Posted on Leave a comment

Recording Our Own Ghosts – A Review of A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields at Folk Horror Revival (and Other Intertwinings)

There is a piece on the A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields book by Grey Malkin at the Folk Horror Revival site:

A Year In The Country embrace a wide range of avenues to bring together not only a sense of how far reaching and varied the origins, mainstays and current players of genres such as folk horror or hauntology can be, but crucially also how they intertwine and cross pollinate.

Each chapter expertly charts its chosen subject’s impact upon the public consciousness as well as indicating that these artefacts are now part of a greater cultural cobweb that may well have threads and components that are radically different in genre or style but that equally have a strong commonality in their sense of unease and their haunted content; of similar ghosts in the machine (or spooks in the television and bookshelves).

The article is a layered exploration of both the book and the cultural background it explores, taking in the likes of The Wicker Man, The Midwich Cuckoos, No Blade of Grass, 70’s acid folk, hauntology etc.

Alongside Grey Malkin’s own writing on the book, the piece also contains extracts from a conversation between him and the book’s author Stephen Prince:

I think, to a certain degree, the way in which it isn’t easily definable how the different and loosely gathered areas of culture that are discussed in ‘Wandering Through Spectral Fields’ appear to connect, influence one another, have become part of a lineage etc is an aspect of what is appealing about them and that gathering; it is part of what creates a certain mystique around it. Possibly in an age where every area of culture, no matter how niche, can be investigated and explained by for example a brief online search, it is the sense of a hidden history and stories, of an at least partly unexplained aspect to such work that is one of the things which may draw people to it.

 

Intertwinings:

Harvest Hymns II – Sweet Fruits, was published in 2018 by Folk Horror Revival and as with a number of their other book releases explores otherly folkloric and hauntological orientated work. It includes Cuckoos in the Same Nest, which is an alternate version of the Cuckoos in the Same Nest: Hauntological and Otherly Folk Confluences and Intertwinings chapter from the A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields book.

Grey Malkin is one of the instigators of/collaborators with The Hare And The Moon, Embertides and Widow’s Weeds.

Embertide’s Ash, Oak & Sulphur is included on the upcoming A Year In The Country released album The Quietened Mechanisms:

An exploration of abandoned and derelict industry, infrastructure, technology and equipment that once upon a time helped to create, connect and sustain society… and their echoes and remains.

The Hare And The Moon’s work has also been featured on a number of A Year In The Country released albums, including A Whisper In The Woods on The Forest / The Wald, which is a:

…study and collection of work that reflects on fragments and echoes of tales from the woodland and its folklore; greenwood rituals performed in the modern day, fantastical childhood rhymes, sylvan siren calls that tremble through tangles of branches, electronics pressed into the summoning of otherworldly arboreal creations unearthed amidst the creeping thickets and elegies to woodland intrustions, solitudes and seasons.

The Hare And The Moon “existed between 200 and early 2017 and are now as ghosts”. You can visit the spectral echoes of their explorations of the further furrows of folk/folklore at their Bandcamp page.

Also Widow’s Weeds’ track The Unquiet Grave was included on the A Year In The Country released album Audio Albion, which is a:

…music and field recording map of Britain, which focuses on rural and edgeland areas… 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.

 

Elsewhere:

 

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Detectorists, Layered Timeslips, Albion in the Overgrowth, The Unthanks and Secrets Never Told: Wanderings, Explorations and Signposts 32/52

Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-1

Previously at A Year In The Country I have written about “glimpses of Albion in the overgrowth” – referring to times when mainstream television has explored, expressed and/or reflected a sense of the undercurrents or flipsides of rural, pastoral and folk culture, its layered, sometimes semi-hidden tales and histories (something I have also referred to as a form of “otherly pastoralism” and which has also been known as “wyrd” culture).

Along which lines is the ending of the first episode of Series 3 of the BBC television program Detectorists.

In this sequence the two main characters, Andy and Lance, played by series creator Mackenzie Crook alongside Toby Jones, are in a field and just about to stop their metal detecting (which is their hobby) for the day, when one of them picks up a signal on his detector, which leads him to digging up a falconry whistle.

Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-2

Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-3

When he blows this whistle there is a sense of a chill, unsettled wind running through the air and in the sequence the whistle’s tone acts as a carrier signal back through time.

Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-4

Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-5

As they begin to leave, via the use of CGI, the field in which they are in and its trees slip back through time to many centuries ago and the edges of the screen start to flicker and vignette, while the colours become subtly muted and sepia-ish.

Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-6

A youngish woman in white shroud like garments blows the same falconry whistle that Andy and Lance have just found and looks around to find the returning bird.

Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-7Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-8Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-9

Off slightly in the distance from her, and it is not clear if she is watching across time or not, she observes a priest overseeing a ceremony in which a woman is burying a pot of gold coins in the ground – possibly as a form of tribute to the gods and spirits – accompanied by what I assume are her children and family.

Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-10Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-11Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-12Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-13

Magpies watch the group and then time slips forward, the seasons change, a couple/young lovers, who via their clothing can be identified as being from centuries later, stroll across the field.

Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-14Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-15Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-16Detectorists-BBC television series-Series 3-Episode 1-ending-The Unthanks-Magpie-17

Time moves forward again and a farmer is shown ploughing the field and unearthing the buried coins behind him, which the magpies are drawn to and fly off with.

Then time once more advances and the images fades back into to the present, with Andy and Lance being shown walking across the field once more, while the viewers now possess the knowledge that, unbeknownst to the detectorists, there is treasure in this field.

(It is part of folklore that magpies are drawn to shiny objects and decorate their nests with them, although apparently research shows that this is not the case – more details at the “The science vs folklore of Magpies” link below. Also, I’m not sure, particularly in light of this research, whether the magpies flying off with the coins was filmed in the real world and involved an awful lot of patience or if this was also created via CGI – I expect I don’t really want to know, as it might remove some of the magic of this sequence.)

The ending of the episode is not overtly dark, although there is something quietly unsettling about it, which may in part be due to the magpies lending a slightly ominous presence to proceedings.

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

The sequence is artfully done and somewhat entrancing, being enhanced by the English folk group The Unthanks evocative performance of Daved Dodd’s song The Magpie that soundtracks it and which in itself draws its lyrics from the traditional children’s nursery rhyme One For Sorrow:

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss.

The first known recording of this nursery rhyme dates back to John Brand’s Observations on Popular Antiquities in Lincolnshire in 1780, when it was just four lines:

One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a funeral
And four for birth

The Detectorists-BBC-Mackenzie Crook-Toby Jones-A Year In The Country-4

One of the earliest known versions to extend this was published in 1846, with variations, in Michael Aislabie Denham’s Proverbs and Popular Saying of the Seasons:

One for sorrow,
Two for mirth
Three for a funeral,
Four for birth
Five for heaven
Six for hell
Seven for the devil, his own self

Which adds something of an almost folk horror like aspect to the rhyme.

The Detectorists-BBC-Mackenzie Crook-Toby Jones-A Year In The Country-2

Along which lines, the lyrics to Magpie as sung by The Unthanks are as follows:

One’s for sorrow
Two’s for joy
Three’s for a girl and
Four’s for a boy
Five’s for silver
Six for gold
Seven’s for a secret never told
Devil devil I defy thee
Devil devil I defy thee
Devil devil I defy thee

Oh the magpie brings us tidings
Of news both fair and fowl
She’s more cunning than the raven
More wise than any owl
For she brings us news of the harvest
Of the barley we done called
And she knows when we’ll go to our graves

And how we shall be born

One’s for sorrow
Two’s for joy
Three’s for a girl and
Four’s for a boy
Five’s for silver
Six for gold
Seven’s for a secret never told

The-Detectorists-BBC-Mackenzie-Crook-Toby-Jones-Johnny-Flynn-A-Year-In-The-Country-1px

In this episode of Detectorists closing sequence the version of the nursery rhyme from above which has ten “for”s is not completed, rather in the song Magpie it ends on “Seven for a secret, Never to be told”, which in this context, along with the verse where the magpie is attributed with prescience, helps to invoke a sense of a land layered and possibly even haunted by its secrets, treasures and past events.

Johnny Flynn-Detectorists-single artwork cover

Which connects to Johnny Flynn’s theme song for the series, which explores not dissimilar themes, alongside a related sense of modern-day seeking and searching (related to which, as I say in the A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields book, Detectorists is in part “a portrait of people just trying to make the most of things while hopefully adding some magic to their lives”):

Will you search through the lonely earth for me
Climb through the briar and bramble
I’ll be your treasure

I felt the touch of the kings and the breath of the wind
I knew the call of all the song birds
They sang all the wrong words
I’m waiting for you, I’m waiting for you
(Mmmmmm)
Will you swim through the briny sea for me
Roll along the ocean’s floor
I’ll be your treasure
I’m with the ghosts of the men who can never sing again
There’s a place follow me
Where a love lost at sea
Is waiting for you
Is waiting for you
(The lyrics to Johnny Flynn’s Detectorists.)

The sequence also sets in motion the ending of this apparently final series of Detectorists, where (and hopefully not to give too much away) Andy and Lance finally seems to find some of what they have been seeking; their treasure both literally and in the form of a more settled sense of belonging and their hopefully rightful places in the world.

Programme Name: Detectorists series 2 - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Varde (ORION BEN), Louise (LAURA CHECKLEY), Lance (TOBY JONES), Andy (MACKENZIE CROOK), Terry (GERARD HORAN), Hugh (DIVIAN LADWA), Russell (PEARCE QUIGLEY) - (C) Channel X North/Treasure Trove/Lola Entertainment - Photographer: Chris Harris

Elsewhere:
Detectorist Season 3, Episode 1 ending featuring The Unthanks
Johnny Flynn’s Detectorists
The science vs folklore of magpies

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:
1) Day #146/365: Glimpses of Albion in the overgrowth
2) Day #274/365: Borrowings from Albion in the overgrowth…
3) Day #275/365: Borrowings from Albion in the overgrowth (#2)… becometh a fumetti…
4) Day #316/365: The Detectorists; a gentle roaming in search of the troves left by men who can never sing again
5) Wanderings #19/52a: The Folk Roots Of Peak Time Comedians From Back When / Wandering The Layers
6) Chapter 20 Book Images: “Savage Party” and Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) – Glimpses of Albion in the Overgrowth
7) Wanderings, Explorations and Signposts 25/52: Requiem Part 1 – Further Glimpses of Albion in the Overgrowth and Related Considerations

