About

The A Year In The Country project began in 2014 and was founded and is run by Stephen Prince and via the posts on its website, music and book releases has carried out a set of year long explorations of wyrd or otherly pastoralism; the flipside of bucolic dreams; the further reaches of folk music and rural culture; work that draws inspiration from the underlying tales of the land; and where such things meet and intertwine with the lost futures, spectral histories and parallel worlds of what has come to be known as hauntology.

As part of the project in total there have been more than 35 non-fiction books, novellas and albums released, alongside a number of prints and over 1200 posts on the website etc.

The A Year In The Country non-fiction books and written posts on the website, all of which have been written by Stephen Prince, are intended to draw together and connect layered and, at times, semi-hidden cultural pathways and signposts: from explorations of the eerie landscape via the shape of the future’s past that can be found in Brutalist architecture, alongside acid and underground folk, “edgelands”, electronic music pioneers, older British public information films, rural progressive or utopian settlements and associated temporary autonomous zones, folkloric film and photography, folk horror in its various forms, contemporary hauntological-esque music releases and hazily misremembered televisual tales and transmissions and an accompanying strand of later 1960s through to early 1980s young adult orientated British television series which had surprisingly complex and/or dark themes.

A number of the project’s music releases have been themed compilations which took as their  subjects abandoned villages, the flashpoints of history and conflict in the landscape, derelict Cold War infrastructure, ancient trees and their passage through time, the faded dreams of the space race, deserted industry and echoes of tales from woodland folklore etc. Alongside work by Stephen Prince, working under both his own name and as A Year In The Country, they have featured contributions by amongst others Sproatly Smith, The Séance (Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne and James Papademetrie), Widow’s Weeds, Pulselovers, The Heartwood Institute, Depatterning, Folclore Impressionista, Howlround, Field Lines Cartographer, Dom Cooper (The Owl Service/The Straw Bear Band), Keith Seatman, Grey Frequency, Time Attendant, The Rowan Amber Mill, Sharron Kraus, Listening Center, Polypores, Lutine, The Soulless Party, Assembled Minds and Vic Mars.

Other music released as part of the project has included, amongst other work, solo releases by Stephen Prince working as A Year In The Country and have included, alongside others, albums inspired by isolated broadcast towers and scattered radio signals plucked from the airwaves and the unsettled undercurrents and “patterns beneath the plough, the pylons and amongst the edgelands” that can be found in nature and the landscape.

The above mentioned novellas, which have also been written by Stephen Prince, and their accompanying albums that have included solo releases by him and also further themed compilations featuring work both by him and some of the album contributors mentioned above, have created and explored the dreamscapes of imaginary lost films and songs and are set amongst the hinterlands of folk, pyschedelic, otherly pastoral, wyrd and hauntological culture.

The roots of the project’s inspiration can be found in part amongst its founder’s childhood which at times was spent in the shadow of the Cold War, alongside him discovering and becoming intrigued by the fringes of science fiction and related dystopian tales at a young age, while also living amongst and next to the British countryside, overlooked edgelands and abandoned and contemporary defence infrastructure and equipment. This mixture of a pastoral playground, a world on the edge and fantastic fictions proved to be a heady mix for the dreamscapes of a young mind, all of which would be some of the initial seedlings that would lead one day to the creation and ongoing themes of A Year In The Country.

“Stephen Prince’s impressively comprehensive multimedia project A Year In The Countryhas explored and documented some of the lesser-trodden pathways between pastoral folk music and Radiophonic electronica, as well as actively contributing to these genres with a succession of hugely enjoyable musical releases… He has created a tangled, overgrown enclave of twisted, rustic oddness and continues to weave his own darkly entrancing magic over the countryside.” Bob Fischer, Fortean Times’ The Haunted Generation columnist, writing at his website and in Electronic Sound magazine

“Stephen Prince is a multimedia artist who’s been building his own otherworldly visions of Arcadian England under the name A Year In The Country. Both an exploration of a pastoral past and a rumination on a dystopian present, his recordings marry spectral folk to an electronic otherworld, whilst he has written books of non-fiction that investigate the inner-psyche of our collective histories.” Thomas Patterson, Shindig!

“A Year In The Countryis steadily building up a body of work that presents an alternative view of rural Britain, the project’s output is consistently fascinating.” Psychogeographic Review

 

An older version of the About page can be found here.