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Day #363/365: Other pathways…

Trails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #52/52.

While travelling the journey of this particular year in the country there have been many items, artifacts and stories that I have explored, considered, been intrigued about which have not been included amongst these days and pages (or if they have it has been but a fleeting glance)…

Some of them have been very evocative and inspirational, sometimes in spirit, sometimes in actuality.

These are but a few of those other pathways…

1) The Guardians (1971): an often overlooked fictional story of Britain under a homegrown jackboot.

2) Noah’s Ark: the second full length work by Casady sisters Cocorosie – hipster freak folk trip hoppery explorations that entranced me when I first saw them live as did the Anthony and The Johnsons accompanied, Jean Genet-esque Oh You Beautiful Boyz on record.

3) Artemis 81: an early (for me) work by explorer of otherly landscapes and myths David Rudkin…

Artemis 81-David Rudkin-A Year In The Country4) Glitterball: Children’s Film Foundation cosmic energy guzzling.

5) The Witches: Mr Nigel Kneale’s mid 60s investigation of the other side of pleasant village life – also available on laserdisc.

6) The Art Of Small Films: an archival research project on a saggy old cloth cat and fellow travellers by Mr Jonny Trunk.

7) Mayday: further traces of Albion in the overground.

8) Isobell Campbell – Willows Song: a lovely version of this (non)authentic authentic folklore song.

9) Dave and Toni Arthur: a nation is educated by sometimes witchery folk explorers.

10) Akenfield: a communal celluloid tale and passing of the year. See also the oral history book of the same name.

June Tabor-Airs and Graces-Topic Records-A Year In The Country11) June Tabor – Airs and Graces: there is an imposing majesty to this album cover always stops me in my tracks.

12) Hex (1973): yes, that year again – psychedelic folk Western bikerider film – the Psychomania from over the seas?

13) Juniper Tree: Icelandic pop explorer in a witchcraft, Brothers Grimm originated story that has been labelled a fairy tale, science-fiction, fantasy, drama, art house film.

14) Wyrd Daze: a gathering of work, inspirations and support. Tip of the hat to you.

Willie Doherty-Requisite Distance-A Year In The Country

15) Willie Doherty – Requisite Distance: fine art photography tales of the signs of conflict in a land.

16) Wakewood: somewhat graphic folk-horror tale – not an easy watch (tread gently).

17) Emma Tricca: Finders Keepers envoyager of folk songs and songsmith entrancements.

18) History Of UK Underground Folk Rock 1 & 2: compilations often drawn from privately pressed acid/psych folk rarities and lovelies.

19) Phantasmagoria – Specters Of Absence: a gathering of shadow plays old and new.

20) Rural Psychogeography: often such wanderings are associated with urban travels – this wanders elsewhere; somewhat lovely encasing for this particular set of explorations.

Way Of The Morris-A Year In The Country

21) Way Of The Morris: cultural outsider returns home to be seduced by the old ways…

22) The Ballad Of Shirley Collins: …and I wander if that seduction lead to this?

The Awakening-2011-A Year In The Country23) The Awakening: spectral textures in an isolated schoolhouse…

24) Vanishing Britain: a binding of encroachments…

Sharon Harvey-Northern Gothic-A Year In The Country25) Sharon Harvey – Northern Gothic: I recognised reflections of something around these parts…

26) Landscapism: literary explorations and expositions of the land…

27) Forest Punk: a darkening amongst the greenwood…

28) Psychogeographic Review: wanderings across the mind and culture’s landscape.

29) Rivers Of Delight – American Folk Hymns from the Sacred Harp Tradition – Word of Mouth Chorus: Lovely indeed.

30) Into The Unknown – The Fantastic Life of Nigel Kneale: a rare considering of his work.

The Edge Is Where The Centre Is-David Rudkin-Pendas Fen-Seen Studios-A Year In The Country31) The Edge Is Where The Centre Is – David Rudkin and Penda’s Fen – A Conversation: a further explorative artifact undertaken and encased via Sukhev Sandhu and Seen Studios.

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Day #362/365: Signals sent, signals received…

Trails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #51/52.

Audiological source: #1. #2. #3. #5. #6. #7.
Visual/audiological source: #1.

Grey Frequency-Immersion-one off print-A Year In The Country-6

1.

“…I had written about how the imagined landscape (Britain, in these cases) features so strongly in some strains of contemporary experimental folk music. Granted, this has been a central theme in folk since the 60s revival, but as I argue, the ease with which electronic manipulation can be applied these days has really influenced some of the more experimental folk works in the past decade or so. This heightened interplay of the ‘acoustic’ and electronic, and in a broader sense, between the rural and the urban, makes for a liminal artistic and imaginary field that is finding different forms of expression these days...”

Grey Frequency-Immersion-one off print-A Year In The Country-2

2.

…these concerns streak through the British visionary imagination, from painters such as Blake and Samuel Palmer to early 20th century romantic composers like Peter Warlock, 1960s pantheistic pranksters Incredible String Band and into the post-industrial underground of Coil, Psychic TV and Current 93. In the UK… this reanimation of the mythic countryside, underscored by liminal drones, residual folk forms and improvisation has found voice again recently in imprints like David Barker’s Folklore Tapes, Stephen Collin’s Stone Tape Recordings and Rob Lee’s Heretic’s Folk Club…”

Grey Frequency-Immersion-one off print-A Year In The Country-3

3.

…the whole thing looks as a discovery, a document, a forgotten memory or a souvenir – something you may find in an abandoned library, not in a record store…

Grey Frequency-Immersion-one off print-A Year In The Country

4.

…one imagines such editions being buried in time capsules or cemented in stone walls for future generations to mull over: sedimentary layers of history.

Grey Frequency-Immersion-one off print-A Year In The Country-4

5.

…uma vez mais trata-se de um exercício assombrado de field recordings, uma colagem psico-geográfica de sons que funciona como uma nocturna pintura aura…

Grey Frequency-Immersion-one off print-A Year In The Country-5

6.

Sounds must play for we don’t play with instruments, we play with soundtrack, with editing, filtering, reverberation. These games must use all kind of possibilities. It’s about transformation, the magic of transformation of sounds is important… It’s an animation, an animation of sound talk…  an urban source response to the dark moors and haunted woods mythology of modern folklorist music-makers…”

Grey Frequency-Immersion-one off print-A Year In The Country-7

7.

The sounds expose themselves, transform and meld producing a piece of music that is at times introspective, at times vociferous and in a constant state of resurgence and restless agitation…

 

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Day #359/365: Right Wantonly A-Mumming

Right Wantonly A-Mumming-Sharron Kraus-A Year In The Country-1Trails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #50/52.

This is an album that has stayed with me and intrigued me for a fair while now…

I shall start with Sharron Kraus words on the album as she has a particular way of capturing the spirit of both her own work and that which has inspired it (see also in particular her writing which accompanied Pilgrim Chants & Pastoral Trails).

This album was written over the course of a year, starting at midsummer 2005. My aim was to create songs that could be sung to celebrate the seasons and mark the turning points of the year; songs with choruses that were easy to pick up and that would sit comfortably alongside traditional wassailing songs, carols and May songs.

Each song was written in its season: at midsummer I awoke at dawn, climbed a hill and looked out over Oxfordshire and imagined the battle between summer and winter; at midwinter I made holly wreaths, wrapped up warm and went for brisk wintery walks and then huddled in a warm pub with my favourite traditional singers, sang ‘To Shorten Winter’s Sadness’ for the first time and was rewarded with a rousing chorus.

Right Wantonly A-Mumming-Sharron Kraus-A Year In The Country-2

As well as using the changing seasons as direct inspiration, I researched folklore associated with the different seasons. Useful sources were Christina Hole’s books on British folk customs, George Long’s The Folklore Calendar, and J.G. Frazer’s The Golden Bough. Musically The Watersons’ Frost and Fire and For Pence and Spicy Ale were touchstones and William Chappell’s Popular Music of the Olden Time was a fount of information.

Following and marking the seasons was important to rural communities whose lives depended on a good harvest. I believe that it’s just as important for us to do the same: to rejoice when spring comes each year; to be thankful for ‘good harvests’, whatever form they take; to confront death and the return of winter, and to take comfort in each other’s company through the cold months. I hope that these songs will be sung by folk singers in sessions and folk clubs, around bonfires at midsummer gatherings, by choirs, by ramblers and anyone who takes joy in nature.

Sharron Kraus
Oxford 2006

Right Wantonly A-Mumming-Sharron Kraus-A Year In The Country-3

It’s a lovely, heartwarming album; a collection of songs which could indeed sit amongst longstanding traditional folk songs – her own compositions are inseparable from such work.

The first time I heard it, I thought that I had heard nearly every song on it many times before – it was almost as though they were etched in some deep-rooted cultural/historical memory of which I was unaware.

