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The Quietened Journey – Preorder and Release Dates

Preorder 12th November 2019. Released 6th December 2019.

Preorders will be available at our Artifacts Shop and Bandcamp page.

The album is an exploration of abandoned and former railways, railway stations and roads, a reflection on them as locations filled with the history, ghosts and spectres of once busy vibrant times – the journeys taken via them, the stories of the lives of those who travelled, built and worked on them.

Nature is slowly reclaiming, or has already reclaimed, much of this infrastructure, with these testaments to industry and “the age of the train” being often left to quietly crumble and decay.

The Quietened Journey is both a celebration and a lament for these now faded links across the land, of the grand dreams and determination which created them and their layered histories that – as these asphalt ribbons, steel lines and stone built roads once prominently were – are threaded throughout the twentieth century and even back to Roman times.

Features music and accompanying text by:
Pulselovers
Sproatly Smith
The Séance
Widow’s Weeds
The Heartwood Institute
Depatterning
Howlround
A Year In The Country
Field Lines Cartographer
Dom Cooper and Zosia Sztykowski
Keith Seatman
Grey Frequency

 

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Constructing The Wicker Man and Explorations of the Bright, Beautiful and Serene Anti-Horror of Summerisle from Back When: Wanderings 44/52

Constructing The Wicker Man (2005) is a collection of essays that explore The Wicker Man, edited by Jonathan Murray, Lesley Stevenson, Stephen Harper and Benjamin Franks and based around contributions to an academic conference on the film that took place at the University of Glasgow in 2003.

It was the first time that such an event had focused on The Wicker Man at a point when the film was still going through something of a period of growing critical and cult appreciation. It also forebears more recent academic conferences which focus on flipside of folklore related culture, including A Fiend in the Furrows at Queen’s University in 2014, Child Be Strange: A Symposium on Penda’s Fen at the BFI in 2017,  the various Alchemical Landscape related events at Cambridge University which began in 2015, the Centre for Contemporary Legend’s Folklore on Screen conference at Sheffield Hallam University in 2019, The Geographies of Folk Horror: from the Strange Rural to the Urban Wyrd conference at the Royal Geographic Society in 2019, Folk Horror in the 21st Century conference at Falmouth University in 2019 and the upcoming Contemporary Folk Horror in Film and Media Conference at Leeds Beckett University in 2020.

(I have written about those various events at A Year In The Country previously – see links below.)

The book is particularly rare and in terms of books I’ve sought out during the A Year In The Country wanderings that have been hard to find I would put it next to Brian Freemantle’s novelisation of the 1968 film The Touchables and Filming The Owl Service. Second hand copies of Constructing The Wicker Man do appear online from time to time but often there aren’t any to be found.

In 2006 there was a companion book to it published called The Quest for The Wicker Man that drew from the same conference and was edited by the same people which, while it is currently out of print, seems to have had a wider release and copies can still more frequently be found online and generally at a lower price than Constructing The Wicker Man.

Both books could also be seen as companions to the editions of Allan Brown’s more pop culture orientated exploration of the film Inside The Wicker Man.

There is a link below to an in-depth exploration and analysis of Constructing The Wicker Man at the Offscreen website – one of the few pieces of writing about it I can find. That article ends with a still from The Wicker Man captioned with “Bright, Beautiful and Serene: Anti-horror?”, which quite succinctly captures one of the intriguing and curious contradictions of folk horror and related work; the way that rural areas are often places of beauty, respite and so on – sometimes in the real world, sometimes in the films etc which have been labelled as folk horror – but how within such work this sense of the bucolic has an unsettled flipside.

The Wicker Man’s director and co-writer of the novelisation Robin Hardy also provides writing for both Constructing The Wicker Man and The Quest for The Wicker Man books; a short Foreword in Constructing…, where he describes the film’s now well known stilted and staggered release and slow accumulation towards cult and critical appreciation and a longer piece called The Genesis of The Wicker Man in The Quest… in which he discusses the inspirations and development of the film. Robin Hardy is also interviewed later in the book and Gary Carpenter, who was an arranger-orchestrator on the soundtrack, also contributes an article, all of which adds a nice extra touch of direct connection with those who worked on the film.

Curiously my copy of Quest For The Wicker Man is signed. It was bought as a used item and I’m not sure who it was signed by, as it was not mentioned by the seller. The signature is fairly abstract but I think that it begins with an R, so it may be Robin Hardy.

Hmmm…

 

Elsewhere:

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

 

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Racker & Orphan – Twalif X: Audio Visual Archive 43/52

Booklet artwork from Racker & Orphan’s Twalif X album.

The imagery for the release was created using photographs taken during the outing by Racker & Orphan which were than collaged and intertwined with original artwork by A Year In The Country.

 

“Twalif X is an audio journey through one night; the album was recorded between dusk and dawn on the 12th/13th May 2014 in Robin Wood, Bears Wood, Knott Wood and on Eagle Crag. All recordings were captured on one microphone and processed/mixed by N. Racker.” (Quoted from the album’s accompanying text.)

 

“…sometimes it is as though when listening to Twalif X that you are almost next to these explorers and you find that you have travelled with them to the otherly darker corners of the woodlands and landscape. A work that is both calm and quietly unsettling, experimental with bursts of folkloric melody that appears with the coming of the dawn…” (Quoted from A Year In The Country).

 

Links:

  1. Folklore Tapes
  2. The Hood Faire releases

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

  1. Day #308/365: Artifact #44/52 released; Twalif X – Racker&Orphan limited CD album. Dusk / Dawn / Day / Night Editions.
  2. Twalif X at A Year In The Country’s Soundcloud page – Extract 1
  3. Twalif X at A Year In The Country’s Soundcloud page – Extract 2
  4. Day #7/365: Folklore Tapes; the ferrous reels of arcane research projects…
  5. Day #32/365: Wyrd Britannia, Folklore Tapes, Magpahi, Tales From The Black Meadow and English Libraries
  6. Folklore Tapes and the Wyrd Britannia Festival – Journeying to Hidden Corners of the Land/the Ferrous Reels and Explorations of an Arcane Research Project: Chapter 41 Book Images

 

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The Nightmare Man Part 2 – Frankenstein-like Meddling, Vodaynoid Myths and Exploratory Portals: Wanderings 43/52

Part 2 of a post on the 1981 British television series The Nightmare Man (you can read Part 1 here).

Real world worries of the time around the Soviets gaining a lead in the arms race are also touched on as the Soviet commander reveals that they are “20 years ahead” of the West in terms of creating functioning cybernetic man-machine technology.

Cybernetics is often used to refer to the scientific study of how information is communicated in machines and electronic devices, comparing this with how information is communicated in the brain and nervous system, with a connected interest and research in the possible linking of the two. Science fiction often seems to have been fascinated by the idea of cybernetics and the controlling of machines and electronic devices by a literal physical connection with them via say a brain implants etc, whereas in reality the advances and digital technology becoming ubiquitous to a level that previously would have been science fiction like has almost exclusively focused on the continued physical separation of brain and device. Watched today the “cybernetics-gone-awry” nature of The Nightmare Man seems to connect with an almost primal human fear of Frankenstein-like unnatural meddling in the correct order of things.

Curiously at the end of the series when the police officers are shown discussing what has happened there is an almost light-hearted dismissiveness, as though the washing up of advanced Soviet military technology on their shores, the deaths of a number of island inhabitants by a deranged cybernetically enhanced pilot, the arrival of a secret Soviet military task force on the island and so on were just slightly out of the ordinary occurrences rather than quite extreme and almost fantastical.

In tone and thematically the series connects with previous British science fiction, in particular Doctor Who and Quatermass and the Pit; with different characters its four half-hour episodes and the battle with a science fiction horror-esque creature could well be a Doctor Who story, which often followed a similar format and themes and the sense that to some degree the Vodyanoid craft has its own nervous system and is alive appears to be an implicit nod or connection to the characteristics of the mysterious craft discovered in Quatermass and the Pit.

This connection with Doctor Who is further emphasised as the series was adapted by Ron Craddock, who wrote and edited a number of Doctor Who scripts and it was directed by Who veteran Douglas Camfield. Less overtly there is a further connection as the attacker was played by Pat Gorman who played a number of bit and supporting characters over the years and appeared in 83 episodes of Doctor Who.

Initially when the Soviet commander presents himself in military uniform and declares martial law and a state of emergency it is also reminiscent of the fictional Doctor Who military organisation UNIT which was prominent in the series in the later 1960s and part of the 1970s. This organisation’s purpose was to investigate and combat paranormal and extraterrestrial threats to the Earth and they often collaborated with the Doctor.

Despite being based in technological advances, there is an almost preternatural aspect to the Vodyanoid and its sense of being alive, along with that the research by the Soviets that created it and the pilots appears to have been rooted in part in esoteric fringe areas of science such as mind control. This otherworldly aspect is also heightened by it being named after the Vodyanoi which the Soviet commander explains is a deadly creature of Russian mythology which can fly above the water or deep beneath it.

For myself there is a further connection with Quatermass and the discovery of more cerebral science fiction and fantasy; I watched the series when it was first broadcast in the early 1980s and bought the television tie-in release of the novel from a selection of reduced price books in a local newsagent. From the same book racks I also bought Nigel Kneale’s adaptation of the final series of Quatermass and the 1981 reissue of Hank Stine’s The Prisoner: A Day In The Life, based on the iconic 1960s television series.

