Posted on Leave a comment

Thistletown / Rosemarie And Reflection Back To Semi-Lost Folk: Wanderings #32/52a

Thistletown-Rosemarie-A Year In The Country

I can’t remember how I came acroos Thistletown but it’s been an interesting find.

Released by Will Hodgkinson on his record label Big Bertha, which seemed to be created as much as an art project/experiment in how such things worked as being a traditional record label.

I know little about the band, though that’s okay, it means I can just appreciate the music.

The little I know includes that the album was produced by Michael Tyack from Circulus and recording was held up at one point I think because they didn’t want to disturb a nesting duck…

Thistletown-RosemarieIf you should appreciate semi-lost privately pressed acid/psych/underground folk from the late 1960s and 1970s along the lines of Midwinter and Caedmon, the crystalline folk expressions of Lutine  and the folk-esque retravellings of Espers, you may well find much to like here.

In fact in parts, the music contained within the album could well be from a “semi-lost privately pressed acid/psych/underground folk from the late 1960s and 1970s”… not in a purely retro, retreading manner but more in that seems to capture the spirit of or be in part from some flipside of the history and culture of Britain, to live in some other bucolic parallel, a separate time both enchanted and enchanting.

As far as I know Rosemarie is out of print but it can often be found for but a few pence or pounds.

A curiousity and well worth a wander towards.

 

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

Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
Day #3/365: Gather In The Mushrooms: something of a starting point via an accidental stumbling into the British acid folk undeground

Day #50/365: Lutine – music for the mind to wander with…

Day #93/365: Seasons They Change and the sweetly strange concoctions of private pressings…

Day #107/365: Archie Fisher & Acid Tracks – An Introduction to the roots of psych-folk: subculture not from beneath the paving stones but from under the plough

Day #132/365: Espers, coruscation and the demise of monarchs…

Day #257/365: Further coruscations; Lutine, White Flowers and textural voyages…

Elsewhere in the ether:
Peruse the album here. Thistletown at Big Bertha here and traces in the ether here.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

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

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…

 

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

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.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

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

Grenzfalle-Falling Barriers-Kerber Photoart-photography book-A Year In The Country-4

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

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

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.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

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

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

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.

 

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

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

 

Posted on Leave a comment

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

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

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.

 

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

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

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

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

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Past Cathode Ray Visions Of The Future / Capturing Of Ghosts: Wanderings #26/52a

NFT-1986 festival brochure-Fantastic Television-The Tomorrow People-Quatermass-Space 1999-Dr Who-A Year In The Country

Nowadays appreciations of older fantastic and science fiction television that is part of the hauntological canon of such things are… well, if not two a penny at least reasonably commonplace in certain cultural niches and corners and sometimes in a more mainstream sense.

However, back in 1986 that wasn’t the case anywhere near as much.

And even if it was, it was considerably harder to see such things than in these reissue and digital ease of access times.

So, when I saw this 1986 brochure for the National Film Theatre festival in London it caught my eye due to the strand of showings called Fantastic Television.

As part of that they showed episodes of Dr Who, various Quatermasses, Timeslip, Blake’s Seven, Survivors, Out Of The Unknown, The Andromeda Breakthrough, The Stone Tape, Ace Of Wands, Sapphire and Steel, Doomwatch, Casting The Runes, The Avengers, The Prisoner and various Gerry Anderson programs.

NFT-1986 festival brochure-Fantastic Television-Quatermass-The Stone Tape-The Avengers

I don’t know the ins and out of video tape issues of these various programmes and series but I expect for some of them this was a particularly rare outing in any form and possibly fairly unusual to present a whole season of them as part of a major, critically lauded and non cult/niche culture orientated film festival.

I particularly like the description that accompanies The Stone Tape:

“How do you capture a Ghost? In the old days people would try with a bell, book and candle, but with today’s technology the obvious answer is a computer. The new inhabitants of a country house discover it to be haunted and decide to programme a sophisticated computer to lay the ghost.”

And also the subtitle for the season “Past Visions Of The Future”, which seems like a hauntological statement of intent before the phrase or philosophical/cultural idea had come into being.

 

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

Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
Well, that would be a fair few I expect but below is a selection or two;
Day #23/365: Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape – a study of future haunted media

Day #48/365: Sky: a selection of artifacts from a library of a boy who fell to earth…

Day #183/365: Steam engine time and remnants of transmissions before the flood

Day #202/365: Filming The Owl Service; Tomato Soap and Lonely Stones

Day #236/365: The Owl Service: fashion plates and (another) peek behind the curtain

Day #284/365: Sapphire and Steel; a haunting by the haunting and a denial of tales of stopping the waves of history…

Week #2/52: The Tomorrow People in The Visitor, a Woolworths-esque filter and travels taken…

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Stone Circle Documents / Layering Over Time: Wanderings #25/52a

Rings Of Stone-Aubrey Burl-Edward Piper-stone circles-A Year In The CountryA while ago I wrote If “Sometimes Slightly Dour 1970s Books On Windmills That Have Subtley Gained A Layer Or Two Of Extra Resonance With The Passing Of Time” Was A Quite Long Book Genre…

Well, near to that section in an imagined bookshop/library may well be the “Sometimes Slightly Dour 1970s Books On Stone Circles That Have Subtley Gained A Layer Or Two Of Extra Resonance With The Passing Of Time” section.