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Sun in the East – Norfolk & Suffolk Fairs and Albion Unenclosed – Part 2: Wanderings, Explorations and Signposts 12/52

Richard Barnes-The Sun in the East-British festival book-1983-Norfolk and Suffolk Fairs-Albion Barsham-8-cover

In Part 1 of this post (which can be read here) I wrote about three photography orientated books which document British alternative/counter cultural outdoor festivals from the 1960s to 1980s: Jeremy Sandford and Ron Reid’s Tomorrow’s People (1974), Richard Barnes’ The Sun in the East – Norfolk & Suffolk Fairs (1983) and Sam Knee’s Memory of a Free Festival – The Golden Era of the British Underground Festival Scene (2017).

Part 2 of this post focuses further on The Sun in the East, a book which via a collection of Richard Barnes’ and other photographs alongside articles, cartoons, fliers and posters, interviews, memories and reflections on the festival etc presents a snapshot of a set of smaller scale fairs or festivals including the Barsham Faires and Albion Fairs, which took place in a particular area of Britain between 1972-1982.

Richard Barnes-The Sun in the East-British festival book-1983-Norfolk and Suffolk Fairs-Albion Barsham-2

As referred to in Part 1 of the post, in large part the overall aesthetic and culture presented and captured in the book is what could be loosely called latter period hippie-esque and possibly proto-new age traveller (with a few punks/anarcho-punks sneaking in towards the end).

Richard Barnes-The Sun in the East-British festival book-1983-Norfolk and Suffolk Fairs-Albion Barsham-4

And as also mentioned in Part 1, accompanying those aesthetics some of the fairs in The Sun in the East were medieval themed, with the entertainers and some of the attendees costumed or dressed in that manner. This may have reflected an early 1970s folk related interest in such things, an almost Arcadian wish to return to the land and the old ways that was often interconnected with hippie-esque culture and which has been described as a form of “imaginative time travel” (to quote Rob Young).

(As an aside, some of the posters/fliers for the festivals show the entrance fee as being 30p or 20p if in costume, which allowing for inflation is approximately £2.50 to £1.50 at contemporary prices – which seems somewhat cheap compared to the modern day festival ticket prices that can run into hundreds of pounds).

Richard Barnes-The Sun in the East-British festival book-1983-Norfolk and Suffolk Fairs-Albion Barsham-1

The festivals the book features are different from most of those in Tomorrow’s People and Memories of a Free Festival in that they weren’t big name band orientated, rather they featured performers nearer to say street performers – mimes, clowns, puppeteers, stilt walkers, small scale theatre shows etc.

In the photographs these performers seem nearer to being just another part of the festival, with them often performing literally in amongst the other attendees.

Looked at now, the festivals and in particular their entertainments in part seem not all that dissimilar to say a new age/eco leaning contemporary family friendly festival that was possibly organised or sponsored by for example a local council or a grant funded organisation of some form – which is also possibly in part a reflection of the incorporation and acceptance by wider society, governing bodies and authorities of some elements of what was once more fringe and counter culture.

Richard Barnes-The Sun in the East-British festival book-1983-Norfolk and Suffolk Fairs-Albion Barsham-7

Alongside the medieval and hippie-esque aspects and those just mentioned performers, looking through The Sun in the East there are at times old time music hall, cabaret and burlesque aspects to some of the performances, which is an intriguing prefiguring of the more recent revivals in such things.

Hare and Tabor-Albion Fair tshirt-Barsham Fair poster flier

The Sun is in The East is now long out of print and at the point of writing not all that cheap to buy second hand but it’s worth seeking out as a document of a semi-forgotten corner of cultural history.

I was first pointed in the direction of the book by undercurrents-of-folklore explorers and merchandisers Hare and Tabor, who as I have mentioned around these parts before have produced a t-shirt which is inspired by artwork for the Albion Fair, proceeds from which go towards funding the Fairs Archive, which is a travelling exhibition that documents the Fairs.

Their Albion Fair t-shirt page also contains some interesting background on the fair and related links. Well worth a visit.

Richard Barnes-The Sun in the East-British festival book-1983-Norfolk and Suffolk Fairs-Albion Barsham-3

Elsewhere:
The Albion Fair t-shirt at Hare and Tabor
The Fairs Archive
The not-so-pocket-money-friendly out of print The Sun in the East book
Rob Young’s Electric Eden

Elsewhere at A Year In The Country:
1) Day #4/365: Electric Eden; a researching, unearthing and drawing of lines between the stories of Britain’s visionary music
2) Day #40/365: Electric Eden Ether Reprise… from the wild woods to broadcasts from the pylons…
3) Week #6/52: Tomorrow’s People, further considerations of the past as a foreign country and hauntology away from its more frequent signifiers and imagery…
4) Audio Visual Transmission Guide #46/52a: Barsham Faire 1974 and a Merry Albion Psychedelia
5) Chapter 1 Book Images: Electric Eden – Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music – Folk Vs Pop, Less Harvested Cultural Landscapes and Acts of Enclosure, Old and New
6) Wanderings, Explorations and Signposts 11/52: The Sun in the East – Norfolk & Suffolk Fairs and Albion Unenclosed – Part 1

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Quietened Cosmologists – Further Reviews and Broadcasts: Artifact Report #46/52a

The-Quietened-Cosmologists-Dawn and Night edtions-front and opened-A-Year-In-The-Country

Some further reviews and broadcasts of The Quietened Cosmologists album, which 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.”

