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A Year In The Country – Spectral Fields – Wyrd Kalendar Mix 3 and the “What is hauntology? And why is it all around us?” BBC Archive Film

A couple of intriguing things that directly or in part take their inspiration from the A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields book have recently been sent my way…

First up is Chris Lambert’s A Year In The Country – Spectral Fields – Wyrd Kalendar Mix 3, which is an hour and a half or so mix of music and film etc samples that explores the themes of the Wandering Through Spectral Fields book. It is the third in a series of mixes with this one focusing on Chapters 27-39 of the book.

The mix can be listened to at Mixcloud here and details can be found at the Wyrd Kalendar site.

It segues Roger Whittaker’s theme song for the apocalyptic film No Blade of Grass (which if you just read the lyrics should be terrifying but it’s easy listening delivery makes it, possibly accidentally, almost humorous)… into the actually terrifying unsettling choral music by Christopher Gunning produced for the 1981 British television adaptation of John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids… and then onto samples from the 1960 film adaptation of his Midwich Cuckoos renamed Village of the Damned… into a traditional style instrumental folk song which accompanies Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane discussing there Folk Archive work, which collected contemporary folk art from everyday life… and then into Johnny Hawksworth’s Industria-Go-Go, an uptempo library music track from 1970 released by library music label De Wolfe which I think at the time, in order to help potential users, was given the descriptive tag “Energetic, movement”… and well, that’s just for starters.

The mix also takes in work by MacGillivray, Vashti Bunyan, Anne Briggs, The Owl Service, Audrey Copard, Watersons, David Cain, Howlround, Classroom Projects, Kate Bush, Jonathan Hodge, Pierre Arvay, John Williams, COI, Magpahi, Jane Weaver, Paper Dollhouse and The Eccentronic Research Council.

The music etc is accompanied by the voice of a helpful guide (and others) and some rather fine punning at points that made me laugh out loud and which is based around the Wandering Through Spectral Field’s book’s text,

A fine piece of work – humorous, unsettling, inventive, exploratory.

The chapters of the book the mix explores are:

27. General Orders No. 9 and By Our Selves: Cinematic Pastoral Experimentalism

28. No Blade of Grass and Z.P.G.: A Curious Dystopian Mini-Genre

29. The Midwich Cuckoos and The Day of the Triffids: John Wyndham, Dystopian Tales, Celluloid Cuckoos and the Village as Anything But Idyll

A Year In The Country-Wandering Through Spectral Fields book-Symptoms film-Images film-hauntological begetters-the uneasy landscape-gothic bucolia

30. Folk Archive and Unsophisticated Arts: Documenting the Overlooked and Unregulated

31. Folkloric Photography: A Lineage of Wanderings, Documentings and Imaginings

32. Poles and Pylons and The Telegraph Appreciation Society: A Continuum of Accidental Art

33. Symptoms and Images: Hauntological Begetters, the Uneasy Landscape and Gothic Bucolia

34. The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water: Public Information Films and Lost Municipal Paternalisms

35. Magpahi, Paper Dollhouse and The Eccentronic Research Council: Finders Keepers/Bird Records Nestings and Considerations of Modern Day Magic

36. Vashti Bunyan: From Here to Before: Whispering Fairy Stories until They are Real

37. The Owl Service, Anne Briggs, The Watersons, Lutine and Audrey Copard: Folk Revisiters, Revivalists and Reinterpreters

38. The Seasons, Jonny Trunk, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and Howlround: A Yearning for Library Music, Experiments in Educational Music and Tape Loop Tributes

39. An Old Soul Returns: The Worlds and Interweavings of Kate Bush

As with previous Spectral Fields Wyrd Kalendar mixes in an I-Spy manner see if you can match the music to the chapters…

Chris Lambert is an author who has worked on/written various books including Tales from the Black Meadow and Wyrd Kalendar, which included illustrations by Andy Paciorek (who also works on Folk Horror Revival and Urban Wyrd) and which was accompanied by a CD that included music by amongst others Widow’s Weeds, Keith Seatman, Emily Jones, Beautify Junkyards, Concretism, The Soulless Party and The Rowan Amber Mill.

Which brings me to the “What is hauntology? And why is it all around us?”, a short film/documentary made by the BBC Archive which serves as a concise overview of some of the recurring themes of hauntological work, its background, some of those whose work has been labelled as hauntology etc and in part takes it inspiration from some of the topics discussed in the A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields book and related text.

With a brief description that describes it as considering “From TV to art to design – why a ‘nostalgia for lost futures’ seems to be everywhere” and an appropriately 1970s and sometimes degraded television transmission aesthetic the film interweaves archival television footage with explanatory text and appearances from philosopher Jacques Derrida who coined the phrase hauntology, the darkly humorous artwork of Scarfolk, public information films, The Changes, Look Around You’s askew take on television science programmes, Ghost Box Records, the Play for Today drama Robin Redbreast, Clay Pipe Music, hypnagogic pop and a fair bit more.

It’s appearance/broadcast via the BBC also seems appropriate in a way due to the Broadcasting Corporation’s historical connections with a particular kind of progressive modernity and related idealist intentions…

Well worth a visit and look-see… What is Hauntology? can be viewed here.




Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:


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