There are a lot of books that have been published on stone circles; tourist orientated ones, academic, photographic, photographic/text intertwined, populist etc and a quick glance at say one of the more well known online retailers will bring up a fair few recently published books along those lines.

Which is all good and fine but I tend to find that it’s the accidental older finds that I’m drawn to, books that, well have “gained a layer or two of extra resonance with the passing of time”.

Rings Of Stone by Aubrey Burl and Edward Piper, published in 1979, would be one of those.

Rings Of Stone-Aubrey Burl-Edward Piper-stone circles-A Year In The Country-2

I think it would be the above pages that first caught my eye… there’s something about them, particularly the one on the right that just seems a little too… angular? Geometric?

They put me in mind of the reflective sculptures/weapons around the dome in Phase IV.

Rings Of Stone-Aubrey Burl-Edward Piper-stone circles-A Year In The Country-3

While the above image just seems, well, wrong, while also being a good capturing of a particular atmosphere and spirit of time and place.

Rings Of Stone-Aubrey Burl-Edward Piper-stone circles-A Year In The Country-4

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

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

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

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

Wanderings #9/52a: If “Sometimes Slightly Dour 1970s Books On Windmills That Have Subtley Gained A Layer Or Two Of Extra Resonance With The Passing Of Time” Was A Quite Long Book Genre

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

Elsewhere in the ether:
Peruse the book here.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

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

Zardoz-laser disc-novel-Arrow Bluray-A Year In The Country

A gathering of a few Zardoz related ephemera… the novelisation, the Arrow Bluray release and its earlier HD counterpart and one of the laserdiscs…

…because, well, there’s nothing quite like revisiting a relatively big budget, big name, genuine cinematic oddity that could be said to create its own particular take on psychedelia, back out to the country utopianism and heavy, heavy (man) post 1960s comedowns…

Or to quote myself:

“It feels like a genuinely psychedelic and dreamlike experience in many ways… a dissonant, challenging blockbuster/spectacle film in a way, full of “I can’t actually believe that this was allowed to come to the big screen” moments, questioning of societies actions, elements of 20th century fairy tales and philosophy amongst, well, the thigh length boots, nudity, guns and entertainment.”

Now, you could spend all day (well, a fair few hours) browsing the various Zardoz related memorabilia, although largely it would be variations on similar themes – a handful of period magazines, the varying video/DVD/Bluray/laserdisc releases and different countries posters and lobby cards.

Zardoz-contact sheet-A Year In The Country

One of the few actually different items that you may come across though are a handful of contact sheets.

Its hard to know if these are the original “tumbled out of the dark room from back when” sheets or reprints but I’m quite drawn to them.

Although I’m not somebody who has a didactic, either/or view on digital versus analogue technology and processes, I have found a certain magic to occur within dark rooms and contact sheets seem like very genuine, scarce and precious artifacts.

Laserdiscs meanwhile seem like such, to use that word again, oddities in the modern world. Or maybe that should be stranded artifacts.

They’re very solid, almost monumental seeming things, heavy, physically large and films sometimes came on more than one disc in gatefold sleeves and are an interesting way of seeing related artwork – collectible in themselves even without the ability to play them.

Laserdisc-Zardoz-A Year In The Country-2 Laserdisc-Zardoz-A Year In The Country

Despite the fact that this laserdisc copy of Zardoz is fading and corroding I know there may well be a frame or two of He who fights too long against dragons, becomes a dragon himself” tales on there somewhere,

However, on this side of the pond and on this particular island laser disc players were such relative rarities and the technology required so specific that it is a genie (or should that be a reverse wizard of Oz?) caught in a relatively inoperable jar.

Even with something like say old 35mm trailer reels without a projector you can still hold them up to the light to see the individual frames and with cassette tape there are still plenty of cassette players knocking about the world and  tapes themselves are still being replicated.

…but laser discs.

Nope.

The last new disc was released in 2000 and although the players themselves were still sold in very limited and fairly pricey quantities until 2009, decent used working players in the UK are increasingly hard to find.

(I say decent as surprisingly, although they look like a forerunner to DVDs, as with vinyl, audio and video cassettes this was an analogue system and so the better players give a better picture and sound.)