Electronic Sound magazine-issue 35-The Quietened Cosmologists review-A Year In The Country

First up is a review in Electronic Sound issue 35 by the magazine’s Commissioning Editor Neil Mason…

…that issue has a classic 1950s/1980s style 3D cover complete with red/blue anaglyph glasses, which is a nice touch and something of a nod to the lineage of 3D now that one of the latest incarnations of 3D in the home is largely coming to an end as manufacturers have mostly stopped making 3D televisions.

The issue is available here and as part of a vinyl bundle here.

Goldmine Magazine-Spin Cycle-Dave Thompson

Next up is Dave Thompson’s review at his Spin Cycle column on Goldmine magazine’s site:

“…a rumination on what might have been – the space missions that were promised, that were planned and then abandoned, or that never got off even the figurative ground in the first place… Disconnected voices from impossible distances, radio signals, muted melodies, ambitious hope and scientific daydreams…”

Find the column here.

The Terrascope-logo and reviews image

Andrew Young reviews the album at Terrascope:

“Keith Seatman has beats a plenty like a wonky Kraftwerk after they have discovered Steve Birchall’s epic Reality Gates album, proper space rock… Listening Center  take us to a strange ticking otherworldy place, a place that feels at once vast and infinite, a haunting slice of space music… The record ends with Landfall at William Creek, David Colohan’s spectral hammered dulcimer peels away into the inky vastness of space, a beautiful end to a fine record.”

Visit the review here.

We Are Cult website logo

We Are Cult included the album in a review round up

“…it’s a cracking collection of electronica… about the abandoned, uncelebrated, and unrealised attempts to reach the stars… David Colohans desolate Landfall At William Creek perfectly evokes lonely space junk rusting in the wilderness… Keith Seatman’s 093A-Prospero is best described as a sort of interstellar Lieutenant Pigeon.”

An interstellar Lieutenant Pigeon? Well, count me in (!).

Visit the reviews round up here.

The Unquiet Meadow-radio show-Ashevill FM

The Unquiet Meadow included Pulselovers Lonely Puck amongst some fine company on their show which wanders through and explores the further reaches of folk and where they meet the spectral concerns of hauntology…

Originally broadcast on Asheville FM, browse the playlist here and the show’s site at the radio station here.

The Seance Radio show-wider logo

In a rounding the circle manner, some time A Year In The Country fellow travellers Pete Wiggs and James Papademetrie of the “phantom seaside radio” show The Séance have included David Colohan and Field Lines Cartographers tracks on two of their show.

First heard via the airwaves at Radio Reverb and Sine FM, the episodes and their playlist’s are archived here and here.

You the night and the music-radio show-mat handley-A Year In The Country

In a further rounding of the circle manner, Mat Handley of Pulselovers played David Colohan, Time Attendant and Vic Mars’ tracks on his You, the Night & the Music show.

That show was also originally broadcast on Sine FM. Visit the online archive for the episodes here and here.

the-gated-canal-community-radio-the-quietened-bunker-a-year-in-the-country

The Gated Canal Community Radio Show, hosted by record labels Front & Follow and The Geography Trip, played Howlround’s track on their show.

Originally on Reform Radio, the show is archived here and here and the show’s blog can be found here.

Wyrd Daze-zine-logo

In an interconnected manner, Wyrd Daze included three tracks from the album on their Samhain Seance 6 : Triffid Witch mix, alongside tracks from Front & Follow’s 10th anniversary compilation Lessons and their Blow series, plus the likes of Leyland Kirby and The Haxan Cloak.

The online archive can be found here and details of the mix can be found here. Wyrd Daze’s main site can be found here.

The Quietened Cosmologists-landscape artwork-2

Previous reviews and broadcasts of The Quietened Cosmologists:
Artifact Reports #37/52a: The Quietened Cosmologists Writing, Posts and Broadcasts
Artifact Report #38/52a: The Quietened Cosmologists Writing, Posts and Broadcasts
Artifact Report #39/52a: The Quietened Cosmologists at You, the Night & the Music and feuilleton
Artifact Report #44/52a: A Year In The Country at The Golden Apples of the Sun

A tip of the hat to everybody involved. The support is much appreciated.

The Quietened Cosmologists-landscape artwork-4

The Quietened Cosmologists features 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.

Further details can be found around these parts here, at Bandcamp here and can be previewed at Soundcloud here.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

All The Merry Year Round – Pre-order: Artifact Report #45/52a

Pre-order available today 7th November 2017. Release date 28th November 2017.

All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night and Dawn editions-A Year In The Country

Artifact #6a

Featuring 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).

