reaching for the cosmos, folkloric breakfast adornment and other artfully pragmatic curio collectings, encasings and bindings…
    Week #49/52: The Wanderings Of Veloelectroindustrial

     

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  • Artifact Report #30/52a: A Year In The Country – Undercurrents – Preorder

    Dawn Edition £11.95. Night Edition £24.95.
    Undercurrents-Night and Dawn edition-A Year In The Country

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

    Undercurrents was partly inspired by living in the countryside for the first time since I was young, where because of the more exposed nature of rural life I found myself in closer contact with, more overtly affected by and able to directly observe the elements and nature than via life in the city.

    This coincided with an interest in and exploration of an otherly take on pastoralism and creating the A Year In The Country project; of coming to know the land as a place of beauty, exploration and escape that you may well drift off into but where there is also a sometimes unsettled undercurrent and layering of history and culture.

    I found myself drawn to areas of culture that draw from the landscape, the patterns beneath the plough, the pylons and amongst the edgelands and where they meet with the lost progressive futures, spectral histories and parallel worlds of what has come to be known as hauntology.

    Undercurrents is an audio exploration and interweaving of these themes – a wandering amongst nature, electronic soundscapes, field recordings, the flow of water through and across the land and the flipside of bucolic dreams.

    Preview clips from the album at our Soundcloud Mark II Ether Victrola

     

    Undercurrent Dawn Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £11.95.
    Hand-finished white/black CDr album in textured recycled fold out sleeve with 3 x inserts and badge.
    Undercurrents-Dawn edition-front cover-A Year In The CountryUndercurrents-Dawn edition-back

    Undercurrents-Dawn edition-opened with inserts-A Year In The Country
    Undercurrents-Dawn-Edition-white-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                          Bottom of CD.

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

     

    Undercurents Night Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £24.95.
    Hand-finished box-set contains: album on all black CDr, 12 page string bound booklet, 4 x badge pack, 1 x large badge, 2 x stickers, 1 x print.
    Undercurrents-Night Edition-all items-A Year In The CountryUndercurrents-Night Edition-box-A Year In The Country Undercurrents-Night Edition-opend-A Year In The CountryUndercurrents-Night Edition-opened text-A Year In The Country Undercurrents-Night Edition-opened text 2-A Year In The Country
    Undercurrents-Night-Edition-all-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                            Bottom of CD.

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

    Undercurrents-A Year In The Country-landscape cover art variation

    (File Under: Encasements / Artifacts – Artifact #4a)

     

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  • Audio Visual Transmission Guide #30/52a: The Last Train And Fractured Timelines

    The Last Train-1999 tv series-Matthew Graham-1

    The Last Train is a 1999 television series written by Matthew Graham, who was co-creator and one of the writers for the series Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes, both of which dealt with a form of time travel or dislocation.

    The Last Train also deals with similar themes in a way but rather here it is through the passengers of a train carriage who are accidentally placed in suspended animation and awake a number of years after a world wide cataclysm to what seems to be a deserted and derelict world.

    The Last Train-1999 tv series-Matthew Graham-2

    As far as I know it is not available commercially but can be viewed online in a degraded quality version.

    The muted grey-green colours of the version you can watch, along with the often murky, subterranean settings makes it seem almost as though you could be watching a semi-lost 1970s British television series rather than one from the turn of the millennium and it seems to be a broadcast from some curiously multi-layered, fractured point in time.

    The Last Train-1999 tv series-Matthew Graham-4

    One of the most intriguing aspects of the series is that it is something of an urban explorer’s delight as it features quite a number of abandoned spaces; derelict and disused offices, railway stations, factories, cooling towers, refineries and a Pontin’s hi-de-hi-esque holiday camp.

    The Last Train-1999 tv series-Matthew Graham-3

    Those aspects, combined with the quality of the video put me in mind of both the societal collapse of the final series of Quatermass and the “bad wires” destruction of technology in The Changes and compounded the sense of it being a semi-lost 1970s series…

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

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide: The Last Train

     

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  • Ocular Signals #29/52a: Image C/2a

    Image-C2a-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 #29/52a: Front & Follow, Lutine Variations, Fellow Travellers & Offering A Firm Handshake To Sonic Reverie

    Front And Follow-record label-website logo

    I have something of a softspot for the record label Front & Follow.

    I probably first came across their releases via Lutine’s White Flowers album in 2014, which they released.