This was at a time when to grow up in a small British town meant that your access to more exploratory or non-mainstream culture was very limited and that rack of bargain books became an almost magical portal-like seeming selection or part of the world to a young chap (something I have referred to before around these parts and which some of the roots of A Year In The Country may well be traced in part back to). Such at the time heady discoveries incorporated seeking the like of the less mainstream sides of science fiction and fantasy via discovering the likes of Michael Moorcock in a local bookshop, Quality Communications comic anthology Warrior that included early episodes of Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s dystopian V for Vendetta alongside the also Quality published House of Hammer/Halls of Horror anthologies that featured an adaptation of The Quatermass Xperiment and even The Rocky Horror Picture Show seen view a late night television broadcast.

I am not sure that I fully understood what much of this culture was at the time as I was probably a little too young but looking back I think that one of the things I was being drawn to was not purely then contemporary science fiction but rather a strand of work that connected back to when “the likes of ‘speculative fiction’ magazine New Worlds and Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius captured and expressed a moment where science fiction and related writing was hiply, exploratively psych like” (to quote myself at A Year In The Country) – a point when science fiction intertwined with and was an expression of the counter-culture and work of a more exploratory nature.

 

Elsewhere:

  1. The Nightmare Man DVD
  2. A very particular period snapshot: the opening and closing continuity announcements for the opening episode of BBC1’s 1981 thriller series “The Nightmare Man”, posted by The TV Museum
  3. New Worlds Magazine
  4. Warrior Comics

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

  1. The Nightmare Man – Cold War Paranoia, The Island as Restorative Balm and Unsettling “Other”: Wanderings 42/52
  2. Peter Haars, New Worlds and the Slipstream of the Future’s Past: Wanderings, Explorations and Signposts 42/52
  3. The Stone Tape, Quatermass, The Road and The Twilight Language of Nigel Kneale – Unearthing Tales from Buried Ancient Pasts: Chapter 40 Book Images
  4. Day #197/365: Huff-ity puff-ity ringstone round; Quatermass and the finalities of lovely lightning
  5. The Prisoner – Part 1 – A Visit to a Real Life High-Definition Dream: Wanderings 33/52
  6. The Prisoner – Part 2 – Ongoing Battles and a Circle of Escape: Wanderings 34/52
  7. Day #312/365: The closing of corner shop portals, island nocturnes and a revisiting of transmissions from after the flood

 

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Grey Frequency – Immersion: Audio Visual Archive 42/52

Print artwork from Grey Frequency’s Immersion (created by AYITC Ocular Signals Department utilising visual work/source material by Gavin Morrow).

 

“Ethereal ambient transmissions… Through the manipulation of found sounds and field recordings Grey Frequency explores themes of memory, folklore, and the world of audio disintegration. Soundscapes are crafted using audio cassettes, tape players and effects pedals, creating an atmospheric blend of lo-fi ambient textures, dense drones and abstract musical passages.” (Text written by Grey Frequency.)

 

Links:

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

 

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The Nightmare Man Part 1 – Cold War Paranoia, The Island as Restorative Balm and Unsettling “Other”: Wanderings 42/52

The Nightmare Man is a British science fiction horror tinged four part mini-series originally broadcast in 1981, adapted from David Wiltshire’s 1978 novel Child of Vodyanoi.

It is set on a small-ish remote Scottish island where the inhabitants start to be attacked and murdered by an unknown assailant with the beyond human strength to literally tear their victims apart and non-human characteristics and for a while during the series there is various debate about whether the attacker could be of alien origin or even a previously undiscovered sea creature or monster.

As the series progresses the island becomes almost completely isolated from the outside world and any possible external help as a heavy fog descends making nagivation to or from it impossible. Radio signals appear to possibly be jammed and the phone lines are cut; as is often the case in fantastical horror orientated work remote rural areas are shown as being the “other” and detached from civilisation and its extensive infrastructure and support of the forces of law and order, something which is further enhanced in the series in a Wicker Man-esque manner by the island location.

Four local police officers are left to try and contain and capture the killer on 35 miles of largely rural landscape made inaccessible due to the inclement weather conditions, although there does appear to be a curious amount of near-military and armed support for them; the local dentist is an ex army-partrooper, one of the local holiday makers is a military man, the local coastguard are armed and their hunt for the attacker the police are able to collect together and lead bands of nearly forty locals who possess their own firearms.

In the UK the ownership of firearms has traditionally been largely heavily restricted and limited, particularly in urban areas but the fact that so many of the locals in this rural coastal area have easy access to them subconsciously provides a further sense of remove from more mainstream mainland society; although the ownership of such weapons is likely to have been largely due to sport and/or agricultural pest control reasons, this is not made implicit in the series and so the viewer is left with a sense of such areas being almost frontier like places where normal societal restrictions and expectations do not hold such a sway as in urban areas.

Shot largely on location and recorded on video the series’ imagery and colour palette has a murky, low definition appearance and is all subdued greys and greens that are distinctive of a large proportion of drama from the 1970s and 1980s; also much of the series is shot at night, in daytime shadowed underlit locations and/or through heavy fog and it is often difficult to fully make out what is happening onscreen. This is accompanied by the viewer being kept in the dark about the attacker’s origins, rationale or even what it is and for a large part of the series the attacker is also not shown onscreen which adds to the sense of menace and tension.

Further heightening this when the attacker does appear the viewer is shown the scene from its viewpoint and the image becomes heavily tinted with a red haze, accompanied by laboured, heavy and unnatural sounding breathing.

This is a technically simple device that is far removed from today’s CGI-heavy large budget special effects and although the physical aspects and dismembering are referred to by the characters there is little onscreen violence and no gore but the presence of the attacker still creates a strong sense of threat and terror utilising minimal resources and without the use of overly explicit graphic imagery.

Although the rural coastal landscape is presented in a somewhat bleak or dour manner this is still the type of area associated with calm, rest, a steady way of life and vacations, which is referred to in the series in particular by one of the lead characters who has returned to live there after London and says that she knows she will live on the island forever as it is home and where she belongs. The contrast with such day-to-day calm and normal expectations and the sudden almost alien seeming appearance of the attacker’s red hazed vision makes for shocking and unsettling viewing.

The contrasting aspects of the restorative nature of the landscape and the events that take place there is given further expression in the closing sections and credits; the ends of the first three episodes freeze on a still of these red hazed attacks, the discovery of a victim and the fear of an onlooker seeing an attack who is also a potential victim, all of which then fade into the gentle waves of a grey misty rural cliff top coastline as the credits roll. Once the theme music fades out there are a few brief seconds where the only noise is a very lonely and isolated seeming recording of the wind.

Later on in the series the attacker’s origins are discovered to be rooted in the international tensions and arms technology research of the time, which adds a plausible period aspect of Cold War related paranoia and also layers the sense of threat in the series with real world worries and fears; it is explained that a NATO submarine was trailing a Soviet submarine and there was a collision and a nuclear accident, the fallout from which caused the malfunction of a small Soviet experimental craft called a Vodyanoid and the irradiation of its pilot, who has been genetically modified to increase his strength and was cybernetically connected via a brain implant with his craft.

The Vodyanoid’s pilot had made an emergency landing on the island; it is explained in the plot that disconnecting from the Vodyanoid normally required skilled handlers, who because of the situation are not present and so when the pilot disembarks he literally leaves part of his brain in the craft’s cybernetics, with him being left as a deranged madman operating only on a remaining instinct to kill that has been honed and enhanced over years of military training.

This is told by the holidaying military man who after attempting to present himself as a British military leader and placing the island under martial law in an attempt to control the situation is ultimately revealed to be the leader of a specialised Soviet military unit, which comes to the island in order to reclaim the Vodyanoid craft and hopefully avoid an international incident. The craft is revealed to be carrying a biological warfare weapon which has leaked and the Soviets supply the local population with an antidote.

This aspect of the plot further heightens the series’ connection with Cold War paranoia; the “nobody wins” aspects of suspected biological warfare and the sense of hidden subterranean international activity by the Soviets, alongside which UK national sovereignty is invaded with impunity and without effective resistance by a a Soviet military taskforce. Also the pilot of the Vodyanoid leaves a radioactive trail due to his being caught in the blast from the nuclear submarine collision and when in the series a geiger counter is activated by his presence there is a sense of the nuclear dangers of the Cold War coming into contact with the day-to-day world…

To be continued in Part 2 (which, depending on when you are reading this, may not yet be online).

 

Elsewhere:

  1. The Nightmare Man DVD
  2. A very particular period snapshot: the opening and closing continuity announcements for the opening episode of BBC1’s 1981 thriller series “The Nightmare Man”, posted by The TV Museum

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

  1. The Nightmare Man Part 2 – Frankenstein-like Meddling, Vodaynoid Myths and Exploratory Portals: Wanderings 43/52
  2. Day #183/365: Steam engine time and remnants of transmissions before the flood
  3. Day #212/365: With but a tap and a swoosh; the loss of loss and paper encapturings of once fleeting televisual flickerings…

 

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The Corn Mother: Audio Visual Archive 41/52

Cover art variation from The Corn Mother.

The album features music by Gavino Morretti, Pulselovers, The Heartwood Institute, United Bible Studies, Dominic Cooper, A Year In The Country, Widow’s Weeds, Depatterning, Sproatly Smith and Field Lines Cartographer.

 

Reflections on an imaginary film:

In the early 1970s a folk horror-esque screenplay made the rounds of the film industry but remained unmade until 1982.