 

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

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

Day #356/365: Audiological Reflections and Pathways #6; fading vessellings

Elsewhere in the ether:
Details of laserdisc players here (or electro-mechanical helium-neon laser players and Discovision).

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Malcolm Pointon – Electromuse: Wanderings #23/52a

Malcolm Pointon-Electromuse-Ian Helliwell-Public Information

I’ve been rather taken by the Malcolm Pointon album Electromuse that was released by Public Information.

Some electronic music from earlier eras I can sometimes find more interesting culturally than as work to actually sit down and listen to.

However the tracks presented here are a different deal altogether.

Particularly Symbiosis, especially once it really kicks in around 2:30 into it’s playing time.

This is threatening, engrossing music.

It sounds like all of the contemporary electronic takes on what has come to be known as hauntology synthesized (literally) and boiled down into one piece of work.

As I listen to it again, it puts me in mind of early Human League’s darker, instrumental, artsy but not self indulgent older brother – Being Boiled Plus Plus.

Good stuff.

Malcolm Pointon-Electromuse-Ian Helliwell-Public Information-2

And talking of hauntology – the cover art – just a stark presentation of one of the original tapes seems as though it could have tumbled from a spectral hauntology film project (the made-at-home, good old British pluck companion to The Berberian Sound Studio?).

Similar could be said of the accompanying studio-like tracklisting and tape speed.

And although of its time much of the work here sounds curiously contemporary. Possibly in part because some of the sounds, styles and atmospheres to be found on the album have been revisited by some of hauntology but I think it’s more than that…

…maybe it’s that there’s a certain, hmmm, not necessarily timelessness but maybe more a sense that this is in part unexplored, un-heavily harvested work.

Something interesting I read about Malcolm Pointon was that although the members of The Radiophonic Workshop often receive much of the attention and plaudits, here was a gent separate to all that and its associated state sponsorship – this was literally personal, private endeavour and that just mentioned good old British pluck.

 

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

Elsewhere in the ether:
The album was compiled by Ian Helliwell and Public Information. It can be perused further here.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

George Shiras – In The Heart Of The Dark Night: Wanderings #22/52a

George Shiras-In The Heart Of The Dark Night-Éditions Xavier Barral-A Year In The Country-1

I’m rather taken by George Shiras’ photography and the book collection of it In The Heart Of The Dark Night, published by Éditions Xavier Barral.

George Shiras was a pioneer of night time flash photography, particularly regarding nature photography.

His photographs show a world never seen and/or captured in this way before and they seem to have an almost otherworldy air to them.

George Shiras-In The Heart Of The Dark Night-Éditions Xavier Barral-A Year In The Country-2

The level of patience and hit-or-miss, sometimes literally dangerous techniques for creating flash that he used somewhat beggars belief in our more “I’ve got most of the techology I need for that sort of thing in my pocket, via a small computer/optical/communication device that’s quite a bit smaller than a paperback book” days.

George Shiras-In The Heart Of The Dark Night-Éditions Xavier Barral-A Year In The Country-4

In those days it was essentially about setting fire to and quick explosions of flammable powders and the like.

Alongside spending nights and nights or months and months waiting patiently for the right moment to light the taper as it were.

The book itself is a rather lovely artifact – one of those things that you want to hold delicately as it feels precious.

George Shiras-In The Heart Of The Dark Night-Éditions Xavier Barral-A Year In The Country-3

Nice cloth cover, tipped in cover image, embossed silver spine text and paper that is glossy but subtley textured and without the mainstream ubiquity feel that gloss can sometimes have.

A fine thing to be out in the world.

 

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

Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
Wanderings #21/52a: Vortex Views / The Extraordinary Beauty Of Birds

Elsewhere in the ether:
In The Heart Of The Dark Night at Éditions Xavier Barral.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Vortex Views / The Extraordinary Beauty Of Birds: Wanderings #21/52a

The Extraordinary Beauty Of Birds-Deborah Samuels-Prestel-A Year In The Country-3

And while we’re talking about nicely put together books of photography…

Deborah Samuel’s The Extraordinary Beauty Of Birds.

This is a book that focuses on, well, birds but not in a normal nature photography manner – the photographs here are nearer to a fine art project detailed study of, well, the details of birds.

The Extraordinary Beauty Of Birds-Deborah Samuels-Prestel-A Year In The Country-2cThe Extraordinary Beauty Of Birds-Deborah Samuels-Prestel-A Year In The Country-1b

The photographs often involve close ups of the design, pattern and colours of feathers and other features, eggs are seen in some kind of perfectly captured stillness that blends scientific photography documentation and something much more creative or expressive.

I was particularly drawn to the images of nests – the swirl, shape and seeming almost vortex of them. They veer ever so slightly towards the sinister in a way I can’t quite put my finger on.