    Lutine-Sallow-Tree-Front-and-Follow-2b

    Lutine were an early(ish) discovery in the first year of A Year In The Country and theirs is beautiful, transportative work.

    I was wandering how to describe their music and I thought what I wrote back when might well still be appropriate:

    “If you should take sprinklings, seedings and pathways to and from the following then you may arrive at some sense of this body of work; the songbird travellers of Finders Keepers, in particular Paper Dollhouse and Magpahi, the coruscating journeys of Espers, possibly the purity of that teller/re-teller of old stories Anne Briggs, voices such as Audrey Copard from past revivals of folkloric music that seem to have stepped aside and into spaces of their own, the swooping ancient tellings of Dead Can Dance and Lisa Gerrard, the encompassing tranquil dramaticisms of the Cocteau Twins, interrelated Songs From The Siren and their journeying alongside swathes of minimalist piano from Mr Harold Budd… White Flowers puts me in mind of a peak point of the label 4AD, when it was a home for fragile, textured beauty and explorations, such journeys being enhanced, accompanied and often encased by the work of Vaughan Oliver/v23.”

    I may well add a sort of reimagined medievalism to the above…

    I have just rediscovered their 8-track collection of reinterpretations of tracks from White Flowers by the likes of Laura Cannell, Sarah Angliss & Stephen Hiscock, Michael Tanner, Kemper Norton and Saint Etienne’s Pete Wiggs amongst others.

    Listening to that collection is like being allowed a brief portal back to that peak point of 4AD records. Lovely stuff.

    The Outer Church compilation-Front & Follow

    If you should like to take a wander through the further reaches and experimental areas of music then a visit to The Outer Church compilation released by Front & Follow may well also be an hour or two well spent.

    The Outer Church was established by Joseph Stannard (now of Wire magazine) and the compilation features a selection of those who performed at The Outer Church, including Grumbling Fur, Pye Corner Audio, Black Mountain, Ekoplekz, Hong Kong In The 60s, Paper Dollhouse etc.

    The Blow cassettes-Front & Follow-IX Tab-Hoofus-Time Attendant-Howlround-Sophie Cooper-Julian Bradley

    Front & Follow’s The Blow series of cassettes, where two musicians are each given a side of the tape have also caught my eye/ear and seem to be a good space and impetus for musical explorations.

    They include work by sometimes fellow AYITC travellers Time Attendant, Howlround and Sophie Cooper, alongside Julian Bradley, IX Tab and Hoofus:

    “‘The Blow’ project brings two artists together to formulate a collaborative release of their own making. Each artist has a side of audio (30-45 mins in length) to do whatever they want with. The two artists are encouraged to work together on the release, but the length and depth of this collaboration is completely up to them and agreed on a release-by-release basis – there are no set parameters, no fancy rules, no memorandum of understanding, no initiation ceremonies.”

    Beneath Swooping Talons-Laura Cannell-Front & Follow

    Musically and/or visually Front & Follow’s releases seem to at times explore a parallel take on pastoral concerns, whether via the reimagined folk of Lutine, the evocative minimal chamber music and wild animal calls of Laura Cannel’s Beneath Swooping Talons or Kemper Norton’s ecologically concerned tales meets lost Cornish kingdom album Toll.

    Pye Corner Audio-The Black Mist EP-Front And Follow-2

    While a release such as Pye Corner Audio’s Black Mist EP may exist musically in another universe’s electronic dance club and wander amongst related fractured equipment but the cover evokes a darkly minimal mixture of natural beauty and possibly previous era’s places of worship.

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

    Along with record label The Geography Trip, Front & Follow also broadcast the Gated Canal Community Radio show, where such otherly pastoral interests interweave with the spectral interests of what has come to be known as hauntology.

    Alongside the actual shows, listening to “Welcome to the Gated Canal Community Radio Show” is a playful sixty seconds well spent.

    And talking of playful aspects…

    Despite the serious and/or experimental nature of some of the Front & Follow’s releases, there is an underlying humour to the label which is nice to see: the introductory banner to their website has the byline “offering a firm handshake to sonic reverie since 2007”, while they describe themselves as “a record label based in Manchester, UK.  We do what we can.” and that “no initiation ceremonies” from the description of the Blow releases makes me chuckle.