Also, in some subtle way that I can’t quite put my finger on, though these may be quite traditional sounding folk songs, there is a sense that underlying them are the otherly Albion concerns and stories that can be found in much of Sharron Kraus’ work – an explorative spirit/layering coupled with a rigour of research.

Good cheer to you all.

 Right Wantonly A-Mumming.

 

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Day #353/365: Audiological Reflections and Pathways #5; an ether gathering of behind the sofa folk flickerings…

She Rocola-Molly Leigh-inner booklet page-A Year In The CountryTrails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #49/52.

(Retransmission:) If you should look closely amongst this particular year in the country you may well see that around these parts there has been activity which has involved the encasing of disturbances in the airwaves.

Audiological Reflections and Pathways is inspired by those particular encasings and the related work/creators of said work…

Along which lines, She Rocola’s Burn The Witch / Molly Leigh Of The Mother Town.

When I think of those songs, my mind will sometimes wander along to flickering cathode ray and celluloid tales of what has come to be known as folk horror.

Folk horror gathering-A Year In The Country

In many ways there is a lot that fits/could fit into that particular category; as has been mentioned around these parts – and elsewhere before – in practise it often refers to a particular canonic trio of films – The Wickerman, Blood On Satan’s Claw and The Witchfinder General…

…and then if I’m thinking of such things, my mind will often wander along to ether collections of such things and interrelated tales.

…and as I gather interconnected intertwinings for this particular pathway and reflection I come to see that I have wandered amongst such stories from the shadows beneath the plough more than a time or two… and actually just how varied and multitudinous the outgrowths and gatherings of such stories is, beyond, including and quite possibly taking as its heart/centre that canonic trio…

Along which lines, a dybbuk’s dozen of folk-horror gatherings (covens?), travellings and intertwining pathways around these parts:

Day #21/365: In The Dark Half

Day-18-In-The-Dark-Half-575-2012-Film-still-1-Alistair-Siddons-A-Year-In-The-Country

Day #37/365: Folk Horror Review and a wander through a green and not always pleasant land

Folk Horror Review-A Year In The Country

Day #73/365: A wander through A Field In England with Twins of Evil and other travelling companions…

A Field In England-Intro-Julian House-film still-A Year In The Country 4

Day #90/365: The Wickerman – the future lost vessels and artifacts of modern folkloreThe Wicker Man-Hessian Bag Edition-Insert-A Year In The Country-2

Day #106/365: The whisperings of Willow O Waly

Miss-Jessell-Clytie-Jessop-manifests-by-the-lake-The Innocents 1961-A Year In The Country

Day #113/365: A box of rural horror films and glances at unlit landscapes…

The Wicker Man-Blood On Satans Claw-Whistle and Ill come to you-Village Of The Damned-BFI 10 Great Rural Horror films-A Year In The Country

Day #127/365: Robin Redbreast…

Robin Redbreast-A Year In The Country-BFI DVD-1970-2

Day #135/365: Kill List

Kill List

Day #181/365: Queens Of Evil; “What sort of conjurers are you?” – “Persuaders, your eminence, hidden persuaders.”

Queens of Evil-1970-Le Regine-A Year In The Country 4

Day #188/365: The Ash Tree; Sacred Disobedience, an unorthodox guidance and further fields In England

The Ash Tree-David Rudkin-MR James-A Ghost Story For Christmas-The BBC-A Year In The Country

Day #218/365: A wander around Red Shift, layers of history, the miasma/amber of cultural replications and associated reinterpretations/utilitarianisms

Play-For-Today-1200-Red Shift-Alan Garner-BFI-BBC-A-Year-In-The-Country-smaller

Day #313/365: A further slightly overlooked artifact; Tam Lin, a goddess abroad in the land and the end of utopian dreams?

Tam Lin-1970-screenshot 2-Ava Gardner-lighter-A Year In The Country.jpg

Day #323/365: From flipsides of a coin to The Flipside; tales from behind the scenes of termagant hunting found in the ether airwaves after a walk through green and not always pleasant lands…

 

Vincent Price-Michael Reeves-Witchfinder General-on set-A Year In The Country

 

Elsewhere amongst the ether you could wander amongst…

A further gathering of cathode ray and celluloid flickers.

Fiend In The Furrows: an academic consideration/debating of such culture.

A gathering place of discussion and collecting.

A History Of British Folk Horror (tread gently)

 

I feel that after travelling down the pathways of this particular day in this particular year in the country it may be apt to quote a certain aforementioned lionheartess:

The first time in my life, I leave the lights on, to ease my soul…

…and to once again pack among my belongings the thoughts below:

“We were keen to conjure up the psychedelic witch party at the mansion scenario too, also to keep the idea ‘pop’ and tongue in cheek, very conscious of not becoming too dry.” (James Cargill)

Encasing and envoying.

 

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Day #352/365: Audiological Reflections and Pathways #4; a certain high water mark… travelling from a folk rarity to swinging London, The Owl Service and other lysergic gatherings and flickerings…

File under: Trails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #48/52.

(Retransmission:) If you should look closely amongst this particular year in the country you may well see that around these parts there has been activity which has involved the encasing of disturbances in the airwaves.

Audiological Reflections and Pathways is inspired by those particular encasings and the related work/creators of said work…

One of which caused my mind to wander towards the explorations of late 1960s/early 1970s acid/psych/left-of-centre folk explorations and related privately issued and hard to find recorded rarities – something of high water mark for such things.

…and then it isn’t long before I start to think and wander about the likes of Mellow Candle – and the work of Alison O’Donnell  – who released a record of such just mentioned explorative folk in 1972.

Mellow Candle-A Year In The Country-1

I particularly like the Mellow Candle connection to swinging London and an almost Smashing Time-esque story of the bank rolling of one of their early recordings by fictional photographic hipster David Hemmings…

Mellow Candle-A Year In The Country-2But even before that, as fifteen-year-olds in the summer of ’68, the nascent Mellow Candle had released a UK single, bankrolled by hip actor David Hemmings and Yardbirds manager Simon Napier Bell. How? ‘We sent tapes to everybody,’ says Alison. ‘We even sent one to RTÉ and they told us to bog off! I remember us getting on a bus and thinking, Well, it’s their bloody loss! We were very young, about thirteen, and God knows what we looked like, dressed in kimonos and whatever. But Clodagh was very single-minded about it.’ One tape, sent to Radio Luxembourg DJ Colin Nichol, scouting for Hemmings’ production company, Hemdale, hit the jackpot. The girls went to London: ‘The three of us were completely overawed with how swinging it was. We were allowed to buy some clothes on Carnaby Street and we thought this was the bees-knees. Colin Nichol was looking after us, walking in front of us through Soho saying, “Come on girls, keep up, stay behind me,” — very strict — with all these people leering out of doorways! So we went to meet David Hemmings and Clodagh’s eldest sister, who was a model at the time and had this mews house and we were just absolutely bowled over. And then we went in to record with this 22-piece orchestra and The Breakaways — Cliff Richard’s backing group, backing us! This was just heaven! It was a great song — great for its time, very dramatic. “Feeling High” it was called, with the other side called “Tea With The Sun”. People said, “How old are these girls? What are they taking?” But it was a one-off thing — I guess they probably thought, quite rightly, that we weren’t ready to do anything with them.’”

(I came across that bank rolling and swinging London connection via Rob Young’s The Films of Old Weird Britain article – see Day #80/365. See here for the source of the story above.)

The-Owl-Service-Gillian Hills-Alan-Garner-television-series-A-Year-In-The-Country-2…and that particular connection takes me to The Owl Service, as one of fictional photographic hipster David Hemmings molls/muses from Blow Up is a certain Gillian Hills, who was a certain fictional Alison Bradley in the cathode ray telling of The Owl Service – and indeed, who was called to duty to perform a touch or so of fashion plate-ing to help send that particular version of the story out into the world (see Day #236/365).

I think as well, when I wander along such pathways and the intermingling of folk music and fashionable interests in the later sixties it wouldn’t be long before my mind turned to what is still one of my favourite places in amongst the ether; Psychedelic Folkloristic (see Day #36/365 around these parts and elsewhere in the ether here).

To quote myself on the self-same place earlier in this particular year in the country:

Psychedelic Folklorist 2What is it? Well, it’s a visual collection of a very specific stylish take on folk and folklore culture; if Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up had taken it’s starting point to be the wald rather than Swinging London, with art direction by Kenneth Anger if he had grown up in a secret garden corner of England rather than California and hung out with Judy Dyble rather than The Rolling Stones… and if the resulting film had been shot on location in a secluded green grove rather than the Kings Road…

…and if this imaginary celluloid dream had a soundtrack where the pastoral-playland-bubble living hipsters of The Touchables (an intriguing film which is also featured in Psychedelic Folkloristic), Miss Jean Shrimpton and her companions etc had been serenaded by late ’60s/early ’70s folk rock rather than Herbie Hancock and psychedelic pop minstrels Nirvana (no, not the well known Nirvana)…

Well, if most of those numerous ifs had happened then the vision and aesthetic that was presented to the world might well have been similar to the one found in Psychedelic Folkloristic.