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.

However, just as with their forebears there is a ritualistic nature to these modern-day reveries whereby communal or solitary seances are undertaken when stepping into such tales via flickering darkened rooms lit by screens, although their enclosed nature is in contrast to more public traditional folklore rituals.

Accompanying which with the passing of time some televisual and cinematic stories continue or begin to resonate as they gain new layers of meaning and myth; cultural folklore that has come to express and explore an otherly Albion, becoming a flipside to traditional folklore tales and sharing with them a rootwork that is deeply embedded in the land.

In amongst All The Merry Year Round can be found wanderings down such interwoven pathways, travelling alongside straw bear and cathode ray summonings alike.

 

Available via our Artifacts Shop, our Bandcamp Ether Victrola and at Norman Records.
Dawn Edition £11.95. Night Edition £24.95.

Both editions hand-finished and custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink by
A Year In The Country.


Tracks also previewable at Soundcloud.

 

Dawn Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £11.95.
Hand-finished white/black CDr album in textured recycled fold out sleeve with inserts and badge.All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Dawn edition-front-A Year In The Country
All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Dawn edition-back-A Year In The CountryAll The Merry Year Round-CD album-Dawn edition-opened-A Year In The CountryAll The Merry Year Round-Dawn edition-white-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
Top of CD.                                                          Bottom of CD.

Further encasement details:
1) Custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink.
2) Includes 25mm/1″ badge, secured with removable glue on string bound tag.
3) Back of one insert hand numbered.

 

Night Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £24.95.
Hand-finished box-set contains: album on all black CDr, 12 page string bound booklet, 4 x badge pack, 4 x stickers, 1 x large badge.

All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night edition-front-A Year In The Country All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night edition-opened-A Year In The Country-2All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night edition-all items-A Year In The Country All The Merry Year Round-CD album-Night edition-booklet 2-A Year In The Country-2All The Merry Year Round-Night-Edition-all-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
Top of CD.                                                            Bottom of CD.

Further encasement details:
1) Booklet/cover art custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink.
2) Contained in a matchbox style sliding two-part rigid matt card box with cover print.
3) Fully black CDr (black on top, black on playable side).
4) Black string bound booklet: 12 pages (6 sides printed);
Printed on textured fine art cotton rag paper, heavy card and semi-transparent vellum.
Hand numbered on the reverse.
5) 4 x badge set, contained in a see-through polythene bag with a folded card header.
6) 1 x large badge.
7) 2 x square and 2 x round vinyl style stickers.

All The Merry Year Round-landscape artwork 5-A Year In The Country

Tracklisting:

1) Towards The Black Sun – United Bible Studies
2) Rigel Over Flag Fen – Circle/Temple
3) She Became Ashes and Left With the Wind – Magphai
4) Winter Light – Cosmic Neighbourhood
5) Azimuth Alignment Ritual – Field Lines Cartographer
6) Meridian – Polypores
7) Tradition and Modernity – A Year In The Country
8) Moons (Part 1) – Sproatly Smith
9) Tales Of Jack – Pulselovers
10) I’ll Bid My Heart Be Still – The Hare And The Moon & Jo Lepine
11) In a Strange Stillness – Time Attendant
12) Chetwynd Haze – The Séance

Artwork/encasment design and fabrication by AYITC Ocular Signals Department

Artifact #6a / Library Reference Numbers: A011ATMYRD / A011ATMYRN

All The Merry Year Round-landscape artwork 6c-A Year In The Country

 

Posted on Leave a comment

(Revisiting) Travelling For A Living: Audio Visual Transmission Guide #41/52a

Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-1

Back in the first year of A Year In The Country I wrote about Travelling For A Living, Derrick Knight’s 1966 documentary about folk singers The Watersons.

At the time it was quite a hard film to track down – it had been available on video tape once upon a time, it could be found in an out of print boxset and I think it was available at the BFI’s Mediatheques (there were a handful of these around the UK in cinemas, libraries etc, which had a number of screens and headphones where you could watch archived films, television etc).

Anyways, with the advent of the online BFIPlayer in more recent times, you can now watch Travelling For A Living relatively easily online, so I thought I would revisit it.

Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-7

The film follows The Watersons throughout their life on the road, playing at folk clubs, recording in studios, at home in Hull as friends and other performers visit (including a fleeting rare glance of folk singer Anne Briggs).

Although it was released in 1966, it seems to belong to an earlier much more kitchen sink, almost post-war period.

Often representations of British life and social history from that time focus on a swirling, colourful, pop-mod-about-to-be-psych Swinging London metropolitan view of things.

Travelling For A Living presents a more gritty Northern contrast to that (although no less vital), an almost alternative history view of culture at that time which seems to have been semi-written out of popular cultural history.

Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-3

However, quite possibly, the locations and music shown in Travelling For A Living was nearer to the day-to-day life of more of the nation than that of Swinging London; more backroom of a local pub than Kings Road high life, club and boutique orientated.

Travelling-For-A-Living-Derek-Knight-The-Watersons-A-Year-In-The-Country-8b-in a row

I think one of the reasons I’m drawn to the film is that it provides a glimpse or two of a culture which, though it existed in what is now looked back upon as a time of swinging Britannia and heading towards the psychedelia of the late 1960s summer of love, appears to be very separate from the more often considered views and aesthetics of the time.