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

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide:
    Front & Follow at Bandcamp
    Welcome to the Gated Canal Community Radio Show
    Gated Canal Community Radio
    See & Hear at Front & Follow’s main site

     

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  • Wanderings #29/52a: Broadcast; constellators and artifacts (revisiting)

    Broadcast-booklet included with initial vinyl represses-Julian House-Warp-A Year In The Country
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    A smattering of Broadcast related items/avant-pop artifacts and cultural constellations…

    Broadcast-booklet included with initial vinyl represses-Julian House-Warp-A Year In The Country-2

    1) The booklet included with the 2015 represses of Broadcast’s albums.

    Along with Mother Is The Milky Way, this seems to be one of the very rarest of Broadcast artifacts.

    I know that it was included with initial copies of the represses but I don’t know how many copies were printed/included and apart from the initial press mentioning about the booklet, I’ve never seen another copy, photographs of it or a mention of it being included with an album that is for sale/resale since the initial period of the re-releases.

    It’s a lovely thing which feels very precious; only 8 pages long, approximately 10 inches in dimensions but feels encyclopedic, gathering together 6 different covers designed by Julian House over the years for Broadcast’s albums and two cover images of Trish Keenan in avant-pop high priestess garb.

    Seek and you may find (or not)…

    Broadcast-NME 200-A Year In The Country2) Transmission: Possible; interview in NME, 3rd June 2000.

    It’s been a fair old while since I’ve picked up an old copy of the weekly music press such as the NME and it was a genuinely odd experience, it feels like such a time capsule from another era.

    I guess this issue from just after the millenium was published just before the internet really started to kick in, just before the magazines power, reach and influence started to wane.

    One of the things that struck me on reading the magazine was just how important it was once upon a time with regards to “making or breaking” bands etc, in the sense that there weren’t all that many outlets back then for indie/independent/leftfield/younger persons/student-esque music.

    And there, in the middle of it all, something of a cuckoo in the nest, are Broadcast.

    With hindsight they seem somewhat out of place but I guess for a brief(ish) moment they were marketed in a similar way to other young people/student-esque etc bands.

    Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders soundtrack-BMusic-Finders Keepers-Trish Keenan-Broadcast-A Year In The Country

    3) Trish Keenan’s sleeve notes for the Finders Keepers/B-Music release of the soundtrack to Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders.

    This seems to be a pretty rare item nowadays, which is a shame as it’s a fine gathering of work and the sleeve notes are well worth a read and peruse.

    They include a consideration of the cinematic background of the film by Peter Hames, author of the book The Czechoslovak New Wave and Andy Votel’s (who is one of the people behind Finders Keepers) notes which are a personal history snapshot of cultural discovery and subsequent cultural explorations and searching.

    Trish Keenan’s notes are relatively brief but they are very evocative, particularly in capturing a sense of the point when a piece of work does seem to literally open up new pathways within your mind and very firmly take root within them.

    In a way, it is a reflection of a form of (non-lysergic) psychedelic awakenings.

     

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #33/365: Broadcast and the Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age and the recalibrations of past cathode ray stories…

    Day #178/365: The cuckoo in the nest: sitting down with a cup of cha, a slice of toast, Broadcast, Emerald Web, Ghost Box Records and other fellow Shindig travellers…

    Day #251/365: Broadcast; constellators and artifacts

    Week #43/52: Broadcast – Mother Is The Milky Way and gently milling around avant-garde, non-populist pop

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide #28/52a: Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders – Unreleased Variations Away From Bricks And Mortar

     

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  • Artifact Report #29/52a: A Year In The Country Undercurrents – Preview Clips Online

    Undercurrents-A Year In The Country-landscape cover art variation

    From The Furthest Signals album preview clips are online for listening to.

    Visit them at our Soundcloud Mark II Ether Victrola.

    A Year In The Country-Undercurrents album coverPre-order the album 25th July 2017. Release date 8th August 2017.

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

    Further details on the album can be found here.

     

    (File Under: Encasements / Artifacts – Artifact #4a)

     

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  • Ether Signposts #29/52a: Judy Dyble And The Lost (And Thankfully Found) Women Of Folk

    Judy Dyble-The Lost Women Of Folk-Mojo magazine-Andrew Male

    From the late 1960s to earlier 1970s there were a number of female musicians working around folk music who for a fair few years were lost to view…

    They include Vashti Bunyan, Linda Perhacs, Shelagh Macdonald and Judy Dyble.