0001-A Year In The Country-Gather In The Mushrooms…and then probably not much further along that pathway and wandering I may well come across or stop to consider the somewhat superlative Gather In The Mushrooms acid/psych/underground folk gathering and its companion piece Early Morning Hush – which is probably the first place I heard Mellow Candle (and Gather In The Mushrooms in particular was a very particular signpost/touchstone towards this aforementioned particular year in the country).

Mellow Candle song of note: well, for my pennies that would probably be Reverend Sisters; something of a peak of that particular high watermark period. Quite frankly lovely – it’s playing as I type and it is hard to continue onwards as I just want to stop and listen…

Signpost/touchstone.

 

 

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Day #350/365: Audiological Reflections and Pathways #3; A balm to contemporary intensity of input…

Michael Tanner-Nine of Swords-inner page-2-A Year In The CountryFile under: Trails and Influences. Electronic Ether. Case #47/52.

(Retransmission:) If you should look closely amongst this particular year in the country you may well see that around these parts there has been activity which has involved the encasing of disturbances in the airwaves.

Audiological Reflections and Pathways is inspired by those particular encasings and the related work/creators of said work…

Along which lines, Michael Tanner’s Nine of Swords.

When I think of this particular work by Michael Tanner and its “balm to contemporary intensity of input” (to quote myself), my mind tends to wander towards what is sometimes known as new age culture/music…

…and as I’ve wandered through this particular year in the country, elements of such culture has appeared and arisen, albeit work far from the centre of such things (more of which in a moment)…

Emerald Web-Dragon Wings and Wizard Tales-Finders Keepers Records-A Year In The Country…sometimes this has been depictions of an utter corruption of new age systems of thought and belief in Beyond The Black Rainbow (see Day #254/365)…

…or via the music/work of the likes of Supernatural Lancashire encasement and envoying accompaniers Emerald’s Web (see Day #178/365)…

…or here and there in related visual work…

Image M4-Otherly Geometries-A Year In The Country

Image F4-A Year In The Country

Image C3-A Year In The Country

Image V3-A Year In The Country.psd

I Am The Center-Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990-Light In The Attic-A Year In The Country

…or as has been briefly mentioned around these parts before: I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America, 1950-1990 (see also Day #254/365)…

This is new age music/culture but not quite in the form which it is normally thought of – these are audiological travellers who have wandered far from expected pathways – or who were never wanderers down them to begin with; in the just mentioned encasing and collecting it is a world of rascal gurus, army veterans turned harpist turned Looney Tune-r turned imaginer of soundtracks back to Atlantis, early twentieth century stage stars who temporarily became a baroness before creating audio-mystical work accompanied by rain falling in an alley…

…as mentioned in this particular gathering’s title this was often a culture of individually tape-released/privately pressed music that sometimes sold by the carload and more but which was unlikely to have ever bothered conventional attention or chart placings…

Caedmon-acid folk psych folk-Seasons They Change-A Year In The Country

(As an aside, in that way such work reminds me of acid/psych folk private vinyl pressings; music that has often become particularly precious – in pecuniary and other ways – to its listeners and has gone on to have audiences and influence that are quite possibly considerably beyond what might have been expected of these scarcely reproduced/encased artifacts… its curious how such niches and overlooked corners of cultural can develop and burrow away over the years.)

Some of the related “new age” work points towards pathways that later have come to be known as dark ambient; music that is soothing but with an unsettling undertone…

…which I suppose brings me back round to Nine of Swords and the sense of it being an audiological balm, a journey to partake for what, by modern comparisons, is quite a considerable length of time… but one where the shadows may be only just held at bay…

Jeanette Leech-Seasons They Change-The Story of Acid and Psychedelic Folk-A Year In The CountryEarlier pathway:
Day #93/365: Seasons They Change and the sweetly strange concoctions of private pressings

Other pathway: Light In The Attic.

Source encasings and envoyings.

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Day #346/365: Audiological Reflections and Pathways #1; a library of loss

Grey Frequency-Immersion-A Year In The CountryTrails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #46/52.
Audiological Reflections and Pathways #1

If you should look closely amongst this particular year in the country you may well see that around these parts there has been activity which has involved the encasing of disturbances in the airwaves.

Audiological Reflections and Pathways is inspired by those particular encasings and the related work/creators of said work…

Along which lines, Grey Frequency.

When I think of the work of Grey Frequency, my mind tends to wander to abandoned structures in the liminal areas where the edgelands meet rural landscapes…

…which then tends to make me think of a particular section of bindings and encasings; books which deal with the ruins and collapsations of society – books/projects which encapture the spectres that such places and structures represent, the dreams and aspirations of times gone by…

…in a way such volumes/work could be seen to be hauntological visual documents of the traces and remains of those dreams…

Along which lines, a dybukk’s dozen of a library of loss…

Abandoned Futures-Tong Lam-A Year In The CountryAbandoned Futures: Tong Lam
Ether / binding.
There is something almost science fiction like about the phrase abandoned futures… but the potential glibness of that is undercut by a somewhat harsh (brutal?) reality…
Soviet Ghosts-Rebecca Litchfield-A Year In The CountrySoviet Ghosts: Rebecca Litchfield
Ether / binding. Spectres of Empire #1.
To a degree with such work, there is almost a sense of it dealing with the spectres and remains of battles between empires during the Cold War…
Detroit Disassembled-Andrew Moore-A Year In The CountryDetroit Disassembled: Andrew Moore
Ether / binding. Spectres of Empire #2.
…a considerable body of such things deals with the collapsing/collapsed urban infrastructure of Western capitalism’s (high point?) dreams…
Lost Detroit-Dan Austin-Sean Doerr-A Year In The CountryLost Detroit: Dan Austin – Sean Doerr
Ether / binding. Spectres of Empire #3.
Last Days of Detroit-Mark Binelli-A Year In The CountryThe Last Days Of Detroit: Mark Binelli
Ether / binding. Spectres of Empire #4.
Yves Marchand-The Ruins Of Detroit-A Year In The CountryThe Ruins Of Detroit: Yves Marchand
Ether / binding. Spectres of Empire #5.
Modern Ruins-A Year In The CountryModern Ruins: Shaun O’Boyle – Geoff Manaugh
Ether / binding
….and so, away (directly) from such post automobile production tomes…
Julia Solis-Stages Of Decay-A Year In The CountryStages Of Decay: Julia Solis
Ether / binding
….and towards the tumbling, tumbled dreams of dream palaces…
Barter and Marbaix-States Of DecayStates of Decay: Daniel Barter – Daniel Marbaix
Ether / binding.
Abandoned Places-Henk Van Rensenberben-A Year In The CountryAbandoned Places: Henk Van Rensbergen
Ether / binding
….part of a growing series and small(ish) library in itself of work…
Abandoned Places-Henk Van Rensenberben-3-A Year In The CountryAbandoned Places: Henk Van Renbergen
Ether / binding.
Illuminating Forgotten Heritage-Josh Kemp Smith-A Year In The CountryIlluminating Forgotten Heritage: Josh Kemp Smith
Ether / binding. Spectres of Empire #6.
(Sub-category; heritage / +historical / ?)
It’s interesting how once you step back onto these shores, such work gains a less harsh sense… here these buildings are not abandoned but named as heritage…
Paul Talling-Derelict LondonDerelict London: Paul Talling
Ether
/ binding
…or considered derelict and containing signs of maintenance rather than ruins – there is a sense that there may still be a reprieve or a future life for them…

I suppose in a way, if I was to think of the British equivalent of such bound publications then I would be more likely to wander along to work that documented the discarding of people and communities, particularly in the early 1980s, rather than documents of buildings – Chris Killip’s In Flagrante comes to mind in particular.

Visit that here, here and in facsimile form here.

Visit Illuminating Forgotten Heritage around these parts here.

Visit a bear’s ghosts around these parts here.

Visit interrelated studys and “documentation of the fading shadows from defences of the realm” around these parts here.

Visit Cold Geometries around these parts here.

Peruse “…broken signals, wraiths in the ether from lost futures and utopias which were once promised; the sounds of creaking monoliths and the fading half-life of utilitarian reinforced concrete structures which were once signposts and symbols of those futures and better days…” around these parts herehere and elswhere in the ether here.

 

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Day #343/365: Veils and Mirrors – forebearing, chanellings, rendings, listing of names…

Glynis Jones-The Radiophonic Workshop-A Year In The CountryTrails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #45/52.

I have something of a soft-spot for Glynis Jones Veils and Mirrors.

It’s a gentle, unsettling piece of music that seems as though it has pierced/rended a very particular veil and is quietly, allowing other shadows to come through.