The Extraordinary Beauty Of Birds-Deborah Samuels-Prestel-A Year In The Country-4

Well worth a stop, look and see. Just for the sheer beauty of the photographs and also to take in an appreciate a somewhat unique perspective on nature photography.

 

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

Elsewhere in the ether:
The book at its publishing home in the ether. Deborah Samuel’s home for the work in the ether.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Watership Down: Wanderings #20/52a

Watership Down-Criterion Collection-A Year In The Country

Now, I was somewhat wary of watching Watership Down – I remember seeing it when I was young and finding it in parts genuinely disturbing…

Anyways, I sat down with the Criterion Collection release to see what I thought a fair few years later on.

It’s a curious film. It had a U certificate, a number one hit song (penned by Mike “Wombles and Steeleye Span” Batt no less) and I think was marketed quite heavily to/aimed at children but it’s really not a children’s film.

Well, at least not in a conventional, purely escapist manner.

Watership Down-Criterion Collection-A Year In The Country-2

It sort of exists in a land of it’s own (grown-up children’s cinema?) and is quite dark, without being overly oppressive/somber and deals quite specifically with questions of mortality.

In parts it feels nearer to the fantasy like tales of European/Czech New Wave cinema than home grown, grounded film making – it is both realist and quite fantastical, strongly mixing myth amongst the British natural landscape.

Watership Down-Criterion Collection-A Year In The Country-3

I think one of the things that gave it a surreal edge for me was Richard Brier, sitcom stalwart and one of the stars of the gentle self-sufficiency comedy The Good Life, doing the main voice; the sound of him automatically makes me expect that nothing truly bad will happen but well that’s probably not quite the case here.

Although actually, the scene I was most dreading (I expect you’ll know the one I mean if you’ve seen the film), a dread carried over from younger years, while still quite brutal and disturbing is mercifully brief and not the endless, relentless non-escape that I seemed to remember it as.

As is often the way, the Criterion Collection release is a lovely thing and rather nicely designed.

Watership Down-Criterion Collection-A Year In The Country-4

It seems to reflect the more adult nature of the film’s themes, the sense of myth it explores and the way it wanders amongst a flipside of more bucolic representations of life in the country.

 

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

Elsewhere in the ether:
The Criterion Collection release and trailer.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Folk Roots Of Peak Time Comedians From Back When / Wandering The Layers: Wanderings #19/52a

Jasper Carrott at the Fletch-invite-A Year In The Country

When I was younger I used to thoroughly enjoy the likes of then very mainstream, often peak time TV viewing comedians such as Mike Harding, Jasper Carrott and Billy Connolly.

Back then I didn’t necessarily know or look into all that much the cultural origins or history of such entertainers – they just made me laugh and that was all good and fine.

Over the years I have accidentally come across things such as an old folk club flyer in an exhibition that features one of those comedians or the documentary Acoustic Routes on folk musician Bert Jansch, that was presented by Billy Connolly, in which he discusses his roots and connections with folk back when, which made me realise these comedians’ folk roots.

bert-jansch-davy-graham-ralph-mctell-martin-carthy-acoustic-routes-music-from-the-television-documentary-A Year In The Country-strokeMike Harding-One Man Show-A Year In The Country

Which leads me back to Mike Harding.

Mike Harding-Walking The Peak And Pennines-book-1

A recent(ish) charity shop find was Mike Harding’s Walking The Peak And Pennines book.

It’s a nicely put together book that, well, does what it says on the can/cover – it’s an almost diary like document of Mike Harding walking that part of the country, with some good scenic photography taken by him.

It was the quote on the back cover that I was drawn to in particular:

Mike Harding-Walking The Peak And Pennines-book-2 copy“Wherever you walk on the hills, moors and in the valleys of the Peak and Pennines, you walk on the bones of those who have been there before you – from Roman legions to itinerant packmen, from monks to ranting Methodist parsons, from hand-loom weavers to mill poets – and if you listen carefully enough you can hear the echoes of their voices still singing in the wind.”

The Detectorists-BBC-Mackenzie Crook-Toby Jones-A Year In The Country

It put me in mind of the quietly left-of-centre-ness take on the layering of the land’s history and tales in Johnny Flynn’s title track for the TV series Detectorists (itself in part a quietly left-of-centre-ness take on the layering of the land’s history and tales):

“Will you search through the lonely earth for me
Climb through the biar and bramble
I’ll be your treasure…
I felt the touch of the kings and the breath of the wind, I knew the call of all the song birds…
I’m with the ghosts of the men who can never sing again…”

 

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

Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
Day #316/365: The Detectorists; a gentle roaming in search of the troves left by men who can never sing again