    The last three of those were written about by Andrew Male and Mike Barnes in a feature called The Lost Women Of Folk in Mojo magazine back in November 2013, which is a fine exploration of the history of and interviews with those performers.

    Shelagh McDonald and Judy Dyble’s work I have a longstanding softspot for, probably in part because both of them appear on the Pete Wiggs compiled Gather In The Mushrooms compilation (subtitled the British acid folk underground 1968-1974) that was one of the early inspirations for A Year In The Country.

    Morning Way-Trader Horne-Judy Dyble-A Year In The Country-2

    On that album Judy Dyble performs a song called Morning Way with the band Trader Horne, of which in the early days of A Year In The Country I said:

    I think it was Forest’s Graveyard or maybe Trader Horne’s Morning Way that first grabbed my attention and made me realise that something other than my preconceptions about folk music was going on here. The first lines on Morning Way are “Dreaming strands of nightmare are sticking to my feet…”, followed close after by a somewhat angelic female voice in counterpart and well, I thought “This is odd, I like this…””

    I find Judy Dyble’s voice captivating, entrancing and very evocative and on her earlier recordings it seems to capture and summon the atmosphere and spirit of the time and transport me back then…

    The Accidental Musican-Judy Dyble-Dave Thompson-book Judy Dyble-Anthology-Earth records

    I thought it was a shame that for a fair few years she had been slightly lost to view in the history of folk and in terms of her work with Fairport Convention (with whom she was the original female singer), so its good to see that over the years she is no longer so much one of the “lost women of folk”.

    As the years have progressed she has stepped back into the public eye; beginning in 1981 she has guested at a number of live performances with Fairport Convention and in 2003 began recording again and has since put out a number of albums and singles.

    More recently has seen an anthology of her work released by Earth records and also the release of a biography that she co-wrote with prolific author (and sometime A Year In The Country reviewer at Goldmine Magazine/Spin Cycle) Dave Thompson, both of which are well worth an exploration in terms of looking back at growing up in the 1960s, a highpoint of folk explorations in the later 1960s/early 1970s and what one of those who was connected to such things went on to do.

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    Judy Dyble and Dave Thompson’s An Accidental Musician
    Judy Dyble’s Anthology
    An Accidental Musician at Judy Dyble’s website
    The Lost Women Of Folk issue of Mojo magazine
    Dave Thompson’s Spin Cycle at Goldmine Magazine

    Local places of interest:
    Day #3/365: Gather In The Mushrooms: something of a starting point via an accidental stumbling into the British acid folk undeground
    Day #267/365: Morning Way. Trader Horne

     

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  • Ocular Signals #28/52a: Image B/2a

    Image-B2a-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 #28/52a: Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders – Unreleased Variations Away From Bricks And Mortar

    Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders seven inch-Finders Keepers Records-Record Store Day 2017-2Well, for folk who don’t happen to live near a bricks and mortar record shop, it was good to see Finders Keepers Records 2017 Record Store Day release Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders 7″ release available to buy/stream at Bandcamp and their website.

    The EP is released ten years since they originally released the soundtrack and is said to contain:

    “…further unreleased variations, vocal tracks and newly resurrected themes from the original master tapes of composer Luboš Fišer.”

    Here at A Year In The Country we have something of a softspot for the fantasias of Czech New Wave films such as Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders, Daisies and Malá Morská Víla (which influenced Jane Weaver’s The Fallen By Watch Bird album, that was an early point of reference and inspiration for AYITC).

    The soundtrack to Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders is a particular favourite and each time I hear the Main Theme I seem to transported to some other place, it conjures a sense of its own world, of belonging to some parallel place and time.

    Along which lines…

    Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders seven inch-Finders Keepers Records-Record Store Day 2017The soundtrack has been mentioned as an influence on both Broadcast and Espers and it could almost be a tumbling backwards and forwards through time to their work, both of which could be said to create and weave their own worlds.

    Listening to these new tracks, I also thought of Cat’s Eyes’ soundtrack to The Duke Of Burgundy and its soundtracking of its own particular imagined European pastoral hinterland…

    So, without further ado…

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide:
    Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders 7″

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

     

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  • Wanderings #28/52a: The Modernist / Sacred Suburbs / Concrete Belief Systems

    The Modernist-Faith Issue 19-Sacred Suburbs-A Year In The Country
    File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

    There are a fair few book, website etc appreciations of brutalist / modernist architecture out and about in the world but I thought that The Modernist / The Modernist Society was a nice take on such things.