This is a much more grassroots, kitchen sink, gritty culture/counter-culture and to my eye makes me think more of the 1950s than the 1960s; all monochrome steaming breath and black wearing beat style.

In a way it reminds me of images of the 1980s Medway garage punk scene, such as those taken by Eugene Doyen; it shares that sense of a culture that is occurring separate to the mainstream stories and histories of the time and shares a similar kitchen sink, no frills and fripperies aesthetic.

(From the first year post on Travelling For A Living.)

Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-2

Folk music is often associated with rural areas and tradition but in Travelling For A Living it is generally shown in amongst a much more Northern town setting – the film featuring extensive evocative terraced house street views and is connected to the harsh realities of the local fishing industry from which some of the traditional songs The Watersons sing originated.

Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-6

At one point their musical producer talks about how all the other music that they’ve heard – Ella Fitzgerald, more contemporary work by the likes of The Rolling Stones, music hall, jazz etc – edges into their music.

Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-5

(I could add pub singing to that as their take on folk singing seems in part to have developed from and could be connected to the oral, communal tradition of pub singing, which developed in the local area after the war and the demolishing of the music hall, with the associated music moving into pubs: at one point Norma Waterson say of pub singing “This is our tradition, it’s what we were brought up on.“)

Him saying that got me wandering as to how much The Watersons were replicating the past and how much they were creating their own take on traditional music.

This music doesn’t exist today as a living form but only in odd corners of memory; selected, hidden in the early recordings, notes and jottings treasured in the collections of Cecil Sharpe House. From these still warm ashes The Waterstones created music which is then seen to be very much alive.” (From the narration to the film.)

There were relatively few recordings of traditional folk available at the time, it being more an oral tradition and often existing outside or before the widespread recording of music or only have been recorded in written form by the likes of folk music researchers and revivers such as Cecil Sharpe in the early 20th century.

(As a connected aside, in the film The Watersons are shown visiting and listening to the archives of Cecil Sharpe House.)

Therefore reference points and memories of this earlier music may well have been fragmentary in nature and not have leant themselves to exact replication; possibly meaning that music created by The Watersons back then was in part an almost hauntological, hazy remembering of folk music – one that is both a homage to earlier traditional folk and which has also to a degree over the years come to represent what traditional folk music sounds like.

Derrick Knight-Travelling For A Living-The Watersons-1966-BFIPlayer-3b

(File Post Under: Cathode Ray & Cinematic Explorations, Radiowave Resonations & Audiological Investigations)

Audio Visual Transmission Guide #1:
Travelling For A Living

Local Broadcasts:
Day #11/365: Lal Waterson – Teach Me To Be A Summers Morning
Day #242/365: The return of old souls; fleeting glances of Anne Briggs
Day #243/365: Travelling For A Living; tea served in the interval at nine o’clock and a return to populous stories and wald tales

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Moomins And The Seams That Keep Giving: Wanderings #38/52a

The Moomins soundtrack-Finders Keepers Records-A Year In The Country-2I
I suppose that one day much of the semi-lost or unreleased music/cultural treasures will have been fully mined and there won’t be any more for archivists such as Jonny Trunk and Finders Keepers Records to seek out and send out into the world…

…but that moment doesn’t seem to have quite arrived yet and things still seem to keep turning up.

The Moomins-cassette-Finders Keepers RecordsThe Moomins soundtrack-Finders Keepers Records-A Year In The Country-3 The Moomins soundtrack-Finders Keepers Records-A Year In The Country-1

Along which lines, there are some rather lovely editions of the Moomins soundtrack released by the just mentioned folk at Finders Keepers Records.

I guess you could file The Moomins alongside other gently bucolic, quietly left-of-centre work such as Ivor The Engine, Bagpuss and possibly gently edgeland, quietly left-of-centre work such as The Flumps and The Wombles…

…although when watching clips/episodes of the series, wheat they put me in mind of were the left-of-centre fantasies and fairy tales of some of the Czech New Wave (something I recently also said about Isabell Garrett’s animated film Bye Bye Dandelion).

folk_is_not_a_four_letter_word-Andy Votel-Cherry Red-Delay 68-A Year In The Country folk_is_not_a_four_letter_word 2-Andy Votel-Cherry Red-Delay 68-A Year In The Country

Which may not be all that surprising, considering Finders Keepers/Finders Keepers history of releasing Czech New Wave related soundtracks such as Valerie and Her Week of Wonders and Daisies (and I could also possibly wanders towards the woodcut-esque tales-from-the-forest covers of the Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word left-of-centre folk compilation albums, which were compiled by Finders Keeper-er Andy Votel).