The story is set in the late 19th century in a rural British village and revolves around the folklore of the “corn mother” – where the last row of the corn harvest is beaten to the ground by the reapers in an attempt to drive the spirit of the corn mother back into the earth for next year’s sowing.

The small closely-knit farming community’s worries about coming modernisation and the possible repeat of a blighted harvest that had occurred earlier in the village’s history, lead to burgeoning irrational fears and a search for a scapegoat who they persecute in order to salve those fears. Suffering from guilt and remorse at their actions, the villagers become plagued by nightmares in which their selected scapegoat returns to them to exact her revenge, and this becomes known as “the visiting of the corn mother”. The plot descends into a maelstrom where reality and unreality merge and the village becomes the kingdom of the corn mother.

The film was completed but was never released due to financial problems with the production company which resulted in legal wrangles, unpaid fees and recriminations, during which knowledge of the whereabouts of the footage became lost, with rumours suggesting that it may have been deliberately destroyed. It has been reported that a handful of preview copies of the film were made available on the now defunct formats of the time and these have become something of a mythical grail for film collectors.

This album is an exploration of the whispers that tumble forth from the corn mother’s kingdom, whisperings that have seemed to gain a life of their own, multiplying and growing louder with each passing year.

 

“You want to see the film as described in the liner notes, and as conjured in the songs on the album, and that’s an incredible trick to pull off… This is hauntology – the genre, rather than the philosophical dystopic – in its finest form, where buried memories of film, TV, music, and life come to the surface, often unverifiable because the hard copy has been lost or was never properly recorded in the first instance.” Alan Boon, Starburst

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

 

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The A Year In The Country: Straying From The Pathways Book – Released

Hidden Histories, Echoes of the Future’s Past and the Unsettled Landscape

The book is available at:
Amazon UK, US, France, Germany and their various other international sites.
The A Year In The Country Artifacts Shop and our Bandcamp site.
Lulu.com

Author: Stephen Prince. 238 pages. Paperback and Ebook.

In keeping with the number of months in a year, A Year In The Country: Straying from the Pathways is split into 12 chapters, which travel from eerie landscapes and folk horror to the dysfunctional utopian visions of Brutalist architects via hazily misremembered cultural memories.

The book explores the wider realm of “otherly pastoralism” and its intertwining with the lost futures and parallel worlds of hauntology. It examines such varied and curiously interconnected topics as the faded modernity and “future ruins” of British road travel; apocalyptic “empty city” films; dark fairy tales; the political undercurrents of the 1980s; idyllic villages gone rogue; photographic countercultural festival archives and experiments in “temporary autonomous zones”.

The book also discusses film, television and books, including: Requiem, Prince of Darkness, The Prisoner, The Company of Wolves, Detectorists, A Very Peculiar Practice, Edge of Darkness, Day of the Triffids, Penda’s Fen, High-Rise, The Living and the Dead, Night of the Comet, In the Company of Ghosts: The Poetics of the Motorway, The Twilight Language of Nigel Kneale, GB84, This Brutal World and The Fountain in the Forest, as well as music that draws from, or interconnects with, hauntological spectres and reimaginings of the past, including hypnagogic pop, synthwave and the work of Ghost Box Records, Adrian Younge, D.A.L.I., Grey Frequency, The Ghost in the MP3, DJ Shadow and Howlround amongst others.

The book is edited and typeset by Ian Lowey of Bop Cap Book Services.

Chapter list:

1. Explorations of an Eerie Landscape: Texte und Töne – The Disruption, The Changes, The Edge is Where the Centre is: David Rudkin and Penda’s Fen: An Archaeology, The Twilight Language of Nigel Kneale, The Stink Still Here – the miners’ strike 1984-85 – Robert Macfarlane – Benjamin Myers’ Under the Rock: The Poetry of a Place

2. Fractured Dream Transmissions and a Collapsing into Ghosts: John Carpenter – Prince of Darkness, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Village of the Damned, Christine – Nigel Kneale – Martin Quatermass – John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos

3. Hinterland Tales of Hidden Histories and Unobserved Edgeland Transgressions: Adrian McKinty’s In the Morning I’ll Be Gone – Clare Carson’s Orkney Twilight – David Peace’s GB84 – Tony White’s The Fountain in the Forest

4. Countercultural Archives and Experiments in Temporary Autonomous Zones: Jeremy Sandford and Ron Reid’s Tomorrow’s People – Richard Barnes’ The Sun in the East: Norfolk & Suffolk Fairs – Sam Knee’s Memory of a Free Festival: The Golden Era of the British Underground Festival Scene – Gavin Watson’s Raving ’89 – Molly Macindoe’s Out of Order: The Underground Rave Scene 1997-2006

5. The Village and Seaside Idyll Gone Rogue: Hot Fuzz – The Avengers’ “Murdersville” – The Prisoner – In 
My Mind – Malcolm Pryce’s Aberystwyth Mon Amour

6. Albion in the Overgrowth and Timeslip Echoes: Requiem – The Living and the Dead – Britannia – Detectorists

7. In Cars – Building a Better Future, Peculiarly Subversive Enchantments and Faded Futuristic Glamour:
 In the Company of Ghosts: The Poetics of the Motorway – Joe
 Moran’s On Roads: A Hidden History – Chris Petit’s Radio 
On – Autophoto – Martin Parr’s Abandoned Morris Minors of the West of Ireland – The Friends of Eddie Coyle – Killing Them Softly – Langdon Clay’s Cars: New York City 1974-76

8. Brutalism, Reaching for the Sky and Bugs in Utopia: Peter Chadwick’s This Brutal World – Bladerunner – J.G.
Ballard – Ben Wheatley – High-Rise – Peter Mitchell’s
 Memento Mori – Brick High-Rise

9. Battles with the Old Guard and the Continuing sparking of Vivid Undercurrents: 
A Very Peculiar Practice – Edge of Darkness

10. Lycanthropes, Dark Fairy Tales and the Dangers of Wandering off the Path: 
The Company of Wolves – Danielle Dax – Red Riding Hood – Wolfen – Hansel & Gretel: Witchhunters – The Keep

11. The Empty City Film and Other Visions of the End of Days – Survival and Shopping in the Post-Apocalypse:
 Day of the Triffids – Into the Forest – Night of the Comet –
The Quiet Earth

12. Universe Creation, Spectral Lines in the Cultural Landscape and Reimagined Echoes from the Past:
 Hauntology – Hypnagogic Pop – Synthwave – D.A.L.I.’s
 When Haro Met Sally – Nocturne’s Dark Seed – Beyond the 
Black Rainbow – Mo’ Wax, UNKLE, Tricky, Massive Attack, Portishead, DJ Shadow, Andrea Parker – Ghost Box Records, 
 The Focus Group, Belbury Poly – The Memory Band – The Delaware Road – Rowan : Morrison – Howlround – Mark Fisher – the BBC Radiophonic Workshop – Adrian Younge’s Electronique Void – DJ Food – Grey Frequency – Keith Seatman – Douglas Powell – Akiha Den Den – The Ghost in the MP3 – Black Channels – The Quietened Village – The Corn Mother

“Chock full of treasures, both well-known and obscure… the twelve chapters tackle their subjects in an accessible yet scholarly manner, never shying away from often weighty concepts but never using unnecessarily complex language when simple terms will do… Simply put, A Year in the Country: Straying from the Pathways is a delight, and will thrill existing seekers of hauntological fare as well as serve as an introductory hit to those yet to sample its enchantments.” Alan Boon, Starburst

“Author Prince’s eye remains firmly fixed on things you may not have seen, even when you were watching them…  takes reality as its starting point, and not only makes its weirdness tangible, it tells you why as well.” Dave Thompson, Goldmine

“Straying From The Pathways is a comprehensive and hugely satisfying read, both as a book and as a reference guide to the liminal and the eerie in popular culture. There are numerous rabbit holes and recommendations for the reader in which to wander or to explore, and the book as a whole rewards repeated readings, such is the wealth of ideas or intriguing cross-referencing between genres and mediums… Highly recommended; a haunted house of a book that you will wish to frequent time and time again.” Grey Malkin, Moof

 

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The Dangers of Straying from the Path and Tales of Lycanthropy Part 4 – A Consideration of Red Riding Hood, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, The Company of Wolves and their Varying Degrees of Separation from Folk Horror: Wanderings 41/52

Part 4 of a post that takes as some of its starting points the folk/fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, the films The Company of Wolves, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and Red Riding Hood, alongside “The dangers of straying from the path and tales of lycanthropy” (visit Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here).

The Wicker Man Collage-A Year In The Country-1080

As a final point or few in connection to such things, would it be fair to describe the likes of The Company of Wolves, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and Red Riding Hood as folk horror? They might not be directly connected to what has become a fairly compact near canon of folk horror cinema that includes at its core the films The Wicker Man (1973), Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971) and Witchfinder General (1968) but they do appear to contain some similarities with work that has come to be connected with folk horror.

To quote myself in the A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields book folk horror could be defined as often containing:

“…a sense of their inhabitants living in, or becoming isolated from, the wider world, allowing moral beliefs to become untethered from the dominant norms and allowing the space for ritualistic, occult, supernatural or preternatural events, actions and consequences to occur.”

A number of those characteristics can be found in The Company of Wolves et al, while their source material is often folk and/or fairy tales and they are all horror films in part. The communities they focus on often do appear isolated and in say Red Riding Hood there appears to be a breakdown of the rule of law and its restrictions on the arbitrary exercise of power, with their isolation enabling such actions to be undertaken in a relatively unfettered manner.