    It has a certain classy stylishness to it that appeals.

    The Modernist-Issue 19 Faith-A Year In The Country

    The printing is all subtle, soft halftone printing rather than high resolution photographic reproduction, which I have wandered when reading it whether that was a deliberate choice rather than something decided by financial restrictions, as it seems to be in line with some kind of spirit of say information booklets from back in the day.

    The Modernist-The Faith Issue 19-A Year In The Country

    Sacred Suburbs-The Modernist-A Year In The CountryI particularly like the packaging of their publication Sacred Suburbs, which is described as:

    “A celebration of postwar places of worship built around Greater Manchester between 1945 and 1975.”

    The cover design brings to mind some kind of sense of occult (used in the referring to hidden knowledge manner), almost England’s Hidden Reverse-esque symbolism.

    Issue 19, which is themed Faith is something of a companion piece to Sacred Suburbs and together they provide an interesting viewpoint on brutalist/modernist architecture which is more often associated with utilitarian corporate/municipal buildings or vast swathe like housing blocks than something as abstract as matters of the soul and belief.

     

    Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Week #33/52: Bunker Archives #4; Paul Virilio’s Bunker Archaeology and accidental utilitarian art

    Week #49/52: The Wanderings Of Veloelectroindustrial

    Wanderings #7/365a: Brutalist Breakfasts

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    The Modernist.

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  • Artifact Report #28/52a: A Year In The Country – Undercurrents – Coming Soon

    A Year In The Country-Undercurrents album cover

    Pre-order 25th July 2017. Release date 8th August 2017.

    Undercurrents was partly inspired by living in the countryside for the first time since I was young, where because of the more exposed nature of rural life I found myself in closer contact with, more overtly affected by and able to directly observe the elements and nature than via life in the city.

    This coincided with an interest in and exploration of an otherly take on pastoralism and creating the A Year In The Country project; of coming to know the land as a place of beauty, exploration and escape that you may well drift off into but where there is also a sometimes unsettled undercurrent and layering of history and culture.

    I found myself drawn to areas of culture that draw from the landscape, the patterns beneath the plough, the pylons and amongst the edgelands and where they meet with the lost progressive futures, spectral histories and parallel worlds of what has come to be known as hauntology.

    Undercurrents is an audio exploration and interweaving of these themes – a wandering amongst nature, electronic soundscapes, field recordings, the flow of water through and across the land and the flipside of bucolic dreams.

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

    (File Under: Encasements / Artifacts – Artifact #4a)

     

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  • Ether Signposts #28/52a: Zardoz, Space 1999 And Psychedelic Strands In 1970s Science Fiction

    Space 1999-still 2

    I remember being completely fascinated by the television series Space 1999 when it was originally broadcast, as I expect were many children of a certain age at the time.

    Aside from the spaceships, ray guns and monsters that were much of what caught my eye back when, watching it today I was quite surprised in that it’s a curiously grown-up series in terms of its themes, dealing with mortality, parallel worlds and ways of life.

    I often think it was made in the wake of the success of Star Wars being released in 1977 but actually it was first broadcast in 1974.

    Space 1999-still

    It had quite high-end production values, particularly compared to much of 1970s television, which while not on the same level as Star Wars they can often hold their own quite well.

    However, in terms of pacing it is a world apart from the relentless blockbuster momentum that Star Wars heralded; Space 1999 is a much calmer, reflective viewing experience.

    It’s actually quite psychedelic.

    Not so much in a 1960s-esque bubble-trip aesthetics manner, although it does have some quite overtly psychedelic effects, more in a general exploratory and often dreamlike sense and a passing through into portals and other realities that often happens within the series.

    Zardoz-1973-John-Boorman-A-Year-In-The-Country-collage

    The psychedelic, dealing with adult themes aspect put me in mind of John Boorman’s film Zardoz and its story of an enclave of humanity known as the Vortex which is inhabited by the Eternals who have become immortal and who now live a pampered, almost new age way of life where their folkloric rituals are underpinned and supported by advanced scientific technology.

    Zardoz-1973-John Boorman-A Year In The Country 2

    The connection between the series and the film is quite overt in the Space 1999 episode Death’s Other Dominion, where also a group of human’s have become immortal and they lead a life which contains a curious intertwining of medievalism, craft and scientific research and methodology.