In terms of sound it is not all that many miles removed from the title music to Children of Stones; it could almost be its understated forebear…

Jane Weaver-Intiaani Kesä-Parade Of Blood Red Sorrows-Kiss Of The Damned-A Year In The Country…along which lines, when I first heard it I was put in mind of Jane Weaver’s Initanni Kesa work (see Day #150/365) – particularly Parade of Blood Red Sorrows. Veils and Mirrors shares with it a sense of a preternatural capturing of something and also a comingling of beauty, darkness, otherlyness.

Even with something of an extended rummage amongst the world’s zeros and one-d memory banks, little seems to be known about Glynis Jones; she worked at The Radiophonic Workshop for a few years – joining in 1973 (that year again – see Day #277/365 – although I have also seen 1972 quoted) – I suppose essentially ships that pass in the night with Ms Delia Derbyshire who was to depart from those environs in that same year. She also produced the album Out Of This World… beyond that information appears to dissolve and fade away…

I seem to have returned to the work/interrelated work of The Radiophonic Workshop during this year in the country; it appears to have been one of those occasional, sometimes brief, often small spaces where something burgeoned and blossomed beyond the utilitarian purposes for which it was created/its work intended – I think at this point I could well return to a sense of rending and allowing through.

I think this small section of an unedited transcript of Joseph Stannard’s interview with Broadcast in Wire magazine from 2005 captures something of that rending and the spirit/channelling of things within that space:

Moogie Bloogies-Delia Derbyshire and Anthony Newley-Trunk Records-A Year In The Country

Joseph Stannard: Julian House has said, “The Radiophonic Workshop is always associated with science fiction and retro-futurism, but what I find in them is something strange and ancient, sort of ‘witchy’.” Does this ring true for you also?

Trish: “Yes, what Julian says here is really interesting. The Radiophonic Workshop were mediums in a way, they gave voice to the objects around them, enabling lamps, rulers and bottles to speak in sound..in a playful humorous way as well, even someone’s stomach gets a say in the belching on Major Bloodnok’s Stomach. Compositionally there was sorcery too, lots of strange pulses and syncopation, the Dr Who theme has an odd galloping feel and Delia Derbyshire’s collaboration with Anthony Newley, “Moogies Bloogies”, has a kind of broken accent, which is funny and eerie at the same time. It makes sense to me that if the witches of the 17th Century made music it would have been playful and hypnotic and made with indecipherable sounds, not music made with pitch perfect, well tempered instrumentation. That would be the type of music the Witchfinder General would have approved of.”

James: “The Radiophonic Workshop seems to exist in a place outside any obvious musical association. To think of it as kitsch, nostalgic or ironic is missing the point. There is no ironic value for me. It’s sometimes quite disturbing, possibly because of the simplistic melodic content coupled with unrecognisable sound palettes, mostly it seems so reflective of that period late 60s/early 70s Britain. I actually think that it’s quite a dark and disturbing era and sometimes the more out of context or more folky or childlike the composition, the more unsettled and out of place you feel.”

A list of names:
Daphne Oram 1958. Maddalena Faganini 1960. Jenyth Worsley 1961. Delia Derbyshire 1962. Margaret Etall 1963. Janet Gibson 1965. Bridget Marrow 1965. Glynis Jones 1972. Sue Cassini 1974. Trina Hughes 1975. Val Doulton 1977. Elizabeth Parker 1978. Amanda Alexander 1980. Isobel Sargent 1980. Gill Pell-Hilley 1981. Diana Howell 1981. Sue Thomas 1982. Alison Taylor 1982. Anna Antoskiewicz 1982.

Radiophonic_Workshop_Tape_Machine,_Science_Museum-A Year In The Country
James Cargill (also from earlier mentioned unediting): “The unexpected forces are far more likely in a group scenario… cults, covens, women’s institutes. Groups of people need to channel their energy.”

A tribute to said names.

Audiological reflections and rendings.

A discovering of said reflections and rendings.

An interconnected pathway: one of the finest titles I have come across during this year in the country: Glow from a mysterious ghost who haunts the liberator.

Encasing and envoying of Parades.

An unedited transcript (and also a tribute in a way).

Constellators and channellers.

 

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Day #342/365: A garden of (un)earthly delights and a wardrobe of fineries…

United-States-of-America-1200-2-band-3-A-Year-In-The-Country
File under: Trails and Influences. Electronic Ether. Case #44/52.

“Poisonous gardens, lethal and sweet,
Venomous blossoms
Choleric fruit, deadly to eat.
Violet nightshades, innocent bloom,
Omnivourous orchids
Cautiously wait, hungrily loom
You will find them in her eyes,
In her eyes, in her eyes.
Petrified willows, twisted and brown
Carrion swallows
Wait in the wet darkening room
Withering shadows, quietly grow
Potently breeding
Into a spectacular glow.
You will find them in her eyes,
In her eyes, in her eyes.
Lemonous petals, dissident play,
Tasting of ergot,
Dancing by night, dying by day.
Blackening mushrooms drink in the rain,
Sinister nightblooms
Wilt with the dawn’s welcoming pain.
You will find them in her eyes,
In her eyes, in her eyes
.”

United States of America-band 2-A Year In The CountryI think I first came across United States of America via mentions by James Cargill and Trish Keenan of Broadcast.

This particular song is a fine example of pop meeting the avant garde; it’s a quite simply fantastic, driving, catchy “tune” but at the same time the lyrics seem as though they should be sat in amongst the darkest reaches and etchings of some long lost particularly dark psych/acid folk record – maybe something that would sit alongside/amongst the work of Comus or some of the songs of Forest (see Day #267/365)…

…this is a tale of Eden gone particularly rotten, more Venus Fly Traps double plus than English rose arcadia and looking at the lyrics written down, they’re genuinely unsettling, a dream that you would be particularly glad to nolonger be amongst but also not so happy to have woken from and left with the residues.

For me, it connects with the work of Broadcast (aside from their documented inspiration by/from the band) because of that intermingling of a pop aesthetic with an explorative urge – an area that Broadcast themselves often wandered amongst and which found something of a particular peak on Tender Buttons (see Day #250/365) which when I listen to it seems to owe as much to/be channelling equally some kind of cut-up spirit/technique that reminds me of William Burroughs and also classic 1960s kitchen sink-esque pop/torch songs.

United States of America-band 3-A Year In The CountryIn many ways Garden of Earthly Delights is a fine (non-populist) pop song, something which could be said of much of Broadcast’s work… and which leads me to think of Mark Fisher’s comments about the breaking of the circuit between the avant-garde, the experimental and the popular as most things somewhat left-of-centre can now have some kind of niche/audience amongst the (semi)hidden corners world without encroaching on the mainstream.

Now, I wasn’t sure whether or not to include the photograph below. Considering events to come there’s something heartbreaking, personal, tender and a sense of great loss to the world about it…

Broadcast-Wire Magazine-Invisible Jukebox-2005-A Year In The Country

…but it’s such a fine photograph and seems to capture something, the spirit of something – maybe some kind of  sense of the lives & work (alongside a locative placing in – I assume – an English back garden) of these very particular channellers; some kind of sense of the just mentioned mixing of pop and the avant garde in amongst day-to-day life and work…

…and along which lines, it makes me think of something Bob Stanley’s wrote in his tribute to Trish Keenan, where he said about her/Broadcast:

…shamefully, they seemed permanently hard-up. America understood them better and they played shows there that, relatively, were three or four times as big as ones they played in Britain. Marc Jacobs certainly loved Broadcast and provided Trish with a wardrobe of fineries – she might have had beans on toast for tea, but she was the best dressed girl in Birmingham.

Tip of the hat to all concerned.

Audiological (semi-visual) transmission of Garden of Unearthly Delights.

Ether encyclopedia-ising: 1 / 2.

Over the garden fence light catchery and source.

Source of beans on toast for tea.

Broken circuits.

 

United States of America-band-A Year In The CountryPS As a final point/aside the photographs of pop/rock/electronic explorers United States Of America (aside from the album cover) put me in mind of other audiological travellers/explorers, in particular photographic documents of The Radiophonic Workshop and (more contemporarily) the folk explorers of Espers

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Day #337/365: Tapes – lost and found (numbers 1-267 and other fortuitous finds)

Mark-Vernon-Meagre-Resource-Derby-Tape-Club-Delia Derbyshire-A-Year-In-The-Country-2b
Trails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #43/52.

Mark Vernon-Meagre Resource-Derby Tape Club-A Year In The CountryAnd while I’m on the subject of tapes and reels and the fascinations that can reside in amongst such very physical, tactile recording material/instruments (see Day #335/365)…

I recently stumbled upon a project that created radio broadcasts from a selection of tapes that were found at a carboot sale:

A few years ago radio producer Mark Vernon bought a hoard of old reel-to-reel audio tapes in a car boot sale in Derby, as a job lot with an elderly and very heavy tape recorder. Coaxing the old machine back to life, he realised he had rescued the jettisoned archive of the Derby Tape Club – a group of amateurs who made, played and swapped recordings in the 1960s and 70s, when domestic tape-recording was in its infancy and before the audio cassette had conquered the world. A radiophonic elegy to an anonymous group of people and their forgotten enthusiasm: domestic tape recording and amateur radio in the 1960s and 70s.” (From the program notes.)