In The Company of Wolves and Red Riding Hood there is a kicking back against the authority and advice given by elders but this is more due to rites of passage rebellion than necessarily due purely to isolation from the wider world.

To a degree Red Riding Hood and Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters could be considered connected to but not strictly folk horror in the subcultural sense that has flourished in recent years, while The Company of Wolves may possibly be more closely connected or entwined with it. In part those different degrees of closeness and separation are due to the way in which folk horror has often become a genre definition that refers to work of a more cult, subcultural and less mainstream commercial nature.

Such differing degrees of separation may in part be due as much to the mainstream, escapist, commercial and non-cult film nature of Red Riding Hood and Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters as much as their cultural differences.

 

Elsewhere:

  1. The Company of Wolves trailer
  2. The Company of Wolves DVD and Blu-ray
  3. Red Riding Hood’s trailer
  4. Red Riding Hood DVD and Blu-ray
  5. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters DVD and Blu-ray
  6. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters trailer
  7. Folk Horror Revival
  8. The Book of the Lost
  9. A Fiend in the Furrows
  10. Robin Redbreast DVD
  11. The Wicker Man Wikia

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

  1. The Dangers of Straying from the Path and Tales of Lycanthropy Part 1 – The Cautionary Warnings of Little Red Riding Hood and The Company of Wolves: Wanderings 38/52
  2. The Dangers of Straying from the Path and Tales of Lycanthropy Part 2 – The Company of Wolves, the Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax and the Bridging of Worlds: Wanderings 39/52
  3. The Dangers of Straying from the Path and Tales of Lycanthropy Part 3 – Hollywood Dons the Red Cloak Once More and Reveals “What They Did Next”: Wanderings 40/52

 

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The Quietened Mechanisms: Audio Visual Archive 40/52

Artwork variation from The Quietened Mechanisms.

 

The album is an exploration of abandoned and derelict industry, infrastructure, technology and equipment that once upon a time helped to create, connect and sustain society.

It wanders amongst deserted factories, discarded machinery, closed mines, mills and kilns and their echoes and remains; taking a moment or two to reflect on these once busy, functioning centres of activity and the sometimes sheer scale or amount of effort and human endeavour that was required to create and operate such structures and machines, many of which are now just left to fade away.

Features music and accompanying text on the tracks by Howlround, Grey Frequency, Listening Center, Sproatly Smith, Embertides, Keith Seatman, Time Attendant, A Year In The Country, Dom Cooper, Field Lines Cartographer, Vic Mars, Depatterning, Pulselovers, Quaker’s Stang, The Heartwood Institute and Spaceship.

 

“The theme of the… collection is the end of Britain’s industrial revolution, a period of social and geological turmoil whose ruins still litter the landscape, especially in the Midlands and North of England. This isn’t industrial nostalgia… but an often poignant commemoration.” John Coulthart, Feuilleton

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

 

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Echoes And Reverberations Reviews and Broadcasts (and Something of a Revisiting of The Quietened Village, The Corn Mother, The Quietened Bunker, The Watchers, The Quietened Mechanisms and All The Merry Year Round)


A selection of the reviews, broadcasts etc of the Echoes And Reverberations album:

“Amongst the hypnotic electronica from Grey Frequency, Listening Center and The Heartwood Institute are recreations of the atmospheres of Penda’s Fen, Survivors and No Blade of Grass, as well as pieces inspired by the scripts and soundtracks of imaginary films. The music is enhanced by field recordings from the length and breadth of our sceptred isles – from a suspension bridge in Herefordshire, a church in Worcestershire, a graveyard in Chiswick and a viaduct in the Lake District – and the end result is bewitching and enthralling, transporting you from wherever you’re hiding out the current hellscape to more comfortable, if apocalyptic, times and places.” Alan Boon, Starburst, issue 465. Visit the review online here and the print edition of the magazine here.

“…audio Polaroids of a secret cartography… a gentle lullaby for post-dystopian dreams.” Joe Banks, Shindig!, issue 95

“…every fresh listen adds another layer of understanding – or, perhaps, misunderstanding – to the experience, to conjure fresh and further phantoms around the dimly remembered moments of a decades-old TV show…” Dave Thompson, Spincycle at Goldmine

“The Radiophonic Workshop is the ghost at this particular feast… Dom Cooper’s What Has Been Uncovered Is Evil takes the Hammer film of Quatermass and the Pit as its focus, creating a soundscape of sinister electronics in a nod to Tristram Carey’s Martian soundtrack…” John Coulthart, feuilleton

“…rain drops, sun clocks and piano painted soundscapes bring listeners from the bucolic settings of its predecessors into a worldly odyssey of global kaleidoscopic changes” Eoghan Lyn, We Are Cult

“Sproatly Smith merge hazy dreamlike folk with eerie, ominous soundscaping in a piece inspired by the post-apocalyptic 70s TV series Survivors. The Ogham Stones by Depatterning imagines pagan carvings from County Wexford via brooding electronic experimentation incorporating surreal use of folk motifs. The collection holds together as a cohesive album with a shared aesthetic. Many of the pieces have an unsettling nature and sound believably like incidental music from vintage horror films.” Kim Harten, Bliss Aquamarine

“Pressed with a softly surging wide screen aspect, [Grey Frequency’s] King Penda deftly looms with impacting grace, much like some celestial watcher in the skies approaching, arriving and eventually departing our solar postcode, its pulsating kosmische toning emanating both a curiously radiance which at once serves as a mixed messenger herald of tranquil peace like welcoming or else a foreboding dark shadow of portent.” Mark Barton, The Sunday Experience

And then on to the radio etc broadcasts:

The Unquiet Meadow played something of a smorgasboard from the album across three episodes and included tracks by Sproatly Smith, The Heartwood Institute, Pulselovers and Grey Frequency. Visit the episodes here, here and here. Their Facebook page can be found here.

Steve Baker played The Heartwood Institute’s Ribble Head Viaduct on his On The Wire radio show, which has been something of a stalwart amongst the radio waves for several decades. Originally broadcast on BBC Radio Lancashire, the show is archived at Mixcloud and its blog is here.

Sunrise Ocean Bender played Pulselover’s and Grey Frequency’s tracks (alongside a track from sometimes fellow AYITC traveller Keith Seatman) on the Of Course As Well episode of their radio show. Originally broadcast on WRIR, the show is archived at Mixcloud and its blog post can be found here.

The Gated Canal Community Radio, hosted by Front & Follow and The Geography Trip, played Grey Frequency’s King Penda on their sohw (alongside a track by Polypores, another sometimes fellow AYITC traveller). Originally broadcast on Reform Radio, the show is archived at Mixcloud and the Gated Canal Community Radio website is here.

The Séance also played King Penda on their phantom seaside radio show (where you will also find some of Jodie Lowther’s intriguing work). Originally broadcast on Radio Reverb, totallyradio and Sine FM, the show is archived at Mixcloud and the episodes track listing can be found at their website here.

Mind De-Coder included Pulselovers The Edge Of The Cloud in amongst the otherly pastoral and psychedelic wanderings of its show, where you will also find the likes of Moon Wiring Club, Folklore Tapes, a track from the Ghost Box released Chanctonbury Rings, Meg Baird and some archival Tangerine Dream.  The show is archived at Mixcloud and the accompanying blog post can be found here.

And then returning to some broadcasts of previous AYITC albums:

Golden Apples of the Sun included several AYITC released tracks amongst their journeys through “psych-tinged realms, pastoral folk, glitch, lo-fi electronica, hauntology and hypnagogic pop… a world beyond time, where the past and future intermingle in sun-dappled hallucinogenic soundscapes of strange and beautiful music”.

Included on the Tripping on Birdsong episode of the show were Sproatly Smith’s Watching You, Phonofiction’s Xylem Flow and Widow’s Weeds ft Kitchen Cynics The Brave Old Oak from The Watchers and also Depatterning’s The Keepers Dilemma from The Corn Mother, where they can be found alongside tracks by The Valerie Project, The Advisory Circle, Espers, Carl Sagan, The Twelve Hour Foundation and Jane Weaver. Originally broadcast on RTR FM, a resequenced version of the show is archived at Mixcloud and its accompanying blog post is here.

The Present Continuous, a project which explores the fringes and avant-garde of music and audio, included The Heartwood Institute’s Corn Dolly from The Corn Mother album, alongside the likes of Howlround and Belbury Poly in their Folk Horor and Hauntology Special. The show is archived at Mixcloud here and their site is here.

And finally, something of a repeat mention for:

Bob Fischer’s The Haunted Generation, which featured an interview with AYITC and a discussion about Echoes And Reverberations alongside “pastoral headspace, Cold War dread, Rob Young’s Electric Eden book, Noah’s Castle, Ghost Box, The Prisoner, his new book/album” and a fair bit more. Visit that at The Haunted Generation website here and the post about it at AYITC here.

And an A Year In The Country Special of the Kites and Pylons radio show, which featured tracks from Echoes And Reverberations, The Quietened Village, The Quietened Bunker, The Corn Mother, The Quietened Mechanisms, The Watchers and All The Merry Year Round by The Heartwood Institute, Listening Center, Field Lines Cartographer, Cosmic Neighbourhood, Keith Seatman, Time Attendant, Quaker’s Stang, A Year In The Country, Pulselovers, Howlround, Circle/Temple and Grey Frequency. Originally broadcast on Mad Wasp Radio, the show is archived at Mixcloud here and the post about it at AYITC is here.