    Space 1999-mirrored still-clapperboard

    Alongside which in both Zardoz and Space 1999 one of the results of their immortality has been that some of their number still live but have become trapped in a mindless, stupefied immortality (known as The Apathetics in the former and The Revered Ones in the latter).

    Also, in both Zardoz and Space 1999 there is a sense of flawed or corrupted Edenic paradises; in Zardoz this is via the parasitical Eternals enclave which can only exist through its exploitation and control of those excluded from it and which is slowly drifting into dissolution, in Space 1999 it is expressed in the various planetary idylls that the stranded moon base dwellers come across, only to find that their initial hopes are dashed by their inhabitants hidden darker intents or the planet’s destructive properties.

    Curiously, both Zardoz and the first series of Space 1999 were released in 1974, which makes me wander if the psychedelic/exploratory aspects were a reflection of 1960s experimentations seeping out into more mainstream channels in not so obvious ways.

    Christopher Lee-Brian Blessed-Space 1999

    Another aspect of Space 1999 which comes as a welcome surprise as the episodes unfold are the number of revered and cult actors and actresses who appear as guest stars.

    In a list that reads like a film and comic con memorabilia guest signee wish list, this includes Joan Collins, Ian McShane, Julian Glover, Peter Bowles, Isla Blair, Michael Culver, David Prowse, Pamela Stephenson, Peter Cushing, Leo McKern, Billie Whitelaw, Valerie Leon, Judy Geeson Patrick Troughton, Brian Blessed, Catherine Schell and Christopher Lee.

    (And talking of Star Wars, a fair few of those above guests would later appear in it…)

    (File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

    Directions and Destinations:
    The Space 1999 Bluray brush’n’scrub up trailer
    Zardoz trailer
    Space 1999 props and memorabilia that are either already gone or would break the bank balance a tad or two

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

     

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  • Wanderings #27/52a: John Boorman, Excalibur And Celluloid Myths/Realism

    Gone To Earth-Philip Kemp-John Boorman-BFI-Sight & Sound-January 2001-A Year In The Country

    I recently(ish) came across this article by Philip Kemp in the January 2001 issue of Sight and Sound magazine which takes as its starting point the work of John Boorman and in particular his 1989 Arthurian film epic Excalibur.

    Pre the more recent overt interest in such things, it is in part an exploration of myth, fable, folklore and the hidden tales of the land in British cinema (and a touch or two of television)…

    It is a highlighting of the tendency within British cinema to shy away from and almost be embarassed by the possibility embracing the grander or more esoteric aspects of myth and mythology.

    Excalibur-1981-John Boorman-A Year In The Country-4 copy

    Here are a few excerpts that caught my eye:

    “Listen carefull to the echoes of myth. It has much more to tell us then the petty lies and insignificant truths of recorded history (John Boorman).”

    “While writers from the Romantic period onward have oten turned to earlier mythic narratives for inspiration, British film-makers have rarely felt comfortable about drawing their stories from the national myth pool. The legends of native folk culture tend to admit an unworldly, if not a spiritual dimension that sits uneasily with the buttoned-up realism of British cinema…”

    “Blake, Fueseli, Palmer and Turner, to name but a few, all explore visually intense recreations of mythic landscapes that are entirely their own yet as British as Bramley apple pie…”

    “It’s this tradition that bursts through in the work of Powell and Pressburger. In the 40s and 50s the lush romanticism of such films as A Canterbury Tale and Gone To Earth, rooted in loving depictions of rural landscapes and a deeply felt, quasi-pagan notion of Englishness, was even then seen as eccentric and faintly embarassing, out of tune with the prevailing mode of monochrome documentary.”

    Excalibur-1981-John Boorman-A Year In The Country copy

    “Hammer and its competitors reclaimed the tradition of supernatural horror from Universal studios and replanted it in indigenous soil. Nigel Kneale explored the interface between folk-myth and science fiction in his Quatermass cycle, as did (mainly for television) the playwright David Rudkin, whose Penda’s Fen… combines visions of such legendary figures as King Penda, the last pagan ruler of England, with a quasi-mystical view of the English landscape.”

    Avoiding such things may in part be due to budgetary restrictions but I suppose interestingly, if you look at films such as Puffball, In The Dark Side and Kill List, you can see some kind of interweaving between the more realist or almost documentary like side of British film making with elements of folklore and myth, without the need for huge, more expensive spectacles.