Although I think it’s important to tread carefully when exploring such work and its creators – there can be an unsteady line between respectful appreciation and cultural voyeurism/anthropological exoticism – the recordings contained on the tapes are a fascinating listen.

Mark Vernon-Meagre Resource-Derby Tape Club advert-A Year In The CountryParticularly when focusing on the music experiments of the groups members, bringing to mind the work of The Radiophonic Workshop and Delia Derbyshire they seem like genuine folk/outside/accidental art and capture a very particular spirit of the times in which they were created and the passions, interests and enthusiasms of their creators.

And talking of such things as The Radiophonic Workshop, Delia Derbyshire and tapes lost and found…

Apparently there are 267 tapes of Delia Derbyshire’s work that were found in boxes in her attic that had been unheard by the wider public.

Delia Derbyshire-The Attic TapesThere has been an academic related archiving project that has digitised them but oddly in these days of the ether transmission of sound recordings via the sending of zeros and ones down the cables and through the airwaves, as far as I can tell the only way that they will be able to listened to is (possibly) in one particular building in one particular location; meanwhile ether mentions and signposts for that particular location often dissolve upon a-visiting.

It would appear that for the time being the work contained amongst these lost/found ferrous reels is (fortunately) being protected/preserved – a tip of the hat to anybody who is putting the time and effort in – but it is also being maybe a touch cloistered away in amongst the storage capabilities of academia, which is a shame really…

Delia Derbyshire-Lost Tapes-The Wire-A Year In The CountryMs Delia Derbyshire’s work had roots equally in avant-garde experimentalism/pioneering and populist transmission and a wider sending forth that took into account both of those (inter-joined) sides of her work would be, well, rather pleasant…

…after I’d written that, I came across the writing to the left (from a few years ago now, from David Butler – see below) – which seems to acknowledge the different sides of her work while offering a (potential) solution that seems a little, well, to use that word again, cloistering.

(I don’t know the ins-and-outs of it all still mind; what stage it is at, the amount of time time/money/resources available for/from those involved, is it all still slowly going on behind the scenes etc?)

Apparently Delia’s archive was entrusted to the composer Mark Ayres, who is also the archivist for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop:

Ayres returned to the Radiophonic Workshop Archive anything that belonged to it. However, that was just the beginning of a long, unfinished process. The problem was two-fold. On any one tape, there were pieces from separate, and usually different projects. Secondly, the tapes were improperly stored, and the sticky labels fell off. So any one box could have 30 tapes and hundreds of labels in the bottom of the box. There were nearly 300 tapes and the cataloguing alone would take at least six months. Then Ayres got a call from Dr. David Butler at Manchester University, who wanted his department to be involved with the Radiophonic Workshop as an academic exercise. But the tapes belonged to the BBC so that was out of the question.” (From A thesis and story, see below).

Although since then they have been passed on to Mr Butler for safekeeping and I think that sending forth (at least in one geographic area) is mooted for some time soon(ish)…

A few pathways to explore and investigate amongst:

Ferrous reel gatherings: Mark Vernon / Meagre Resource: Derby Tape Club / Leicester Tape Club.

Delia Derbyshire-A Year In The Country

Traces of Ms Delia Derbyshire’s attic archive:
Via a venerable broadcasting institution. Via Chloe Louise Glover.
The beginning of dissolvings and storings: 1 / 2
A thesis and story of a pioneer by Breege Brennan.
The Attic Tapes.

Source of the above writing to the left/dichotomy.

Day #302/365: Toward tomorrow/The Delian Mode.
Day #100/365: A day of audiological remembrance and salute.

Mark-Vernon-Meagre-Resource-Derby-Tape-Club-Delia Derbyshire-A-Year-In-The-Country-2c

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Day #336/365: Atom Eye – The Otolith Sessions and a wandering towards imagined villages…

Atom Eye-Otolith Sessions-A Year In The Country-4-reel to reel tape
File under: Trails and Influences: Electronic EtherCase #42/52.

A slow rumble sneaks across the dreamy haze of a winter’s moor… like an aural spectre; never quite visible, but definitely there.  The haze burns off as a crisp sun rises through the hills scorching a path through the landscape as though its energy were focused through a magnifying glass.  Atom Eye is the glass that pierces through you, darkly.

I’ve been somewhat intrigued by Atom Eye’s The  Sessions album for a fair while now (and I was also wondering if this particular year in the country would cross paths with a particular “pint of blue milk” él Records and a certain imagined monarch – more on that in a mo’)…

Atom Eye-Otolith Sessions-A Year In The Country-3b

The Otolith Sessions is an album that presents a years worth of sound experiments that were created using various machines that have tumbled forth from a bygone era.

One of the aspects of the project that has particularly intrigued me has been the accompanying video trailers which have a cinematic, dramatic sense to them…

Atom Eye-Otolith Sessions-A Year In The Country-2b

This one begins with the fading in of a lone reel-to-reel tape recorder shown in isolation in a patch of shadow crossed grass, reels slowly turning as the whisperings of manipulated voices and drone like atmospherics appear.

It puts me in mind of Berberian Sound Studio – there’s something unnerving and unsettling about these particular ferrous reels and their associated equipment; what have they recorded or seen, what remains and resides in their memory banks – (not quite) modern day Stone Tapes produced by corporate bodies rather than the markings of history…

…returning to the trailer, the titles suddenly appear and fade to microphone left swinging gently in the foliage – which brings to mind far more sinister swingings… be-shelled moluscs slowly cross contact microphones, reels return to spin, levels gather, tape splicing occurs and text dramatically tells the story of the equipment used to create the album…

Atom Eye-Otolith Sessions-A Year In The Country-bMeanwhile in the visual accompaniment Prelude, differently coloured smoke plumes travel across a solid black background – they are entrancing, beautiful and also not a little quietly sinister in parts while the accompanying music is elegiac and uplifting…

…and so to that “pint of blue milk” and a certain imagined monarch…

The King Of Luxembourg-Simon Fisher Turner-él Records-A Year In The Country-3

One of the people who worked on the album is sometimes audio chronicler of The Last Of England Simon Fisher-Turner who once went forth across the land (and indeed the world to a degree) under the name The King Of Luxembourg.

The King Of Luxembourg-Simon Fisher Turner-él Records-A Year In The Country-2The King of Luxembourg’s work was sent forth in encased form by él Records; this was an endeavour (in its initial incarnation) that felt like more than just a company involved in the release of records and more like a whole world unto itself – él Records created an imagined arcadian sophisticate England where a certain playful dappery and dashingness were the order of the day…

él combined the Technicolor exoticism of Powell and Pressburger with the escapist fantasy of The Avengers. The stylised visual aesthetic of The Prisoner with the dry-witted late seventies British television comedies The Good Life and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. Richard Briers and Leonard Rossiter were, to Mike Alway, what Malcolm McLaren was to Alan McGee.

…and to a degree I could probably draw a line between its work and that of say Ghost Box Records in the creation of its own (hermetic?) existence and the imagined village of Belbury.

Visiting places among the ether:
Atom Eye.
Flickering 1. Flickering 2.
for/wind.
Powell and Pressburger/The Avengers.
An audiological filing and archiving of Mr Turner.
568ml (although strictly speaking from here).

 

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Day #333/365: An aqueous running through your fingers…

Water-Of-Life-Rob-St-John-Tommy-Perman-A-Year-In-The-Country-lighter
Trails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #41/52.