Thanks and a tip of the hat to all concerned. Much appreciated.

Echoes And Reverberations is a field recording based mapping of real and imaginary film and television locations. It is a reflection on the way in which areas – whether rural, urban, or edgeland – can become permeated with such tales and undercurrents, creating a landscape of the imagination where fact and fiction intertwine. Each track contains field recordings from one such journey and their seeking of the spectral will-o’-the-wisps of locations’ imagined or often hidden flipsides.

The album features music and accompanying text on the tracks by Grey Frequency, Pulselovers, Dom Cooper, Listening Center, Howlround, A Year In The Country, Sproatly Smith, Field Lines Cartographer, Depatterning and The Heartwood Institute.

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

 

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The Dangers of Straying from the Path and Tales of Lycanthropy Part 3 – Hollywood Dons the Red Cloak Once More and Reveals “What They Did Next”: Wanderings 40/52

Part 3 of a post that takes as some of its starting points the folk/fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, the film The Company of Wolves and “The dangers of straying from the path and tales of lycanthropy” (visit Part 1 here and Part 2 here).

As mentioned in Part 1 the fairy/folk tale of Little Red Riding hood has had an enduring and near ubiquitous presence and even many centuries later is still repeatedly reinterpreted and used as inspiration for film and television dramas, one of which is The Company of Wolves, a 1984 film directed by Neil Jordan.

A more recent take on the tale was Red Riding Hood, a 2011 film directed by Catherine Hardwicke and which is very loosely based on its source material. This version has been called a “romance horror”, which is not all that surprising once you learn that Catherine Hardwicke also directed Twilight (2008), which was a form of “vampire romance horror” aimed at teenagers/younger adults and was a large-scale commercial success that went on to take nearly 400 million US dollars at the box office.

Red Riding Hood may have been a conscious or not attempt to see “if it worked for vampires, it might also work for werewolves.”

Red Riding Hood takes the original tale’s possible focusing on the passage to maturity and woman hood of a young girl and transplants it more into the landscape of post-teenage angst, rebelling again parental approval and the eventual triumphing of a love which they disapprove of.

This 2011 take on the fairy tale sits alongside other contemporary television and cinema reinterpretations of mythology and fairy tales that includes the likes of television series Grimm (2011-2017), which was a form of police procedural set in a contemporary world where mythological creatures exist and Once Upon a Time (2011-2018) in which characters from various fairy tales and other stories have been transported to a real world town while also being robbed of their original memories and the film Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), which has been described as being a “dark fantasy action horror comedy film” (y’kno’, just to make sure it appeals to the fan base of as many different genres as possible).

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is set in an unspecified time period probably hundreds of years ago and is very loosely inspired by the original German fairy tale Hansel & Gretel where a young brother and sister are kidnapped by a witch who lives in a forest, in a house constructed of all kinds of sweets, cakes etc, where she intends to fatten up the brother before eating him. In the original version the children do eventually defeat the witch and escape to live “happily ever after” with their family but in the 2013 film they defeat the witch and become famed roving witch hunters.

Essentially it is a sequel to the original Hansel & Gretel fairy tale, a suggesting of “what they did next and what became of their lives after they had been through a traumatic experience”. Although not necessarily overtly expressed, this is something of a divergence to a degree from standard genre film tropes, where often a story ends at the point when the foe has been vanquished or soon after and before any potentially complex longstanding emotional and psychological after effects can be seen.

However (please note: spoiler alert) there is no need to worry as Hansel & Gretel do ultimately defeat their latest witch foes – although the film ends with a sense that their quest is unending and that they have now added new younger recruits to their cause. In a way, while it could be argued that while there are still evil witches loose in the world that their work is necessary in terms of fighting the good fit, it could also be suggested that their lives have been permanently scarred and set along a possibly never ending particular path of seeking out and even acts of vengeance by their previous experiences.

The film is at heart a blockbuster action romp and a popcorn friendly piece of cinematic escapism, which while being set in times gone by adds a number of contemporary touches to the story and technology portrayed; the duo’s weaponry is a steampunk-esque take on period weaponry and the forced diet of candy that the witch inflicted on Hansel has left him diabetic and he needs an insulin shot every few hours or he will die.

The 2011 film Red Riding Hood also brings a contemporary aspect to its source material in that it contains a considerable amount of ambiguity and darkness; in it a village is threatened by a mystical wolf creature/a werewolf and the story revolves largely around Valerie, who is the red hood/cape wearing Little Red Riding Hood character (albeit more a young woman than a young girl).

In order to defeat the wolf a renowned witch hunter from outside the village called Father Solomon is asked for help. His actions increasingly blur the lines between good and evil as he employs increasingly harsh authoritarian and questionable methods in his quest to discover and kill the werewolf, possibly causing more death and distress than his foe does. He imposes his dictatorial will on the village via his group of heavily armed men, who could be seen to be a paramilitary force of questionable authority.

All this is done under his declaration and justification that “We do this for the greater good”.

Although his men seem fairly disposable and prone to being despatched by the wolf, for a good portion of the film Father Solomon himself appears near omnipotent, if somewhat ineffective in his quest but quite suddenly his reign ends and he himself is first possibly mortally wounded by the wolf and finally turned on and killed by one of his own men. Even at the end he maintains that his actions were undertaken for higher moral purposes:

“I only meant to serve. To protect us from darkness.”

As with much werewolf, vampire etc genre fiction and film, Red Riding Hood contains its own mythology on restrictions that are placed on the werewolves actions and abilities; here the wolf cannot enter Holy/church grounds, although this is not explained why, just as say often in fictional work vampire’s cast no reflection in mirrors for largely unexplained reasons and they are particularly defenceless against Holy water, crosses and so forth.

In Red Riding Hood the inability to enter Holy ground seems to imply that the werewolf is inherently evil, which appears to be at odds with the film’s ambiguity about the creatures, their motives and their position on the scale of good and evil – something which is particularly highlighted due to the ambiguous nature and actions of Father Solomon.

Initially the ending of Red Riding Hood appears to connect with Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters in a sense of acknowledging the traumatic after effects of dark and extremely distressing experiences. Valerie finds that she no longer wishes to live in the village and has begun to live an isolated life in her granny’s former home in the woods:

“Everything I knew was ripped apart. I saw it differently, all the lies… the wolf didn’t come back but the village still lived in fear, it was the only life they knew.”

At this point her “forbidden” and parentally disapproved of romantic love is no longer present as he had been bitten/infected with the werewolf curse during the film’s battles and he has nobly left in order to learn how to control this infliction.

Ultimately though the film returns to more well trodden genre routes, expectations and a sense of a “true love conquers all” happy ending as he returns to her and the final scenes show them frolicking in the snow happily and free together.

 

Elsewhere:

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

 

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The Shildam Hall Tapes: Audio Visual Archive 39/52

Artwork from The Shildam Hall Tapes – “Reflections on an imaginary film.”

In the late 1960s a film crew began work on a well-funded feature film in a country mansion, having been granted permission by the young heir of the estate.

Amidst rumours of aristocratic decadence, psychedelic use and even possibly dabbling in the occult, the film production collapsed, although it is said that a rough cut of it and the accompanying soundtrack were completed but they are thought to have been filed away and lost amongst storage vaults.

Few of the cast or crew have spoken about events since and any reports from then seem to contradict one another and vary wildly in terms of what actually happened on the set.

A large number of those involved, including a number of industry figures who at the time were considered to have bright futures, simply seemed to disappear or step aside from the film industry following the film’s collapse, their careers seemingly derailed or cast adrift by their experiences.

Little is known of the film’s plot but several unedited sections of the film and its soundtrack have surfaced, found amongst old filmstock sold as a job lot at auction – although how they came to be there is unknown.

The fragments of footage and audio that have appeared seem to show a film which was attempting to interweave and reflect the heady cultural mix of the times; of experiments and explorations in new ways of living, a burgeoning counter culture, a growing interest in and reinterpretation of folk culture and music, early electronic music experimentation, high fashion, psychedelia and the crossing over of the worlds of the aristocracy with pop/counter culture and elements of the underworld.

The Shildam Hall Tapes takes those fragments as its starting point and imagines what the completed soundtrack may have sounded like; creating a soundtrack for a film that never was.

(Quoted from text which accompanies the album.)

Features work by Gavino Morretti, Sproatly Smith, Field Lines Cartographer, Vic Mars, Circle/Temple, A Year In The Country, The Heartwood Institute, David Colohan, Listening Centre and Pulselovers.

 

“‘Ext – Day – Overgrown Garden’ is all knotweed and nettle, tendrils of melody and petals of expectation… Circle/Temple’s ‘Maze Sequence’ leads you through the silent hedges, and leaves you in the middle. You’ll find your own way out eventually.  Probably… The Shildham Hall Tapes leaves you convinced that you remember the show… you can picture certain scenes and might even recall the unease you felt when you went up to bed when it finished.  Which is an startling achievement in itself. The fact that you now have proof that it happened is even more amazing.” Dave Thompson writing at Spincycle / Goldmine

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

 

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The Dangers of Straying from the Path and Tales of Lycanthropy Part 2 – The Company of Wolves, the Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax and the Bridging of Worlds: Wanderings 39/52

Part 2 of a post that takes as somes of its starting points Little Red Riding Hood, The Company of Wolves and  “The dangers of straying from the path and tales of lycanthropy” (visit Part 1 here).