    And finally, the image below… Shades of Zardoz perchance?…

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

    Excalibur poster-1981-John Boorman-A Year In The CountryIntertwined wanderings around these parts:
    Day #21/365: In The Dark Half

    Day #135/365: Kill List

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

    Day #191/365: Penda’s Fen; “Cherish our flame, our dawn will come.”

    Day #313/365: The curiousities of Puffball… “Everything has changed, we don’t belong here…”

    Day #326/365: Harp In Heaven, curious exoticisms, pathways and flickerings back through the days and years…

     

    Week #36/52: Gone To Earth – “What A Queen Of Fools You Be”, Something Of A Return Wandering And A Landscape Set Free

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

    Wanderings #24/52a: Zardoz Ephemera / A Revisiting Of Fading Vessellings

    Elsewhere in the ether:
    The issue in question of Sight And Sound

     

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  • Ocular Signals #27/52a: Image A/2a

    Image-A2a-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 #27/52a: The Layered Seams And Explorations Of Buried Treasure

    Buried Treaure-The Delaware Road-CDs and albums-1

    Buried Treasure is described as a “UK label specialising in archived electronic, tape, radiophonic, jazz, psych, folk & library sounds”.

    They have released library music reissues such as Rare Psych, Moogs & Brass – Music From The Sonoton Library 1969-1981, archival Radiophonic Workshop recordings on the Vendetta Tapes – John Baker & The BBC Radiophonic Workshop album and musical experimentalism from behind the Iron Curtain on the Yuri Morozov Strange Angels album:

    1970’s experimental & electronic music recorded in soviet Russia by Yuri Morozov. Banned by the KGB for its esoteric content and references to forbidden spiritual texts, Yuri recorded over 46 albums between the 1970s until his death in 2006. Only available on cassettes passed around in secret within the Russian music underground until now.

    Alongside such archival releases, they have also sent out into the world a number of often conceptual records that at times explore spectral/hauntological concerns, while also at points interweaving such things with the undercurrents and flipside of folk, pastoralism and bucolia.

    Buried Treaure-The Delaware Road-CDs and albums-3

    Revbjelde’s The Weeping Tree EP (some of which also appears on their eponymous album) takes as its starting point folkloric concerns but also seems to contain echoes from many different seams of the layers of musical history and experimenting, accompanied by the fluttering vocals of Emma Churchley of Silversmoths that at times put me in mind of the folk reinterpretations of Lutine…

    While their For Albion EP is music from the furthest reaches, where hazy shades of Dead Can Dance, folk, electronica and the avant garde meet amongst the landscape of Penda’s Fen, as Martin Denny dances with a distant cousin of Astrud Gilberto over the far off brow of a hill.

    Buried Treaure-The Delaware Road-CDs and albums-4

    The Delaware Road album is a themed concept album which features the likes of Howlround, Dolly Dolly, Revbjelde and The Rowan Amber Mill:

    London. 1968. Two pioneering electronic musicians discover a set of unusual recordings which leads to a revelation about their employer. Fascinated by the seemingly occult nature of the tapes they conduct a ritual that will alter their lives forever… an occult conspiracy thriller & an audio-visual treat for fans of archived electronica, far out jazz & haunted folk grooves chronicling the musician’s obsession with sound, sex & magic.

    At points when listening to the album, it made me think variously of the soundtrack to a curiously very British Radiophonic giallo film, the glam stomp revisitings of Earl Brutus, never before heard archival library music that is caught in a portal just to the side of reality, folkloric chamber music and late night jazz filled rooms back when.

    The Delaware Road At Kelvedon Hatch-Map and Guid Booklet-Buried Treasure

    (In an additional layering of The Delaware Road album and project, it is being brought to life and further explored in the real world, via a subterranean event at decommissioned Cold War installation Kelvedon Hatch, which I have mentioned around these parts before. Visit details of the event here.)

    Seams could well be an appropriate word to use in terms of Buried Treasure; their releases are an exploration of the hidden layers of culture and the tales that lie beneath the land, mingling and interweaving a vast array of musical styles and reference points into one constantly surprising and intriguing whole.

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

    Audio Visual Transmission Guide:
    Buried Treasure

    Local Broadcasts:
    Ether Signposts #15/52a: The Delaware Road at Kelvedon Hatch

     

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