 

File under: Trails and Influences / Year 3 Wanderings

Intertwined wanderings around these parts:

Day #164/365: A saggy old cloth cat and curious cultural connections…

Day #247/365: Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word and voyages through other playful fancies from behind the once ferrous drapes…

Audio Visual Transmission Guide #38/52a: Bye Bye Dandelion

Elsewhere in the ether:
Findings at Finders Keepers Records. Delvings at Trunk Records.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Further – A Temporary Audio Visual Space: Ether Signposts #14/52a

Further-Portico Gallery DJ Food-flier

Although it’s quite rare I make it down to the metropolis nowadays, I’ve been somewhat drawn to and intrigued by the Further event put together by DJ Food and Pete Williams:

“An irregular event held in different places, it’s not a club night, it’s not monthly, there’s no dance floor. It HAS got all the things we love in it though: experimental music and film, food and drink, socialising and a bit of record hunting. Taking old analogue image making techniques from the 20th century and recontextualising it into new spaces for today.

“We have Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) and Julian House (The Focus Group) from Ghost Box Records playing a rare audio visual set and Howlround sound tracking Steven McInerney’s short film, ‘A Creak In Time’.

“Pete and I will be pulling all manner of projections, films, slides and FX out to illuminate the gallery at the beginning and end of the evening to compliment our DJ sets.”

Sounds like a good old night and even allowing for the night bus home, you could probably be in bed by 1am if you live around those parts.

Further Slides-DJ Food-Portical Gallery-2

(The description of the event as a “A Temporary Audio Visual Space” made me think of Hakim Bey’s concept/book Temporary Autonomous Zones, which refers in part to spaces where the norms and rules of society and formal structures of control briefly do not apply, areas where for example a carnivalesque or explorative sense of freedom can be created. Though in Further’s case such things would I expect be more in terms of visual and musical aesthetics rather than the more overtly political considerations of Hakim Bey’s work.)

Further Slides-DJ Food-Portical Gallery

I particularly like the hand tinted slides that DJ Food posted on his site (because of the nature of AYITC you’ll need to pop over to his site to get the full effect). And if I’m not mistaken, there’s a Howlround design from the AYITC released Torridon Gate in amongst them.

Further could well be filed alongside the upcoming The Delaware Road Kelvedon Hatch event, in that both have Howlround performing and both I expect may well appeal to people who are culturally hauntologically/spectrally inclined. The Ghost Box Belbury Youth Club events may also be another reference point.

The event is on May 6th at The Portico Gallery in London.

(File post under: Other Pathway Pointers And Markers)

Directions and destinations:
The Further website
Tickets
The Hand Tinted Slides
Facebook page

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Boards Of Canada – Tomorrows Harvest; Stuck At The Starting Post / Tumbled From A Future Phase IV ? : Wanderings #13/52a

boards-of-canada-tomorrows-harvest-warp-artcard-edition-a-year-in-the-country-1c

So, Gemini, the first track on Boards Of Canada’s Tomorrow’s Harvest album from 2013…

It begins with an Advisory Circle / Ghost Box-esque TV ident-like introduction (although I suppose considering who came first, any such things on Advisory Circle / Ghost Box releases are possibly Boards Of Canda-esque) and then…

…well it seems to tumble down a wormhole and create a soundtrack to some imagined future version of the 1974 film Phase IV, a science fiction soundtrack that seems to be both beautiful and terrifying.

The album’s title and the limited artcard edition seem to add to that Phase IV air, of a natural world order gone out of kilter and what seem to be only-just-official scientific investigation attempts.

boards-of-canada-tomorrows-harvest-warp-artcard-edition-a-year-in-the-country-4

It also puts me in mind of the hidden, subterranean investigations and research facility of The Andromeda Strain  although without any of the comfort that the passing of time and the film being aimed towards a mainstream audience has added.

(And talking of hidden, subterranean, are these fully officially sanctioned research facilities?… Beyond The Black Rainbow and its soundtrack may also be an appropriate reference point.)

The cover artwork features a cityscape photographed from the land that surrounds it, caught in a sickly yet beautiful haze, which could be wandering towards shades of the environmental disasters of 1970’s No Blade Of Grass or maybe even the skies from the 1979 Quatermass series once the harvesting has taken place.

Brrr.

boards-of-canada-tomorrows-harvest-warp-artcard-edition-a-year-in-the-country-3

Inside devastated crops, broadcast towers, unidentifiable research-esque buildings/installations, distant hazy figures in desertscapes, barbed wire, forests, marks in the earth, a possibly abandoned car, what could be a reflection in a car light or may be on the glass of the visor of protective suiting and present-day-from-the-future concrete monolithic buildings all jostle for space, captured via the pixels of I assume a traditional cathode ray television screen.

The effect is strangely beautiful, entrancing and unsettling – similar indeed to Gemini.

I tend to find with this album that I rarely make it past this first track. In fact I often don’t even make it through this one track – it throws and distorts my mind, not through being extreme in terms of say dissonant audio but just in the atmosphere it conjures of all the above.

boards-of-canada-tomorrows-harvest-warp-artcard-edition-a-year-in-the-country-2

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

Intertwined wanderings around these parts:
Day #88/365: No Blade Of Grass and a curious mini-genre…

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

Day #197/365: Huff-ity puff-ity ringstone round; Quatermass and the finalities of lovely lightning

Day #255/365: Beyond The Black Rainbow; Reagan era fever dreams, award winning gardens and a trio of approaches to soundtrack disseminations… let the new age of enlightenment begin…

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

Elsewhere in the ether:
The Andromeda Strain #1The Andromeda Strain #2 (contemporary revisiting). Award Winning Gardens / Mercurio Arboria / Beyond The Black Rainbow. Phase IV. Phase IV lost and found. No Blade Of Grass (and a good sit down with a cup of tea afterwards while the old nerves recover).