As mentioned in Part 1 of this post, the 1984 film The Company of Wolves included a number of notable cameos, one of which is the experimental musician, artist, alternative almost popstar, interior designer and gardener Danielle Dax. She appears briefly as a she-wolf from the world beneath the village and whom, despite meaning no harm, is shot at by villagers and ultimately returns to her subterranean home as she feels she is not fit to stay. In The Company of Wolves Danielle Dax’s performance and the stylised way in which she moves recall the performance art meets contemporary dance aspects of Kate Bush’s live and promotional video work earlier in her career, with whom her work in the 1980s shares some similarities.

Viewed today her work in the 1980s appears at times to be not all that far removed from the performance art-like aspects of Kate Bush’s earlier work, with which it also shares in part a certain pop-hook sensibility. At one point in the late 1980s Danielle Dax was signed to a major label and was promoted via mainstream media, as Kate Bush has been for much of her career. Her live performances during this period also shared a multi-faceted and non-conventional aspect with Kate Bush’s in the later 1970s and featured dancers/performers, body paint, handpainted sets, costumes and the films of Holly Warburton, whose layered dream like collages also appeared on a number of her record covers.

(As an aside Kate Bush’s work could also be connected to The Company of Wolves and some of its themes/aesthetics as, particularly in the earlier part of her career, her songs and other work at times drew inspiration from and explored a mixture of mythology, pastoral unsettledness and even outright horror and often creates a world unto itself. Her song “Hammer Horror” utilises a gothic aesthetic and lyrics which talk of “The first time in my life, I leave the lights on to ease my soul”, “Hounds of Love” borrows the line “It’s in the trees! It’s coming…” from the 1957 British horror film Night of the Demon and “Waking the Witch” starts as a gentle rousing from sleep and then becomes a jarring nightmare of sorcery accusations and persecution, intertwining lyrics from the traditional shanty song “Blood Red Roses”.)

Describing Danielle Dax as an “alternative almost popstar” is a reference to the nature and journey of her work in music and performance during the 1980s; in an alternative time-line she may have gone on to more mainstream success but this was not to be, something which is reflected in the title of her 1995 compilation’s title Comatose Non-Reaction: The Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax.

Danielle Dax’s background and music orientated output from the 1980s is more rooted in and explores the cultural underground (and to a degree psychedelic and gothic culture) than Kate Bush’s but the likes of her 1988 single “Cat House” seems to exist in similar territory as for example Kate Bush’s 1977 and 1978 singles “Wuthering Heights” and “Wow”. All three of these singles have a strident performance, a pop accessibility and accompanying promotional video’s which focus solely on the one dancer/performer against a blank background and make use of period ghosting/video trail effects. With the backing of a major label and higher profile release it is not difficult to envisage “Cat House” achieving chart success (something which its provocative subject matter may have both helped and hindered).

While visually striking in its own terms Danielle Dax’s appearance in The Company of Wolves is intriguing due to her own background as an at times experimental performer and therefore the manner in which her presence appears to possibly unexpectedly bridge the cultural worlds of mainstream film and underground culture.

However this “bridging” of different cultural worlds is not as surprising as it may initially appear; the film’s producer was Stephen Wooley who was one of the founders of the London-based Scala cinema in the late 1970s, a cinema renowned for its screening of a then unique mixture of exploitation, horror, high art and transgressive film:

“The Company Of Wolves pays homage to… and subconsciously draws from Woolley’s eclectic programming of London’s Scala repertory cinema, with shades of An American Werewolf in London (1981), Czech fantasy Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970) and The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982)… Too arty for mainstream horror fans but much gorier and more muscular than the art house expected, The Company Of Wolves remains an endless delight for film enthusiasts and lovers of the Gothic tradition.” (Jane Giles, former chief programmer of The Scala, writing at the Picture House website).

Perhaps ultimately the manner in which The Company of Wolves seems to exist and even fall between a number of different stools, aesthetics and cultural areas is a fundamental and intrinsic aspect of its character and also part of what makes it such an intriguing, possibly flawed but still often mesmerising viewing experience.

 

Elsewhere: 

  1. The Company of Wolves trailer
  2. The Company of Wolves DVD and Blu-ray
  3. Scala Cinema 1978-1993 book
  4. Fab Press’ Scala Cinema book merchandise
  5. Stephen Woolley on historic venue the Scala: “It was a cinema with a lot of tribes”

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

  1. The Dangers of Straying from the Path and Tales of Lycanthropy Part 1 – The Cautionary Warnings of Little Red Riding Hood and The Company of Wolves: Wanderings 38/52
  2. An Old Soul Returns – The Worlds and Interweavings of Kate Bush: Chapter 39 Book Images
  3. Day #108/365: Let me grab your soul away – Kate Bush and darkly cinematic flickerings through the meadows, moors and mazes…

 

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A Year In The Country at The Haunted Generation and Kites and Pylons

There’s been something of a bumper overview of A Year In The Country recently, via an interview with AYITC by Bob Fischer for his The Haunted Generation site and an “A Year In The Country Special” episode of the Kites and Pylons radio show.

So first up, The Haunted Generation interview, of which Bob Fischer said: “We covered pastoral headspace, Cold War dread, Rob Young’s Electric Eden book, Noah’s Castle, Ghost Box, The Prisoner, his new book/album… and so much more.”

Bob Fischer also writes The Haunted Generation column in Fortean Times, and both the site and the column continue similar explorations to the 2017 article he wrote for Fortean times, which was an overview of hauntology, its themes, his personal connections with it and so on. Along which lines, at the first post on The Haunted Generation site he said this:

“…my 1970s childhood was imbued with an odd sense of melancholy and a vague, unsettling disquiet. Hoorah! These were feelings that I vainly attempted to describe, evoke and recapture for decades, until I realised that a generation of musicians, artists and writers were already – rather conveniently – doing the job for me. If you’re reading this, then it’s likely you’re familiar with the world of ‘hauntology’ – of Ghost Box Records and Scarfolk Council and Boards of Canada – but if not, then that’s fine. I’d be delighted for this blog to act as a gentle introduction…”

He can also be found hosting a regular radio show for BBC Tees, alongside hosting events where he interviews the likes of Stephen Brotherstone and Dave Lawrence, who wrote Scarred for Life: Growing up in the Dark Side of the Decade – Volume One: The 1970s (a book which explores the more eerie, unsettled side of 1970s pop culture – public information films, dystopian science fiction and so on).

(If you’re curious, the new album mentioned above by Bob, is Echoes and Reverberations, which is a field recording based exploration of real and imaginary film and television locations, and includes work by Grey Frequency, Pulselovers, Dom Cooper, Listening Center, Howlround, A Year In The Country, Sproatly Smith, Field Lines Cartographer, Depatterning and The Heartwood Institute. The upcoming new book is A Year In The Country: Straying from the Pathways, which is released on 8th October 2019 and which “wanders amongst eerie landscapes, folk horror, the dysfunctional utopian visions of Brutalist architects and hazily misremembered cultural memories, taking in the likes of the faded modernity and ‘future ruins’ of British road travel, apocalyptic ’empty city’ films, dark fairy tales, the political undercurrents of the 1980s and idyllic villages gone rogue.”)

Next up, on the 8th September 2019 there was “A Year In The Country Special” of the Kites and Pylons radio show.

Kites and Pylons is a show hosted by Lee Pylon, which focuses on “Library music, strange radiophonics, otherworldly electronica”, often of a hauntological nature, and on the show you’ll find the likes of Belbury Poly, Boards of Canada, Polypores, Sinoia Caves, Broadcast, The Focus Group, Joe Meek, John Baker, Delia Derbyshire and Basil Kirchin.

The show has also featured guest mixes by amongst others Midwich Youth Club, Simon Heartfield and sometimes fellow AYITC travellers Keith Seatman and Mat Handley (Pulselovers/Woodford Halse).

Each episode is originally broadcast via Mad Wasp Radio and then archived on Mixcloud and could well act as a spectral soundtrack for when reading the posts at The Haunted Generation.

The “A Year In The Country Special” episode included tracks from the A Year In The Country themed albums The Quietened Village, Audio Albion, The Quietened Bunker and others, and features music by The Heartwood Institute, Listening Center, Field Lines Cartographer, Cosmic Neighbourhood, Keith Seatman, Time Attendant, Quaker’s Stang, A Year In The Country, Pulselovers, Howlround, Circle/Temple and Grey Frequency.

Anyways, thanks indeed to Lee and Bob for their interest and support. It’s much appreciated – a tip of the hat to both, and as always to those who have created the music for the AYITC albums.

 

Links:

  1. The A Year In The Country interview at The Haunted Generation website
  2. Bob Fischer at Twitter
  3. Bob Fischer at Facebook
  4. Bob Fischer at BBC Tees
  5. Kites and Pylons at Mad Wasp Radio
  6. The Kites and Pylons “A Year In The Country Special” at Mixcloud
  7. Kites and Pylons at Twitter
  8. Fortean Times
  9. Scarred for Life: Growing up in the Dark Side of the Decade – Volume One: The 1970s
  10. Woodford Halse
  11. Keith Seatman’s Test Transmissions site

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

  1. Echoes And Reverberations
  2. A Year In The Country: Straying From The Pathways
  3. The Quietened Village
  4. Audio Albion
  5. The Quietened Bunker

 

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Audio Albion: Audio Visual Archive 38/52

Artwork from Audio Albion –  a music and field recording map of Britain, which focuses on rural and edgeland areas.

Each track contains field recordings from locations throughout the land and is accompanied by notes on the recordings by the contributors.