Well, while I’m thinking of “21st century pastoral electronica” or indeed “electronica played on and summoned from the land and soil” (see Day #155/365)…

The Water Of Life project could well be said to be electronica (and accompanying aspects) summoned from aqua and the waterways…

Multi-layered is a word that comes to mind when thinking of this work by Tommy Perman and Rob St. John’s. There are so many layers that, like its inspiration, it can seem to run through your fingers, twist and turn to reveal other facets each time you explore the project…

Forest Memory-Exhibition-Time The Deer-Amy Cutler-Folkore Tapes-David Chatton Barker-Samandthplants-Rob St John-A Year In The Country…it reminds me in that sense of Time, the deer, is in the wood of Hallaig (see Day #226/365), with which it shares a collaborator/signpost or two…

A good starting point/summation/points of intrigue for me is some of the text on the Water Of Life LPs page in the ether, starting with a quote from Caught By The River / David Hemmingway which tilts towards that sense of aqueous elusiveness:

“I write that Water of Life seems to have “culminated” in a record but in truth the single doesn’t feel like an end to the project, a full-stop, a plug. Rather, it’s more akin to a taking of a water-sample, a dipping of toes into something that might well develop a life of its own and surge onwards.” (Caught By The River)

…and when I’ve been a-listening to the related music, I’ve thought this is not a million miles away from some of the work of The Advisory Circle or the world of Ghost Box, a sense of spectral explorations of voices/sounds from the past and hauntological concerns, albeit with a maybe gentler, more pastoral edge (and so back to 21st century pastoral electronica), combined with a certain academic/fine art explorative viewpoint…

These tracks, an ‘alternative travelogue’, evoke memories of 1970s Tomorrow’s World style programmes about a brave new world and as such fit into the hauntological universe of acts such as The Advisory Circle and The Eccentronic Research Council.” (The Active Listener)

Water Of Life-Rob St John-Tommy Perman-A Year In The Country-insert

I suppose this would could be considered hauntological river recordings, as a companion area of sound work/research to field recordings:

“…blurs field recordings with folksong, vintage synths and ambient electronica to create something at once natural, unnatural, and in perfect harmony with its source.” (The List)

Or indeed, when reading about the way the music/project was created I was put in mind of Atom Eye’s Otolith sessions and its sense of technologies from just yesteryear and their use in field recording explorations:

Recordings made with hydrophone, ambient and contact microphone recordings of rivers, spring houses, manhole covers, pub barrel rooms, pipelines and taps are mixed with the peals and drones of 1960s transistor organs, harmoniums, Swedish micro-synths, drum machines and iPads: a blend of the natural and unnatural; modern and antiquated; hi-fi and lo-fi. Drum beats were sampled from underwater recordings, and reverbs created using the convolution reverb technique to recreate the sonic space of different bodies of water.” (Water Of Life)

Water Of Life-Rob St John-Tommy Perman-Magnetic-Etheric-Caught By The River-A Year In The CountryVarious other pathways (waterways?) in the ether:
Rob St. John. Magnetic-Etheric. Chthonic Cities/Folklore Tapes.
Water Of Life. Tommy Perman. Ether victrola. Cut out and make your own.Chthonic Cities-Folklore Tapes-Rob St John-A Year In The Country

 

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Day #328/365: From flipsides of a coin to The Flipside; tales from behind the scenes of termagant hunting found in the ether airwaves after a walk through green and not always pleasant lands…

Trails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #40/52.

There’s a mad darkness eating at the soul of man…

As I’ve mentioned around these parts before and of which you may well be aware, there’s a sort of canonic trio of folk horror film classics; The Wickerman, Blood On Satan’s Claw and The Witchfinder General…

…and following pathways from The Witch Finder General you may well at some point arrive at Vincent Price and the Horror of the English Blood Beast.

Vincent Price-Michael Reeves-Witchfinder General-on set-A Year In The Country

This was a radio play that depicts the background of the making of the film and the clash between venerable horror stalwart Vincent Price and its young director Michael Reeves after he has to accept the older actor as his star because “he comes with the money“.

It’s a lovely, moving and ultimately quite sad piece of work. It puts the film itself, which could not necessarily be considered an easy story to watch (tread carefully if you should go seeking it and much of the other culture mentioned on this page) in a human and historical context.

An easy watch? Critically appreciated at the time?

But what will they think of the film?

The press, they’ll love it…

Sequences of astonishing and appalling ferocity.

The film is an exercise in sadistic extravagance.

It is an unpleasant picture.

Extremely noisy.

A downbeat yarn.

Verdict: no place for a laugh.

In many ways Witchfinder General is a film that could be seen to have its roots and onscreen finality in both the more “art” inclinations of its director and the “exploitation” aspects of the chap in charge of the money Tony Tenser (although over time critical appreciation has tended to tip more towards the “art” side of things) but without both sides of this coin would it have existed or have been as much of a resonant cultural artifact?

Hmmm.

Vincent Price-Tony Tenser-Witchfinder General-on set-A Year In The CountryOne of the chaps in charge of the money side of things on the film was Mr Tony Tenser, who had a background in, shall we say, the more lurid side of the film industry; more Soho backstreet than high Cannes I suppose but such soil and talent proved quite fecund for the growth of cult and since renowned works…

(Flipsides of the coin…it’s a curious world as well, where such Tony Tenser related tales/screenic escapades as That Kind Of Girl, London In The Raw and Primitive London which were considered once thoroughly disreputable have over the years been allowed a good old brush up and legitimising and are now sent forth via publicly funded bodies as much as via downbeat dream palaces… although such legitimisation throughout the more institutional side of culture/cultural academia seems to be somewhat the norm these days… it’s a curious thing to be wandering through a universities library and think “Oh, there’s the section on 1970s British sex comedies”.)

Anyway… as had been mentioned around these parts before, Jonny Trunk’s releasing/documenting of library music could be seen to be an appreciation/curation of accidental art; along which lines you could see the work of Mr Tenser as that of an accidental nurturer of art. Or at the very least cultural curiousities/celluloid works that reflect to some degree their times (Saturday Night Out say is an interesting capturing of the spirit and shennanigans of those earlier mentioned Soho backstreets back in the post Profumo, just pre-swinging London era)…

When you delve amongst such things, Mr Tenser and his “exploitation” sensibilities seems to be somewhat responsible one way or another for much of the aforementioned cannon of folk horror, being a chap in charge of the money for both Witchfinder General and Blood On Satan’s Claw… and also the interconnected exploitational with flashes of something of else amongst its layers Curse Of The Crimson Altar (see Day #184/365).

Hmmm again.

Tony Tenser-curse-of-the-crimson-altar-behind-the-scenes-A Year In The Country

I think, although I’m not sure, that I came across Vincent Price and the Horror of the English Blood Beast via Folk Horror Review here.

The play was written by Matthew Broughton.

A wander through a green and not always pleasant land via the just mentioned Folk Horror Review at Day #37/365.

Bibliographic flipsides: 1 / 2.

 

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

Harp In Heaven-Gone To Earth-Powell and Pressberger-A Year In The Country-2
Trails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #39/52.

Well, if we should be talking about bucolic dreams of the countryside, then the Harps in Heaven song from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1950 film Gone To Earth would be somewhat apt…

…it reminds me of Willow O Waly from The Innocents (see Day #106/365) – it has a similar haunting, otherly quality and a purity of voice that just stops and captures you in your tracks.

Harp In Heaven-Gone To Earth-Powell and Pressberger-A Year In The Country-6b
Harp In Heaven-Gone To Earth-Powell and Pressberger-A Year In The Country-1

And there is something wonderfully incongruous about this top hatted, neckerchiefed local chap carrying a full size harp through the countryside, avoiding the pitfalls of abandoned mines along the way… watching it felt like seeing a pathway or signpost to future folk explorers such as Joanna Newsome (see Day #72/365 for related fleeting flickerings)…

…and although it is a work of fiction, there is something decidedly real about it, it seems as though it is a documenting of another way of life, geographically not that distant from today but in spirit far removed.

BFI Sight & Sound-The Films Of Old Weird England-Rob Young William Fowler-A Year In The Country 3It put me in mind of Rob Young’s writing on Peter Kennedy/Alan Lomax’s folkloric documentary Oss Oss Wee Oss in his article The Films Of Old, Weird Britain (see Day #80/365):

…one of the strange survivals whose actual date of origin is almost impossible to trace, but whose very alieness points to an England from which modernity is almost insulated… manages to make this tiny fishing village appear as peculiar and exotic as Haiti in Maya Derren’s films of voodoo rituals…

And then around the same point that I was being reminded of such things, I stumbled (restumbled?) upon David Sylain’s Gone To Earth album from the 1980s and wandered if it took its title from this film?

Harp In Heaven-Gone To Earth-Powell and Pressberger-A Year In The Country-3
David Sylvian’s work, if I look back now could be seen to be some kind of earlyish starting point for what grew into being this particular year in the country; a fair while ago now I was somewhat enamoured/intrigued by the magic and textures of his album Secrets Of The Beehive and the single a little girl dreams of Taking The Veil*, which seemed to explore some kind of gentle but outer pastoralism (looking back such work is not all that removed both in spirit and chronologically from Virginia Astley’s From Gardens Where We Feel Secure – see Day #118/365) and coincided/intermingled with my discovering of England’s hidden reverse via Coil’s Horse Rotorvator…

…all of which brings me back to Rob Young, as many years later he wrote of that time:

In the changed, materialistic Britain of the 1980s, the ideas about myth and magic, memorial landscapes and nostalgia for a lost golden age were banished to internal exile, but scattered links of the silver chain glinted in the output of certain unconventional pop musicians of the time, most notably Kate Bush, Julian Cope, David Sylvian and Talk Talk.” (Fom his book Electric Eden, see Day #4/365.)

Ah and re-reading further in the just amentioned Electric Eden, I see that David Sylvian’s Gone To Earth was a reference to the Powel and Pressberger film.