GeminiTomorrow’s Harvest: encasement.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

A Year In The Country – No More Unto The Dance pre-order and release dates

Dawn Edition £12.00. Night Edition £25.00.
No More Unto The Dance-both editions-A Year In The Country
Audiological Transmissions Artifact #5

Available to pre-order on 19th September 2016 at our Artifacts Shop and our Bandcamp Ether Victrola. Release date 3rd October 2016.

Two limited editions: Dawn fold-out and Night boxset.

No More Unto The Dance-Night Edition all items-A Year In The CountryNo More Unto The Dance-Dawn Edition opened-A Year In The Country

 

Notes and Scribings:
No More Unto The Dance is a reflection of nightlife memories and the search for the perfect transportative electronic beat; a collection of reverberations that have fragmented with the passing of time.

It is a document of life once lived in the very heart of metropolises, immersed in their subcultures: a time that was predicated in part by a passion for club culture, dancing, dressing up and related explorations carried out with the obsession, enjoyment and energy of youth.

No More Unto The Dance-Night Edition landscape sticker 4-A Year In The Country

Much of that gradually (or sometimes not so gradually) faded away or took other pathways.

The world in which this recording was made does still come alive at night but it is more likely to be the nocturnal foraging and wanderings of wildlife rather than in a low-ceilinged basement lit by a strobe light.

The music presented here is the soundtrack to those basements, filtered through the looking glass of a life far removed from the bright lights and big city, the dressing up and dancing but a memory – a world far, far apart, almost that seems to belong only to the worn and aged pages of a faded, forgotten magazine.

No More Unto The Dance-Night Edition landscape sticker 1-A Year In The Country

The journey it takes envisions a mixtape of memories and echoes of those pages, of 12”s bought because of the primal rush their electronics would bring on when listened to in a record shop, the lucky dip of unknown records bought hopefully from the racks of bargain basements, the more abstract/triphop beats to be found in intriguingly designed/obscure sleeves and to times lost in the seemingly endless dreams of a club; a time when the future burned with the brightness, optimism and idealism of youth.

No More Unto The Dance-Night Edition landscape sticker 3-A Year In The Country

Memories and Echoes:
1) Dark days
2) Fractures
3) Plaintive Resonations
4) Future Dissolvation
5) Airborne At Five Minutes To Midnight
6) In The Midnight Sun
7) A Moment Of Optimism
8) The Experiment Ends
9) After The Dream
10) When Did It All Break?
11) A Revisiting Of Familiar Tropes
12) A Fanfare And A Last Hurrah

 

Available to pre-order on 19th September 2016 at our Artifacts Shop and our Bandcamp Ether Victrola. Release date 3rd October 2016.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Audiological Transmission #32/​​​​​52​​: The Quietened Bunker – Crafty Mechanics

Time Attendant-Crafty Mechanics-The Quietened Bunker-A Year In The Country-with stroke

Audiological exploration by Time Attendant from the album The Quietened Bunker.

The album is available via our Artifacts Shop, at our Bandcamp Ether Victrola and at Norman Records.

BC-Time Attendant-Crafty Mechanics-The Quietened Bunker-A Year In The Country-with stroke 2Transmission sent, received, transmitted: Considerations of The Quietened Bunker at A Closer Listen:

Time Attendant’s “Crafty Mechanics” contains the elements of a club track, but is not for dancing; it’s what a club might sound like if all the machines wound down. 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Quietened Bunker – preorder and release dates

The Quietened Bunker-Night and Dawn Editions-front-A Year In The Country
Pre-order 1st August 2016. Release date 15th August 2016.
Will be available via our Artifacts Shop and our Bandcamp Ether Victrola.

 

Audiological Transmissions Artifact #4
The Quietened Bunker is an exploration of the abandoned and/or decommissioned Cold War installations which lie under the land and that would have acted as selectively populated refuges/control centres if the button was ever pushed; a study and reflection on these chimeric bulwarks and the faded but still present memory of associated Cold War dread, of which they are stalwart, mouldering symbols.

Audiological contents created by Keith Seatman, Grey Frequency, A Year In The Country, Panabrite, Polypores, Listening Center, Time Attendant, Unknown Heretic and David Colohan.

 

Night Edition. Limited to 52 copies. £25.00.
Hand-finished box-set contains: album on all black CDr, 12 page string bound booklet, 4 x badge pack, 4 x sticker pack & landscape format sticker.
The Quietened Bunker-Night Edition-all items-A Year In The Country

 

Dawn Edition. Limited to 104 copies. £12.00.
Hand-finished white/black CDr album in textured recycled fold out sleeve with inserts and badge.The Quietened Bunker-Dawn Edition-front-A Year In The CountryThe-Quietened-Bunker-Dawn-Edition-opened-A-Year-In-The-Country-1

Both editions hand-finished and custom printed using archival giclée pigment ink by A Year In The Country.