Elsewhere in the ether:
Later wanderings amongst the byways of folk by the gents who made me laugh:
Jasper Carrott looking back on his days at the Boggery Folk Club.
Billy Connolly presenting the Acoustic Routes documentary about sometime Pentangle-r Bert Jansch.
Mike Harding still listening and transmitting amongst the airwaves.
Further Midlands folk clubbery from back when.
Walking The Peak And Pennines For But A Few Pence can be found here.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Further Not-Quite-So-Mainstream Pastoralism And 1970s British Science Fiction Costume And Effects Prototyping: Wanderings #18/52a

Charles Freger-Wilder Mann-Dewi Lewis Publishing-A Year In The CountryWilder Mann 001

And while we’re talking about worrisome fantastical creatures from back when and not-quite-so-mainstream pastoralism…

The abominable snowman-doctor who-A Year In The Country-1

I find the the yetis/abominable snowmen from vintage Doctor Who rather reiminiscent of the folk costumes from over the seas in Charles Fréger’s Wilder Mann book.

Wilder Mann 008

Wilder Mann 004

In fact, many of the costumes in Wilder Mann could well be escapees (prototypes?) for the 1970s British BBC costume and creature effect department.

Wilder Mann 006

Some of my favourite photographs of the yetis are the behind the scenes ones.

They’re curiously disarming, especially considering how they once had a nation wanting to hide behind the sofa…

The abominable snowman-doctor who-A Year In The Country-2

…particularly this image with the yeti being groomed while “going over lines” with that gent from Gallifrey…

 

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

Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
Day #69/365: Charles Fréger’s Wilder Mann and rituals away from the shores of albion

Other behind-the-scenes views of fantastical fictions from back when:
Day #202/365: Filming The Owl Service; Tomato Soap and Lonely Stones

Wanderings #17/52a: Not So Abounding Faceless Automatons And Not-Quite-So-Mainstream Crafting

Elsewhere in the ether:
Charles Fréger’s Wilder Mann in it’s natural habitat and at Dewi Lewis Publishing (often worth a look-see at what they’re sending out into the world I find).

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Not So Abounding Faceless Automatons And Not-Quite-So-Mainstream Crafting: Wanderings #17/52a

Doctor Who-Spearhead from Space-A Year In The Country

Now, in my head 1970s/early 1980s British television is awash with faceless creatures and automatons, come to carry out their wickedness and fill dreams full of night terrors.

But funnily enough when I recently(ish) looked up such things, there weren’t all that many I could find.

Actually it came down to a creature/character in Sapphire & Steel and the “still terrifying all these years later” shop dummies come to life in Doctor Who (which strictly speaking aren’t faceless but in my head they are).

I suppose that as an effect it was cheap and relatively easy to do but there is still something particularly unnerving about such featureless faces.

They crop up from time-to-time around these parts and I though I would gather a few of them together.

So, we have the aforementioned bowler hat wearing character from Sapphire & Steel…

Sapphire and Steel-A Year In The Country-3Day 25-Christopher Priest Dreams Of Wessex-A Year In The Country 5

And something of a classic and possibly one of my all time favourite book covers: the paperback cover to the virtual reality prescient pastoral-esque science fiction of Christopher Priest’s A Dream Of Wessex…

The faceless corn husk folk art-like figures from around these parts…

Corn Husk Crafts-Facklam Phibbs-A Year In The Country-1 Corn Husk Crafts-Facklam Phibbs-A Year In The Country-4 Corn Husk Crafts-Facklam Phibbs-A Year In The Country-3

Which set me a-wandering…

Corn Husk Dolly And Crafts books-A Year In The Country-4

There seem to have been a fair few books along such lines published, often from back when. And maybe it’s just me or a layering/other connections that have happened and gathered over time  but they can seem to have an air of quiet unsettledness or not-quite-so-mainstream pastoralness to them…

 

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

Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
Day #26/365. Christopher Priest – A Dream of Wessex and dreams of the twentieth century

Day #87/365: Faded foundlings and Tender Vessels…

Day #284/365: Sapphire and Steel; a haunting by the haunting and a denial of tales of stopping the waves of history…

Elsewhere in the ether:
Contemporary not-quite-so mainstream pastoralness: Tender Vessels #1. Tender Vessels #2.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

A Lionheart-ess In Amber / Amongst The Biscuit Crumbs: Wanderings #16/52a

16 of 52-Kate Bush-first five albums-A Year In The Country

Although I still tend to have a look-see at Kate Bush’s ongoing work, I think for me my main interest is caught in the amber of her first five albums and the surround visual work/imagery.

From The Kick Inside to The Hounds Of Love, they seem to stand unparalleled and on their own and even after all these years I often find myself thinking when I listen to them “Blimey…” (or should that be “wow”) “…this is impressive stuff.”

As I’ve said around these parts before, she seemed to tap into something ancient, some form of underlying archetypes of the British soul, tales, history and land… and it’s hard to quite get your head around those albums having been created by somebody who was relatively so young, they seem like the world of a… well, not much older but maybe timeless soul.

It’s curious as well when you look back at the early more traditional pop style promotion of those albums and their singles: when she was say performing in the prosaic surrounds of a lunch time light entertainment program in the later 1970s she was part of it all but also a space unto herself.

Kate Bush-Mojo Magazine-2016-United Biscuit Network radio-A Year In The Country

And talking of prosaic settings…

When she recently(ish) appeared on the cover of Mojo magazine, the interview and article was carried out by Jim Irvin, who apparently had also done her first ever radio interview back in 1978.

That interview was for the United Biscuits Network – basically radio broadcasting for the workers in, well, biscuit factories.

The very idea of which seems to conjure up a very far away, distant history.

 

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

Intertwined wanderings around these parts:

Day #71/365: Kate Bush, Under The Ivy and secret gardens…

Trails of bread (biscuit?) crumbs: Day #108/365: Let me grab your soul away – Kate Bush and darkly cinematic flickerings through the meadows, moors and mazes…

Week #3/52: I Still Dream Of Orgonon; A Book Of Dreams, the rarity of argent chains and moments of discovery…

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

Elsewhere in the ether:
Biscuits and airwaves.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Vashti Bunyan: From Here To Before and Whispering Fairy Stories Until They Are Real: Ether Signposts #16/52a

Vashti Bunyan-From Here To Before-Kieran Evans-2008 film-NFT BFI Sensoria Showroom Sheffield

When I was planning and researching in the run up to starting A Year In The Country and during its first year in 2014 I tried in vain to watch Vashti Bunyan: From Here To Before, the 2008 documentary about her fabled horse drawn trip across the country at the end of the 1960s and turn of the decade, the album she made at the time.

Other films and documentaries made by its director Kieran Evans, including the Saint Etienne collaboration Finisterre, edgelands exploration/Karl Hyde collaboration The Outer Edges and dramatic film Kelly + Victor, have all had fairly widespread releases in the cinema and/or on DVD.

Vashti Bunyan-From Here To Before-Kieran Evans-2008 film

However, From Here To Before although covered in the press to a certain extent seemed to have a fairly limited cinematic release and then, apart from a few clips that can be viewed online, it seems to have more or less disappeared from view and as far as I know has never had a commercial home release.

(“Vashti Bunyan’s tale of… exile and rediscovery is already one of this century’s most enduring musical legends. Kieran Evans’ gorgeously shot, achingly intimate portrait retraces Bunyan’s infamous voyage by gypsy caravan, from Inner London to the Outer Hebrides, during which she wrote her stunning… 1970 album ‘Just Another Diamond Day’… the film explores a very slim slice of Bunyan’s life in loving detail, pausing only to wonder at the enduring charm and mystery of this prodigious, prodigal talent.” From the Time Out review at the time of the film’s release.)

Anyways recently, almost purely by accident as I wasn’t looking for it, I stumbled upon the film and was able to watch it.

If you should not know about Vashti Bunyan and the subject matter of the documentary, below is a brief précis of the background to it:

Born in 1945, in the mid 1960s Vashti Bunyan worked with Rollings Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham, released two singles which did not sell in great numbers and recorded further songs for Oldham’s Immediate records which remained unreleased for many years.

Vashti Bunyan-From Here To Before-Kieran Evans-2008 film-3

After this she decided to travel with her boyfriend Robert Lewis by horse and cart to the Hebridean Islands to join a commune planned by a friend, fellow singer/songwriter Donovan. During the trip she began writing the songs that eventually became her first album, Just Another Diamond Day, released in 1970.

The album sold very few copies and Vashti Bunyan, discouraged, abandoned her musical career.

By 2000, her album had acquired a cult following and it was re-released, with her work and story becoming inspirational to a new generation of musicians who were loosely connected under labels including freak folk, including Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom.

Vashti Bunyan-From Here To Before-Kieran Evans-2008 film-8

After this re-release and a gap of more than 30 years Vashti Bunyan began recording again, collaborated with contemporary musicians and appeared live. She released the album Lookaftering in 2005 and in 2014 what she said was to be her final album Heartleap (both on Fatcat).

Vashti Bunyan-From Here To Before-Kieran Evans-2008 film-10

Vashti Bunyan: From Here To Before accompanies her as she retraces the horse drawn journey she made with Robert Lewis and sets it against the backdrop of her first high-profile London concert and the associated rehearsals.

The film serves as an entrancing exploration of a youthful journey of exploration and searching and also the associated unreality.

Vashti and her partner appeared to want to step aside from mainstream society and the modern world’s ways of doing things and to seek out some kind of rural, previous era way of of life.

Watching the documentary it was as though they were searching for some pure, unobtainable dream, an escape, refuge and respite from the wider world; to quote Rob Young, they seemed to be undertaking a form of “imaginative time travel”, a wish to get back to the land and simpler ways of life, which seems to have been fairly widespread at the time within certain often folk leaning areas of culture and music.

Vashti Bunyan-From Here To Before-Kieran Evans-2008 film-7

Just Another Diamond Day has become a totem and reflection of such yearnings due in part to the almost dreamlike bucolic subject matter of its songs, its gentle farside of folk delivery and vocals, the almost fantasy like rural atmosphere conjured by the cover image of Vashti Bunyan in period rural clothing and headscarf outside her  cottage where she is accompanied by painted animals and the story of her journey.

However, as she says in the documentary “The songs represented the dream. They didn’t represent reality” and she also says “I wasn’t living in the… beautiful hills, I was living in my head.”

Alongside recording Vashti Bunyan’s thoughts and memories of her journey, life and work as she revisits places from that journey or prepares for a live appearance, contemporary interviews make up part of the film.

Vashti Bunyan-From Here To Before-Kieran Evans-2008 film-11 Vashti Bunyan-From Here To Before-Kieran Evans-2008 film-9

These include amongst others Andrew Loog Oldham, her 1960s producer Joe Boyd, Adem Ihan who is one of the musicians rehearsing for her return to the stage and artist John James who was a companion for parts of the journey.

Vashti Bunyan-From Here To Before-Kieran Evans-2008 film-4

The film also includes archival footage and photographs of Vashti and her partner in their folkloric, late 1960s-esque, gypsy like garb that they wore at the time, clothing that at times is almost medieval and which accompanied by images of them travelling in their horse and cart shows the degree to which they lived out their dreams and attempted to remake their lives in the image of those dreams.

John James comments on how the “leaders” of the journey (by which I assume he means Vashti Bunyan and Robert Lewis) took the dedication, single-mindedness and purity of their quest very seriously with it gaining an almost religious aspect or puritanical zeal.

Vashti Bunyan comments on this saying how she would look disfavourably on people who say went off to get a shop bought chocolate bar and how she wanted everything to be as natural or what she thought of as natural, handmade or created by themselves as possible.

From Here To Before also effectively becomes a document of the landscape as it records her return to locations of her journey and a line could be drawn from its more rural views and capturing of their beauty and Kieran Evans later film The Outer Edges exploration of edgeland landscapes.

Vashti Bunyan-From Here To Before-Kieran Evans-2008 film-2

The realities of Vashti Bunyan and her fellow travellers’ lives during their journey and after that are shown and discussed in the film were far from an idyll as much of it was physically and materially hard, reflecting the practicalities of long distance horse and cart travel in the twentieth century, particularly when undertaken with little financial cushioning, as was so in their case.

Vashti Bunyan-From Here To Before-Kieran Evans-2008 film-12b

The refuge at the end of their horse and cart journey was a cottage in the Outer Hebrides which they eventually settled in for a while and which had a mud floor and a leaky thatched roof (although in From Here To Before Vashti Bunyan remembers being very appreciative after their horse and cart journey of the fact that it had a roof, whatever its condition.)

Vashti Bunyan-From Here To Before-Kieran Evans-2008 film-6

The dream did not last, with her saying in the film that they felt they were not wanted there and in contrast to her interests in the old ways of doing things the local people, particularly the young, were embracing modern ways and the coming of electricity, with the timing of her journey meaning that they arrived just as the old way of life was noticeably changing.

Although not made overly implicit in the film, it seemed that such things caused her to return with her partner to London.

This decision was also due to practical considerations about childbirth when she became pregnant and realising that no matter how beautiful the place and landscape, she actually wanted to be around friends and family (although she talks in the film about an ongoing journey and searching; they later moved variously to The Incredible String Band’s Glen Row cottages, then Ireland and also back to Scotland but did not return to the cottage).

Vashti Bunyan’s music of the time and her journey have created an iconic story, set of images and songs; a modern day fable or almost fairytale.

From Here To Before was made over four years around the mid to later 2000s, when interest in Vashti Bunyan’s work was flowering and she began to express herself again publicly via music and live performance and is a respectful observation of this period in her life and her earlier stories.

Vashti Bunyan-From Here To Before-Kieran Evans-2008 film-5

It is a reflection and exploration of this fable like nature but it also captures the realities and hardships of their journey and subsequent home but without shattering the allure or spell of that dream.

(File under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

Directions and Destinations:
Extract from the film.
Extract from the film #2: Whisper Fairy Stories ‘Til They’re Real

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Other Views / The Patterns Beneath The Plough, The Pylons And Amongst The Edgelands #1: Wanderings #15/52a

britain-from-above-book-bbc-ian-harrison-andrew-marr-a-year-in-the-country-10

I’m quite taken by some of the photographs in Ian Harrison’s Britain From Above book, which accompanied the BBC television series of the same name.

These views of natural and often intertwined created shapes, of the marks upon the land, can be particularly entrancing, to have a beauty all of their own.

At the same time, although it is a very mainstream project / publication (and nothing wrong with that), in parts some of the photographs seem to have a certain resonance that captures / hints at hidden histories and the layered stories of the land and the lives that are lived there.

Or to quote myself “…the pattern beneath the plough, the pylons and amongst the edgelands”.

So, here can be found a few that I was particularly drawn to…

britain-from-above-book-bbc-ian-harrison-andrew-marr-a-year-in-the-country-4

britain-from-above-book-bbc-ian-harrison-andrew-marr-a-year-in-the-country-2britain-from-above-book-bbc-ian-harrison-andrew-marr-a-year-in-the-country-1

britain-from-above-book-bbc-ian-harrison-andrew-marr-a-year-in-the-country-3britain-from-above-book-bbc-ian-harrison-andrew-marr-a-year-in-the-country-5

britain-from-above-book-bbc-ian-harrison-andrew-marr-a-year-in-the-country-6 britain-from-above-book-bbc-ian-harrison-andrew-marr-a-year-in-the-country-8 britain-from-above-book-bbc-ian-harrison-andrew-marr-a-year-in-the-country-9 britain-from-above-book-bbc-ian-harrison-andrew-marr-a-year-in-the-country-11 britain-from-above-book-bbc-ian-harrison-andrew-marr-a-year-in-the-country-12 britain-from-above-book-bbc-ian-harrison-andrew-marr-a-year-in-the-country-7

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

Elsewhere In The The Ether:
Peruse the book here.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Unexpected Arrival Of Spectral Containment Systems #1: Wanderings #14/52a

cover-art-by-new-music-graphics-book-adrian-shaughnessy-ghost-box-records-a-year-in-the-country-1Well, there I was in a bricks and mortar book shop in the middle of nowhere (well, not strictly the middle of nowhere but definitely on its own in the middle of the countryside, a good ten or so miles I’d say from the nearest conurbation of notable size or any nearby dwellings at all)…

…anyways, I was having a good old browse of said bookshop, which is essentially what is sometimes called a bargain book shop (new books but everything is for sale at a reduced cover price)…

And I’m rather pleasantly surprised and impressed as the shelves aren’t filled with just the pile ’em high, ship ’em cheap mainstream titles that is sometimes the case, there’s a sense of selection and curation to this particular selection…

…and then, all of a sudden I came across Ghost Box Records.

Well, not strictly speaking the label/project itself but rather a book by Adrian Shaugnessy called Cover Art By: (subtitled New Music Graphics).

And there on the cover, is a prime slice of Ghost Box / Julian House design.

cover-art-by-new-music-graphics-book-adrian-shaughnessy-ghost-box-records-a-year-in-the-country-3cover-art-by-new-music-graphics-book-adrian-shaughnessy-ghost-box-records-a-year-in-the-country-2

Needless to say, this was in my “shopping basket” as I headed towards the till (read as overfilled arms / staggering with quite a pile of books while I tried to decide which to get).

Anyways, the book is a collection/exploration of the creative/explorative side of music cover art and related record labels, accompanied by interviews with those involved.

(In this sense, it seems like a companion book to sampler2 – art, pop and contemporary graphics, also by Adrian Shaughnessy that I have considered around these parts back when.)

cover-art-by-new-music-graphics-book-adrian-shaughnessy-ghost-box-records-lawrence-english-room-40-a-year-in-the-country-1

Inside can be found an interview with Misters House and Jupp of Ghost Box Records, which provides a good snapshot of a point in time which from reading I think was when they were beginning to move from their early hand finished/CDr days into becoming more of a conventional released label.

cover-art-by-new-music-graphics-john-wells-type-recordings-book-adrian-shaughnessy-ghost-box-records-a-year-in-the-country-1 cover-art-by-new-music-graphics-book-adrian-shaughnessy-ghost-box-records-the-silver-mount-zion-a-year-in-the-country-1b

This section made me smile:

Jim Jupp: “We used to studiously deny the nostalgia element of Ghost Box. But lately we’ve been saying, f* it, what’s so bad about nostalgia? So long as it’s done with a bit of style…”

The book itself was published in 2008 by Laurence King Publishing (and is a good snapshot of a particular point in musical and cultural time and accompanying packaging and sleeve design. It’s currently out of print but can be perused here.

 

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

Intertwined wanderings around these parts:

Day #59/365: Signals and signposts from and via Mr Julian House

Day #64/365: Belbury Poly’s Geography Of Peace

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 #205/365: The interfaces between the old ways/cathode rays; twelve spinnings from an (Electric Edenic) Invisible Ghost (Juke)Box

Day #251/365: Broadcast; constellators and artifacts

Elsewhere in the ether:
Cover Art By:The aforementioned spectral containment systems home in the ether.