Anyway, writing about the song makes me want to wander away to listen to it once again.

Listen to the celestial strings here (just after 3 minutes in more precisely).

Interrelated encasings, textures and corruscations here.

 

Harp In Heaven-Gone To Earth-Powell and Pressberger-A Year In The Country-4*Burrowing and delving further I see that this single was inspired by Max Ernst’s surrealist collage book of the same name… which leads me back towards constellations of culture/constellators within popular music (see Days #163/365 and
#250/365), which seems to have become something of a theme on this particular day of this particular year in the country and the loss of a gathering/looping of pop/the avante garde (see Day #306/365).

 

PS As a final point and talking of local exoticisms/colloquialisms, I think the scene above from Gone To Earth is one of the only times I’ve heard the word nesh used in film – it’s a very localised English phrase that means you feel the cold easily. Nice to here via celluloid tales indeed.

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Day #319/365: July Skies, explorative pathways followed via Haunted Woodland and the folly of wandering too far from the path…

July Skies-Where The Days Go-A Year In The Country
File under: Trails and Influences. Electronic Ether. Case #38/52.

Now, in amongst all the wanderings down various pathways during this year in the country, I almost overlooked one of my early reference points…

July Skies.

(…although casting backwards, I have briefly touched upon their work once before in amongst lullabies for the land)…

Virgina Astley-From Gardens Where We Feel Secure-vinyl-Rough Trade-A Year In The Country 2If Ghost Box and other connected travellers had taken up the tools/inspiration of dreampop, shoegazery and ambient soundscapes rather than a library/educational music influenced electronica and looked towards a more personal, intimate, overtly emotionally wistful, introspective(?) revisiting of the geographies of the past then the result may well have been July Skies. Nearer audiologically to Virginia Astley I guess than say David Cain but there is an interconnection…

…to quote Ms Jude Rogers on such audiological postcards from the past…

In quiet corners of the British Isles, a strange kind of nostalgic music is prospering.Some of it summons up disused railway tracks and endless childhood summers through guitar drones, samples and field recordings. Other examples evoke public-information films, abandoned airfields and other creepier elements of our collective history. Together, an array of musicians are making their own musical contributions to British psychogeography.

(Interesting the phrase psychogeography – a kind of explorative wandering – being in connections with such things; I don’t tend to think of hauntological related work in connection with it/tend to associate it more with city based wanderings/work but I suppose in the sense of such wanderings being part of a process of peeling away layers and looking into hidden corners, it is connected/could be applied – in some ways it could be seen as a previous eras similarly explorative form.)

July Skies-The Weather Clock-A Year In The Country

A good starting point to July Skies could well be The Weather Clock: “a nostalgic bucolic melancholia to warm the cockles” to quote another peruser of their work…

Just the titles of the tracks on their own are worth the price of admission:

Branch Line Summers Fade
See Britain By Train
Broadcasts For Autumn Term
Distant Showers Sweep Across Norfolk Schools
Waiting For The Test Card

(These could almost be titles to an Advisory Circle album that never was…).

It’s lovely stuff. Well worth a wander along to.

Wayside and Woodland Recordings-A Year In The Country

As an aside and interconnected pathway… I’m not sure how/why but I tend to think of Wayside and Woodland Recordings when I think of April Skies. There is a sharing of aesthetics in some of the music… and their Haunted Woodland series of puts me in mind of the research projects/volumes of some of the work sent forth by Folklore Tapes and those who work with/amongst their recordings (and maybe not a million miles away from a diffracted Coil?)…

Haunted Woodland-Wayside and Woodland-A Year In The Country

…an ongoing series… which sets out to chart the history, myths and atmospheres of specific woodland within the Staffordshire and Shropshire countryside…” (Haunted Woodland)

Day 7-Devon Folklore Tapes Vol IV-Magpahi and Paper Dollhouse-A Year In The Country 2“…an ongoing research and heritage project exploring the folkloric arcana of the farthest-flung recesses of Great Britain and beyond. Traversing the mysteries, myths, nature, magic, topography and strange phenomena of the old counties through abstracted musical reinterpretation and experimental visuals…” (Folklore Tapes)

And the titles of some of the related Haunted Woodland audiological research/journeying? Well, also worth the price of admission as well…

I Suggest It Was Time To Leave
A Distant Voodoo In Those Long Forgotten Glades
Gathering Moss Like Stones In A Sack
The Folly Of Wandering Too Far From The Path

Field Harmonics-Wayside and Woodland Recordings-A Year In The CountryVisit Jude Rogers “sonic postcard from the past” consideration of related work here.

Visit July Skies in the ether here.

Visit Wayside and Woodland Recordings home in the ether here… or more specifically Charles Vaughan’s documenting of decay via “tape distressed instrumentals… played on ancient synths, piano, old broken vinyl and the odd detuned zither”…

The ferrous reels of Folklore Tapes around these parts and pathways and elsewhere in the ether.

 

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Day #290/365: The first three minutes of Psychomania…

Psychomania-1973-A Year In The Country-3
Trails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #37/52.

Psychomania has had a long standing freehold on a corner of my mind…

It is a curious film, if you actually step back and think about the plot, it’s dabblings and the aims of the self-immolations of its riders then it’s actually a somewhat dark story rather than its 1970s hunk Nick Henson starring, jokey, cult knockabout reputation.

…anyway, rently I just went to rewatch it and didn’t make it past the first three minutes.

Why the first three minutes?

Psychomania-1973-Nicky Henson-George Sanders-Beryl Reid-A Year In The Country-4

Well, it’s those images of those motorcycles rumbling across a mist strewn Neolithic(?) standing stone landscape, their engines silenced, choreographed to an understated slice of psych-funk.

It’s as though the spirit of Kenneth Anger has jumped through time and place to early 1970s Britain.

It feels nearer to a slice of avant garde arthouse experimentalism than an early 1970s trash kind-of-horror film. In those three minutes it seemed to sum up and capture the spirit of something very particular from that period, the mixture, clash and interest in folk culture, the old ways and the new…

Psychomania-1973-Nicky Henson-George Sanders-Beryl Reid-A Year In The Country-2

Hmmm. And yes, it’s that year 1973 again.

And yep, it’s those early 1970s folk devils, the bikers, causing all the trouble again (see Days #277/365 and #88/365).

I shall not write much more on these young two-wheeler hoodlums as I think it’s something that’s well worth stepping away from and watching as soon as possible, if possible…

The silent rumblings can be viewed in what seems like quite appropriately muddy-greyish-green-o-vision here.

Psychomania-1973-A Year In The Country-1

Some background on the film and the noises that replace those silent engines courtesy of Trunk Records and Jonny Trunk (yes, him again) here.

 

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Day #288/365: Stone Tape Recordings; connecting the dots between The Owl Service (in all its forms) and archaic industrial objects in the middle of nowhere

Stone Tape Recordings-The Owl Service-A Year In The CountryTrails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #36/52.

And talking of cohorts and companions of The Owl Service (see Day #285/365)…

On the way towards A Year In The Country there were certain places (touchstones?) in the ether that I would find myself drawn to and would return to repeatedly over the months as I think semi-consciously myself and my brain sifted, collated, collected and tried to piece together the story and themes of this particular year in the country and the interconnected strands of a certain areas of “under the plough” folk music and culture.

Stone Tape Recordings was one of those places. One of the places I suppose.

It is the zeros and ones home for a record label run by Steven Collins. Mr Collins has a longstanding history of making his own particular patterns in the field of folk; he was one of the driving forces behind the band The Owl Service, alongside prior to Stone Tape Recordings he co-ran/founded the labels Hobby Horse, Midwich Records and Rif Mountain.

All these places have been home and departing posts for a very independent, I suppose underground in a way, form of folk music.

But to use the phrase folk music seems like too narrow a marker. Though much of the music these labels have sent out into the world are rooted in folk, there seems to be some underlying story that keeps it informs it and keeps it separate from the more generic of such things.

Stone Tape Recordings-A Year In The CountryTo quote myself…

The music? Well, I guess it could be categorised as folk but it has it’s own take or edge to it… many of these songs are folk music mainstays and both musically and visually it uses what could be considered standard tropes of folk music, folklore and culture…

…but this is anything but a mainstream folk album. Why? Well, I can’t quite put my finger on it but there are other layers and intelligence to it all, a pattern beneath the plough as it were. As an album it feels subtley experimental but still maintains it’s listenability.

Or to quote Stone Tape Recordings itself…

A UK-based, independent music collective inspired by the English folk revival, Edwardian occultism, Norwegian black metal, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, 1970s doom rock and the electronic landscapes of Detroit and Berlin.

Although some of those inspirations may not always be overtly apparent in the music released by Stone Tape Recordings, they do make sense as being in the mix as it were, even if it is just a tinge here and there.

Stone Tape Recordings-Hirta Songs-Alisdair Roberts-Robin Robertson-A Year In The Country
And the list reminded me of that sometimes other re-interpreter of the themes and tropes of folk music, Astrud Steehouder/Paper Dollhouse, when she says that her inspirations are “bewildering post nuclear landscapes, bleak fields, forests, thunderstorms and archaic industrial objects in the middle of nowhere…”

Stone Tape Recordings-Alasdair Roberts-Live At Leigh Folk Festival-A Year In The Country…or in the early days of The Owl Service it was said that it was intended as a way “…to explore…love of British cult film and television of the 1960’s and 70’s, the great outdoors and the sound of the English folk revival…”

Or even just the name Stone Tape Recordings… which connects the label and its work to Mr Nigel Kneale and even the work and wanderings of Mr Iain Sinclair.

…along which lines, such references points can serve, as well as sometimes being a direct influence on the music, as a way of sending the mind and the listener off on particular explorations and cultural journeys and along the way (hopefully) connecting up a few dots…

0030-The Owl Service She Makes You Flowers-A Year In The CountryAnd along which other lines, wanderings and connecting of dots… Day #100/365: Audiological remembrances of Ms Delia DerbyshireDay #30/365: A View From A Hil and a pattern beneath the plough Day #76/365: Archaic industrial objects in the middle of nowhereDay #79/365: reference of said objects… Day #202/365: Diaries of British cult television of the 1960sDay #225/365: the wanderings of a psychogeographical Straw Bear’s companionDay #15/365: The Twilight Language of Mr NIgel Kneale

Stone Tape Recordings. Their audiological archive featuring amongst others The Owl Service, Greanvine, Diana Collier, Alasdair Roberts, Country Parish Music and Nancy Wallace…

A touch of Stone Tape shuffling.

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Day #282/365: Further appreciations of accidental art; Poles and Pylons

Telegraph-Poles-and-Electric-Pylons-A-Year-In-The-Country-3b
Trails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #35/52.

Telegraph Poles and Electric Pylons-A Year In The Country-6Well, while I can appreciate the work of The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society (see Day #278/365), in some ways it is only half the story.

The other half would be contained within the pages of Poles and Pylons (or to give it its full name Telegraph Poles and Electricity Pylons).

Wherein alongside communication poles and their gossamer threads can be found fellow land striding brethren and their humming power carrying cables.

(This is possibly a more otherly/psychogeographical inspired study and collation than The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society but both places in the ether compliment one another somewhat; the flipside of one another’s coins. Both places remind me in a way of Jonny Trunks book collection of library music covers, having similarities of an appreciation for work which was created for utilitarian reasons but which has – at least in the eye of some beholders- become accidental art.)

Telegraph Poles and Electric Pylons-A Year In The Country-5Alongside Threads cold war and further consideration of how such lines bind society together and dreams of tales of aviaristic listening posts and escape (see Day #282/365), these electricity pylons also belong to another ongoing touchstone in regards to this year in the country; the image of the juxtaposition of the old ways and the new on the cover of Rob Young’s Electric Eden…

Telegraph Poles and Electric Pylons-A Year In The Country-3

…or indeed the cautionary tales of Public Information films and childhood years playing under the aforementioned humming lines in amongst the debris of what have come to be known as edgelands.

Telegraph Poles and Electric Pylons-A Year In The Country-1

Visit those cautionary tales of Dark And Lonely Water at Day #270/365 and a visual tribute at
Day #81/365. Visit documents of edgelands at Day #160/365.

Telegraph Poles and Electric Pylons-A Year In The Country-2

Telegraph Poles and Electric Pylons-A Year In The Country-4
Visit Poles And Pylons in the ether here.

 

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Day #279/365: The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society

The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society-A Year In The Country-2Trails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #34/52.

The ether has given space, nooks and crannies to all kinds and manner of niche interests…

…although I expect the Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society is one of the more niche, even amongst the further flung of such crannies…

As somebody who can be endlessly fascinated by these interconnected parts of our societies’ infrastructure, I can appreciate the sentiment of such a site (although part of me hankers after days when such a thing would have been a hard to find samizdat stapled zine)…

And such infrastructure underpins some of the core themes touchstones of A Year In The Country; the film Threads, its cold war and beyond dread takes its name from such lines and well, threads, which bind a society together, allowing it to function and communicate and how easily disrupted such gossamer strands can be.

The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society declares that its aim is to celebrate “the glorious everyday mundanitude of these simple silent sentinels the world over”, which has a rather fine poetic lyricism and intent.

The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society-A Year In The CountryAmongst its pages you will find Pole Of The Month and Pole Appreciation Day alongside reporting on an appreciation of poles from around the world… and it’s a sense of appreciation that is woven tightly throughout this collection and body of work; though sometimes cast in jovial language, there is a genuine love for these utilitarian objects, an appreciation of their (possibly) accidental art.

The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society-A Year In The Country-3

For some reason it reminds me of the fun, farce and foibles that are particularly peculiar to this particular island… it seems like but a hop, skip and step or two away from the trial and tribulations of Reggie Perrin-isms.

The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society-A Year In The Country-4

Visit The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society in the ether here.

Visit the creation of aviaristic refuges via listening post perching at Day #46/365.

 

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Day #260/365: A return to OST… from teacake time to sacred relics…

Jonny Trunk-The OST Show-Broadcast-A Year In The CountryTrails and Influences: Electronic Ether. Case #33/52.

Over the days, weeks and months, here and there I’ve mentioned Jonny Trunk’s OST radio show…

However, I think it’s deserving of a day or so all of its own.

In a brief nutshell, The OST Show is one of the places where Mr Trunk explores his appreciation of and penchant for the often overlooked nuggets of gold and sometimes tarnished with neglect gems of audiological culture, concentrating on soundtracks of celluloid and cathrode ray origin, library music and other such interrelated music and sonic thingymabobs.

One of the things that makes it particularly fine are the guests that he has along, who bring with them their own findings, collections and stories, all of which are added into an eclectically flavoured musical stew.

The Advisory Circle-Jon Brooks-Ghost Box RecordsSo, over the years, guests have included Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle… and as has been mentioned around these parts before, accompanied by a good deal of knitting and “doing” the actions to a mining safety song by Max Bygraves… yes indeed), sometime singular swordsman Andrew Weatherall, monsterist illustrator Pete Fowler, Jim Jupp and Julian House of Ghost Box Records, Radiophonic explorer Paddy “The Changes” Kingsland, more Radiophonic exploring courtesy of David “Seasons” Cain, teacake time with Mr Ian Hodgson of Moon Wiring Club, some excellent delving and wandering courtesy of Broadcast…

And that’s before we come to one off themed specials which have included shows on John Barry, Eno Moriconne, Bruton Library music, Kenneth Anger, Ms Delia Derbyshire, BBC Records… well, quite frankly a whole smorgasboard of spinning delights.

Fine stuff.

…oh and one of my favourites, where Ms Fenella Fielding slinks and sveltes by. I still find myself chuckling when she compares her “attributes” to Barbara Windsors and Mr Robin Fog has cause to mention that it’s suddenly gotten very warm in the studio (cue steaming up of glasses and tugging of collar).

250-Howlround-Robin-The-Fog-the-ghosts-of-bush-A-Year-In-The-Country-575x549Along which comedic lines, the show is ably assisted and sometimes hosted by the just aforementioned Mr Fog. I am again chuckling out loud as I think of the plays on words that he sends forth into the world via his co-organising of the weekly competitions, wherein the general public will pick up their telephonic devices in order to try their arm at having the postie deliver them a handful of goodies, via some punning and playing on film names, characters and actors.

One of the highlights of the show indeed. I won’t spoil first time hearing of said puns other than to say they are often worth the price of admission on their own.

Moon Wiring Club-A Year In The CountrySo, if you should have a spare hour or two and would appreciate a fair few “Oh, what’s that, that’s nice” accompanied by a sprinkling of “Ah, that’s what that is” moments, then a quick pop along to Mr Trunk’s weekly transmissions could well be just the ticket.

Peruse tracklists of past shows at Trunk Radio. Visit an archivic sprinkling of said shows at Resonance FM here.

A few interconnections from around these parts: Day #33/365: Broadcast. Day #52/365: Jon Brooks. Day #142/365: Robin The Fog. Day #125/365: The Seasons.

And while I’m on the subject of Mr Trunk’s endeavours, I feel it somewhat necessary to mention this… I shall pass you over to Mr Stewart Lee for a sentence or two…

Jonny Trunk has taken the astonishingly thorough archive of Smallfilms… and presented it as one would a collection of artefacts in an exhibition detailing some much-admired 20th century art movement, like Fluxus or Dada. The Smallfilms’ partnership’s sacred relics repay his trust, and our repeated viewings.

A tome well worth a viewing and considering of. 320 pages of a saggy old cloth cat and his companions. The Art of Smallfilms here.

 

PS More than a touch of glorious hauntological curmudgeonliness courtesy of Mr Lee here.