The tracks record the sounds found and heard when wandering down pathways, over fields, through marshes, alongside rivers, down into caves and caverns, climbing hills, along coastlands, through remote mountain forestland, amongst the faded signs of industry and infrastructure and its discarded debris.

Intertwined with the literal recording of locations, the album explores the history, myths and beliefs of the places, their atmospheres and undercurrents, personal and cultural connections – the layered stories that lie amongst, alongside and beneath the earth, plants and wildlife.

(Quoted from text which accompanies the album.)

Features work by Bare Bones, David Colohan, Grey Frequency, Field Lines Cartographer, Howlround, A Year In The Country, Keith Seatman, Magpahi, Sproatly Smith, Widow’s Weeds, Time Attendant, Spaceship, Pulselovers, The Heartwood Institute and Vic Mars.

 

“A gorgeous collage of sound myths, emboldened stories and earthly sounds… This is as good a map of some of the more wonderful parts of olde Albion as could be put to record, as the tracks record sounds found and heard walking down pathways, through to the echoey caves and caverns… The geography feeds into the music and in return, the music to the geography…” From Eoghan Lyng’s review at We Are Cult.

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

 

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The Dangers of Straying from the Path and Tales of Lycanthropy Part 1 – The Cautionary Warnings of Little Red Riding Hood and The Company of Wolves: Wanderings 38/52

The origins of the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood can be traced back to 10th century European folk tales, with the best known versions being based on stories written by Charles Perrault and The Brothers Grimm in the 17th and 19th centuries.

Although there are numerous variations on Little Red Riding Hood, a general summary of its plot tells of a girl who wears a red hooded cape/cloak who takes a walk from her village home through the woods to deliver food to her grandmother, having been ordered by her mother to stay strictly on the path. She is approached by a Big Bad Wolf who wants to eat her and the food in her basket. She naively tells him where she is going and as a delaying tactic he suggests she picks some flowers, which she does. The wolf then races ahead to the grandmother’s house, gains entry by pretending to be the girl, eats the grandmother and disguises himself as her.

When the girl arrives at her grandmother’s she does not initially realise that the disguised wolf is not her grandmother but rather only notices that she looks very strange. They have an exchange where she comments on this; “What a deep voice you have”, “The better to greet you with”, “What big eyes you have!”, “The better to see you with” etc and culminates in “What a big mouth you have”, “The better to eat you with”. The wolf then jumps up from bed and eats the girl whole, after which it falls asleep. Some versions end here but in others a hunter or woodcutter comes to the rescue and with an axe and cuts open the sleeping wolf, allowing the girl and the grandmother to emerge unharmed. They then fill the wolf’s body with heavy stones and when it awakens and attempts to flee the stones cause it to collapse and die.

Little Red Riding Hood can be viewed and interpreted in a number of different ways, some of which include; that it is a warning about the contrast between the safe civilised world, represented by the village and the dangers of the forest; the dangers of not obeying one’s parents; a cautionary tale about the sometimes possibly predatory nature of men and also as a rite of passage story in which a girl leaves home, enters a transitional state and by going through the events in the tale becomes a woman.

It seems to have an enduring and near ubiquitous presence and even many centuries later is still repeatedly reinterpreted and used as inspiration for film and television dramas, one of which is The Company of Wolves, a 1984 film directed by Neil Jordan who also co-wrote the screenplay with Angela Carter, basing it on her earlier short story and radio adaptation.

The film is framed by its tales possibly being the dreams of a sleeping girl in contemporary times and it contains a number of cautionary interwoven stories based loosely around Little Red Riding Hood, the mythology of wolves and werewolves, the dangers of the woods etc.

The way in which it contains a number of different stories rather than being a straightforward reiteration of its fairy tale source material connects The Company of Wolves to British horror portmanteau or anthology films, a number of which were produced in the 1960s through to the early 1980s, including Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), Tales That Witness Madness (1973) and The Monster Club (1981).

Set in and around the woods and a small village in an unspecified time in previous centuries it creates its own enclosed mystical dream world, conjuring a claustrophobic fairytale forest where the sun and daylight rarely seem to enter, giant mushrooms grow, children’s toys come to life and mythological creatures roam. Tonally the film could be seen akin to a children’s film or television programme that has veered off into a much darker realm, accompanied by an aesthetic which brings to mind the Gothic horror of Hammer Horror-esque films.

The resulting film is an intriguing and curious example of British cinema and has a certain clunkiness that seemed to be an often recurring characteristic of British horror, science fiction and fantasy television and cinema of the time. That may in part be due to it attempting to compete with American Hollywood blockbuster style films in terms of special effects and ambition but it being impeded in doing so by a limited budget. Viewed today the film seems as though it may fall between two stools; it does not have the appealing lo-fi wobbly-set homespun charm of say some 1970s British fantasy television nor quite achieves the sheen and polish of its American cinematic counterparts and seems to sit somewhere between the two. This “falling between two stools” aspect is particularly noticeable in the sequences where humans transform into wolves which are somewhat unreal and unconvincing but also still retain a shocking impact and repellent visceral character (although their unconvincing nature could in part be due to a comparison with and expectations of a certain amount of realism in special effects brought about by the visual proficiency available in contemporary advanced CGI techniques).

The Company of Wolves appears to focus on the cautionary tale aspects of its source material, particularly in the manner that it repeatedly presents men as potentially highly predatory, alongside depicting the passage into adulthood of women and the trials and threats they may face as they does so in relation to male predatory behaviour.

Ultimately though The Company of Wolves version of the Little Red Riding Hood character appears to reject her elder’s warnings about the “wolves that reside in men” and the comforts and security of civilisation as when she meets in the woods somebody who declares himself to be neither a man nor a wolf, despite initially resisting she ultimately appears to join him after he has transformed into a wolf, becoming a wolf herself and fleeing into the forest with him.

It appears ambiguous about this ending as over its conclusion a voiceover by the same actress warns:

“As you’re pretty, so be wise, wolves may lurk in every guise… Now as then is simple truth, sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth.”

The Company of Wolves features a number of notable cameos, including Terence Stamp as the devil who anachronistically drives a Rolls Royce through the woods and stops to tempt a young boy/man with an enchanted potion in a manner reminiscent of the White Witch’s use of Turkish delight sweets to corrupt her victim in C.S. Lewis’  novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950). At this point Terence Stamp was in his mid-forties and in The Company of Wolves he has a striking slightly grey haired almost regal presence which appears to forebear his future standing as one of the elder statesmen of British acting.

To be continued in Part 2 (which, depending on when you are reading this, may not be online yet)…

 

Elsewhere: 

  1. The Company of Wolves trailer
  2. The Company of Wolves DVD and Blu-ray

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

  1. The Dangers of Straying from the Path and Tales Lycanthropy Part 2 – The Company of Wolves, the Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax and the Bridging of Worlds: Wanderings 39/52
  2. Portmanteau Explorations: Tales from the Black Meadow, The Book of the Lost and The Equestrian Vortex – The Imagined Spaces of Imaginary Soundtracks: Chapter 9 Book Images

 

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All The Merry Year Round: Audio Visual Archive 37/52

Booklet artwork from All The Merry Year Round.

 

All The Merry Year Round is an exploration of an alternative or otherly calendar that considers how traditional folklore and its tales now sit alongside and sometimes intertwine with cultural or media based folklore; stories we discover, treasure, are informed and inspired by but which are found, transmitted and passed down via television, film and technology rather than through local history and the ritual celebrations of the more longstanding folkloric calendar.

(Quoted from text which accompanied the album.)

Includes work by United Bible Studies, Circle/Temple (Dom Cooper of The Owl Service/Bare Bones/Rif Mountain), Magpahi, Cosmic Neighbourhood, Field Lines Cartographer, Polypores, A Year In The Country, Sproatly Smith, Pulselovers, The Hare And The Moon & Jo Lepine (The Owl Service), Time Attendant and The Séance (Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne and James Papademetrie).

“A Year In The Country… operating like some sinister rustic arts and crafts movement manifesting online via a Wi-Fi connected scrying mirror… an almanac of unearthly sonics to tide you through the winter nights.” Ben Graham writing in issue 74 of Shindig! magazine.

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

 

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Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca, In Time and Anon – Striving for the Stars in a Brutalist Retro Future and Other Near Future Tales: Wanderings 37/52

Andrew Niccol is a New Zealand born screenwriter-director, whose films often seem to wrap quite challenging issues in something of a Hollywood coating. The first film he wrote and directed was Gattaca (1997) in which the genetic modification and screening of human embryos in order to ensure that they possess the superior traits of their parents has become common, as has the genetic testing of employees. Genetic discrimination is illegal but in practice genetic profiling and discrimination is widely used by employers and society in general. Reflecting this the title of the film is based around the letters G, A, T and C which are letters used to represent the four nucleobases of DNA and are some of the molecules identified within genetic science which carry genetic information.

The use of genetic technology has led to a segregated society where those who have been born via this system, known as valids, have much better life choices, access to employment etc and those who have not are known as in-valids and tend to be relegated to menial jobs and are generally considered inferior. This aspect of the film could be seen to be both a comment on the dangers of eugenics and also a remoulding of race, class or caste based segregation:

“I belonged to a new underclass nolonger determined by social status or the colour of your skin… Now we have discrimination down to a science.”

The film appears to be set in the relatively near future or possibly an alternate timeline version of the world in years to come and creates in part a mid century modern or populuxe-esque retro-future vision that makes extensive use of real world locations, featuring modern and at times minimalist/Brutalist concrete architecture of the 1950s, alongside futuristic turbine electric-powered cars based on 1960s car models. The bar/nightclub shown in the film also has a retro cabaret-ish air that would not look out-of-place in more recent revivals of vintage style and fashion. While much of the work is done on computers this is not a society where carrying around mobile digital devices appears to be the norm, apart from small hand-held genetic testing devices which further emphasise the retro-future aspect of Gattaca by having imperfect flickering video displays.

The future that is presented appears to be both quite uniform – all the workers from different social groups dress and have their hair in similar styles – and also notably stylish. This is far from the “burning trash can” crumbling urban vision of densely populated cities in the future that is often depicted in science fiction but rather offers what appears in some ways to be a highly ordered, unbusy, sterile but also beautiful world. This is accompanied by a sense of ache or yearning to the film, that is in part a reflection of its main character’s quest and also possibly due to the arresting, evocative and distinctive nature of Michael Nyman’s score. It is in some ways a dystopia but not one that, at least if you are a valid, appears to cause all that much distress or unrest and the computer based workers at the main complex in the film seem focused, organised and not prone to say gossiping, appearing nearer to a well-dressed and well-behaved industrious but sedate ant colony.

Gattaca’s plot concerns Vincent who is an in-valid but who dreams of a career in space travel but in the normal scheme of things he would be denied this because of his genetic status and he is relegated to a menial job as a cleaner. In order to achieve his dream he has been driven to a form of identity deception known as being a “borrowed ladder” or a de-gene-erate, whereby he uses the genetic material (blood, urine, skin cells, hair etc) of a valid to gain employment at the space-flight conglomerate the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation. In order to do this he has come to live in a symbiotic relationship with his valid whereby he provides for them financially at their home and his valid allows him to use his genetic material in an ongoing basis, which is necessary to avoid detection as at Vincent’s workplace every day testing of workers for their valid status via their genetic material is the norm.

(The film’s imagery also subtly reflects its world’s obsession with genetics; the intro sequence uses microscopic images of human hair and nails – which are collected by the authorities in Gattaca as a way of determining if somebody is a “valid” or not and the spiral staircase in the main appartment featured in the film is reminiscent of a DNA helix.)

Vincent’s “job interview” for his post purely involves his genetic testing via a urine test (in which he substitutes his valid’s), the results of which are considered as being indicative enough of performance and ability without any further discussion. Although he does not look like the valid whose genetic material he is using in the world shown in Gattaca in order to pass security checks etc this does not seem to matter as essentially considerations of genetics has surpassed photographs and visual ways of identifying people.

Choosing a romantic partner is also largely done via genetic testing that is carried out via for example taking a prospective mate’s found or given hair to a business which offers an analysis and screening service. At one point a character offers a potential partner a hair for testing and says “Here, take it, if you’re still interested let me know (i.e. after it has been tested to indicate genetic superiority). While a tester at a screening service who has not physically seen or met one of the character’s potential partners but still says after screening via a hair “9.3, quite a catch”, further indicating that attraction and desirability is no longer predicated on looks or personality.

In terms of the love story aspect of the film to a degree it is a classic “girl/boy from the wrong side of the tracks hides there origins and attempts to live in a higher social strata and a girl/boy from that higher social strata falls for them, discovers the truth and together they fight against unjust societal restrictions that prevent such mingling” plot, albeit in this case being from the wrong side of the tracks is not due to being born to for example an economically deprived background but rather is due to an individual’s genetic makeup.

Curiously when Vincent does finally achieve his long-held wish to go into space it seems like just another day at the office; his preparation seems to have more involved computer work than rigorous physical testing and intriguingly he and the other astronauts enter the spaceship still wearing their normal work suits rather than a space suit.

After Gattaca Andrew Nicol went onto write and direct In Time (2011), which while in some ways a genre orientated dystopian science fiction action film also essentially takes forms of social division and inequality and reimagines them. In this film, also set in a near future, people stop ageing at 25 and develop a countdown on their forearm set for a year. This counts down in real-time and when it reaches zero that person “times out” or dies. In this sense it connects with both the film Logan’s Run (1976) where everyone is destroyed when they reach 30 and also to a degree Harlan Ellison’s 1965 short story “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman'” where people have a set amount of time to live which can be revoked – also in both Ellison’s story and In Time the enforcing authorities are known as a Timekeepers and timekeepers respectively.

This not ageing past 25 aspect of the film leads to some curious and striking visual and thematic aspects of the film; a son’s mother appears to be of the same generation as him, multiple generation’s of a husbands relatives when introduced (his mother, daughter and wife) all appear to be debutantes also of the same generation.

In the film time has become the new currency and workers are paid for their labour via it. Within the city where In Time takes place there are distinctly different time zones which it costs a considerable amount of “time” currency to pass between; these are divided between a poor manufacturing area where people are literally “time poor” and an area where the “time rich” live, where people have enough time to be effectively immortal.

The plot is essentially a modern-day take on Robin Hood; Will Salas, a factory worker, is given 116 years by a man who has decided to deliberately “time out” and who explains the realities of the economic system to him as being that the rich hoard most of the time to live forever, while constantly increasing costs to keep poorer people dying:

“For a few to be immortal, many must die.”

Salas enters the richer area (via a taxi ride that literally “costs” him years to pass through different zones) and after a brief period of exploring via his new-found time rich freedom he comes under suspicion for his wealth, is arrested and his time confiscated. He then kidnaps a wealthy businessman’s daughter, flees back to the poorer area where the two bond and begin to rob time banks in order to redistribute time to the needy. These activities escalate in the value of time stolen and given away as they attempt to crash society’s economic system – which appears to happen as now time rich workers downing tools and flooding into the more affluent areas.

A noticeable but not overly referred to aspect of the film is that the forces of law and order in In Time seem curiously under-resourced, possibly as a reflection of a complacent belief that the system is unshakable and ultimately there only appears to be one timekeeper who is overly focused on or tasked with stopping Salas and his partner’s spree of robbery, rampage and wealth redistribution.

In Time shares retro-future styling with Gattaca, in particular via its depiction of futuristic electric cars that are styled on vintage automobiles (the vehicles in In Time were created from older production model modified cars). This appears to be a recurring aspect of Niccol’s film making as in the film Anon (2018) which he wrote and directed the vehicles depicted are also previous era’s models/styles. Anon also shares with Gattaca a use of real world concrete minimalist architecture – although in terms of locations Anon is not as overtly stylised.

Anon is not so much a near future film but rather an extrapolation of the modern world, digital technology and social media. In it privacy and anonymity no longer exist due to everybody having what are called biosyn implants that subject every person to a constant stream of information in their vision, they also make personal information constantly available to everybody else and it records their life down to the millisecond and the resulting information is downloaded to a vast database called “The Ether”, which the police use to find their suspects.

It has been called “an augmented reality neo-noir nightmare” (Bryan Bishop, The Verge) and it is at heart a variation on a detective thriller; the victims in a series of murders appear to have had their vision hacked and replaced with their killer’s viewpoint and the resulting investigation leads the main detective to an anonymous hacker who has somehow managed to disappear from the database.

The technological changes in society are not portrayed as being as clearly negative as in Gattaca and Anon; the stream of information is all-invasive and overbearing to a degree but most of the characters appear to find it useful rather than rebel against it, with the noticeable exception of the anonymous hacker and the technology is portrayed as being put to a good use by the detective in his investigations.

The potential problems of this technology is more shown as a threat only when it has been hijacked to make someone think that they can see things which are not there and which for example causes the detective to exit a road junction into what he thinks is a clear road but which is actually filled with traffic, causing the other cars to crash into him.

Taken as a body of work these three films (and others which Andrew Niccol has worked on such as the enclosed and staged real/virtual-world shown in the film The Truman Show from 1998) could be considered in part to be intriguing high-concept popcorn movies; they are distinctly entertaining while also exploring the effects, changes and threats that can be brought about by modern technology and innovations in a way that is not all that dissimilar to Black Mirror (2011-), the anthology television series created by Charlie Brooker, albeit in a less darkly twisted manner.

 

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Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

 

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The Quietened Cosmologists: Audio Visual Archive 36/52

Booklet artwork from The Quietened Cosmologists.

 

The Quietened Cosmologists is a reflection on space exploration projects that have been abandoned and/or that were never realised, of connected lost or imagined futures and dreams, the intrigue and sometimes melancholia of related derelict sites and technological remnants that lie scattered and forgotten.

It takes as its initial starting points the shape of the future’s past via the discarded British space program of the 1950s to 1970s; the sometimes statuesque and startling derelict artifacts and infrastructure from the Soviet Union’s once far reaching space projects; the way in which manned spaceflight beyond Earth’s orbit/to the moon and the associated sense of a coming space age came to be largely put to one side after the 1969 to 1972 US Apollo flights.

(Quoted from text which accompanies the album.)

Includes work by Field Lines Cartographer, Pulselovers, Magpahi, Howlround, Vic Mars, Unit One, A Year In The Country, Keith Seatman, Grey Frequency, Time Attendant, Listening Center, Polypores and David Colohan.

“(Pulselovers’ Lonely Puck)… a wonderfully serene and affectionate love note mailed out from across the outer edges of the cosmos, a transmission from a long lost and forgotten outpost if you like, twinkle toned and radiantly awash in what sounds like shimmering cosmic church bell celebrations…” Mark Barton writing at The Sunday Experience, which can be visited here and here.

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country: