“The Quietened Bunker is an exploration of the abandoned and/or decomissioned 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.
“Looking back, such preparations can seem a reflection of some kind of madness or delusion in the collective consciousness and the halls of power – a tilting at windmills that was necessary to protect national psyches from the reality and aftermath of the sudden use and descending of mechanisms with almost indescribable destructive power.
“Now it can all seem like a dream from another world, one where for a number of decades populations lived under the day-to-day threat of total annihilation and where millions was spent on this network of shelters and defences; preparations to allow fiddling once all had burned, such bunkers possibly being nearer to utilitarian national follies than fortresses.
Indeed, today they are as likely to be signposted tourist attractions as operative defences.”
(From the notes that accompany The Quietened Bunker.)
Audiological contents for the album created by Keith Seatman, Grey Frequency, A Year In The Country, Panabrite, Polypores, Listening Center, Time Attendant, Unknown Heretic and David Colohan.
Further details of The Quietened Bunker can also be found amongst the reaping and ingatherings of Heathen Harvest.
There is an excellent, evocative piece on The Quietened Bunker and personal related history / explorations of an abandoned Cold War Monitoring Post by writer Simon Reynolds at his Retromania blog:
“Managed to get it open and we climbed down there. The ladder was like one of those you get on the outside of a silo or inside of the turret of a submarine. At the bottom was a rather confined chamber, with bunks and loads of sandbags. There might have been some other paraphernalia down there – gas masks, maybe. What I do remember vividly is the shaft of summer light coming down the stairwell and the dust motes irradiated in it… Then we climbed back up and out and once again were surrounded by thistles and cow pats.”
(If you should wander in that direction then a peruse of the comments section and related links connected to Mr Reynolds and Subterranea Britannica is highly recommended – you may well stumble upon a rather surprising piece of light-catchery from back when.)
Audiological exploration excerpt #1 by Michael Tanner from the album Nine of Swords.
This was the third album released in our first spin-around-the-sun and was created via a process whereby nine tarot cards were allocated to nine sonorous, percussive instruments and played in the order of their drawing from the deck.
This is a 54 minute or so journey for which sonorous is particularly apt word; it is immersive and enveloping, while at the same time it seems to hint at a quietly shimmering darkness just on the edge of things – restful, drifting and yet…
I think now would be a good point to hand over to the Nine of Swords related scribings by Grey Malkin at The Active Listener:
“This is an album to focus on and to pay attention to, perhaps an album for late nights or early mornings; there is something contemplative at heart here, this music invites reflection. The glistening of the water bowls merges into the gentle waves of temple bells, at times creating a solid, reverberating mass whilst at others a more distant echo. There is great beauty in this recording, nothing is rushed and the sound is crystalline and pure. The world outside seems to grow quieter around the music, as if in step. This is not easy listening however, but a demanding and focused album which commands your complete attention.”
Considerations of Nine of Swords at Music Won’t Save You here:
“…ghostly sounds that evoke the English tradition… imbued with dark magic…” (translation courtesy of ether auto).
Earlier considerations of Mr Tanner’s early work around these parts: Day #120/365: Plinth’s Wintersongs …and to quote myself about such things, this “…could be loosely described as a kind of folkloric or pastorally themed ambient or even soundscape album but I don’t think it’s an easy piece of work to pigeonhole in such a way…
“…in parts it may be a journey through a certain kind of pastoral reverie there is also something else going on amongst the hills and trees. There’s heartbreak in the pathways of it’s songs at points; Hearth makes my mind wander towards losses along the byways of life…”
I think that title came from this consideration of their work: “Their recorded music is resolutely experimental but also very listenable-to, it is both warm and unsettling and although often created in part with resolutely non-electronic equipment, it makes me think of electronica played on and summoned from the land and soil.”
Often experimental musical work is rooted/deeply connected with/created in urban environments but to quote myself Hand of Stabs work could maybe be seen as an exploration of “subculture that draws from the undergrowth of the land” rather than built up areas – though to be honest, I think to a large degree they draw from and create their own land / space / world.
They’re not quite like anybody else. And all the better for it.
A different river indeed (to semi-quote Hand of Stabs).
Although, if I was to following intermingled tributaries I may well come to these springs / sources:
“…when I think of Hand of Stabs I’m reminded of the likes of COUM Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle, maybe a touch of Einstürzende Neubauten and even Herman Nitsch. There seems to be some kind of line or continuum from such cultural explorers and boundaries pushers to these gents but HoS have replaced forms of aggressive transgression with something more pastoral in its themes, while still creating work very far the centre of things and which delves in the hidden.”
Intriguing. Sometimes mystifying (in the best of ways). Prolific. Busy gents. Peruse their home in the social ether to see what I mean, wherein they may well be involved in documentaries on resolutely independent radio stations, performing in public libraries (hurrah!), improvisations amongst altar bells, providing work for 24 hour broadcasts of “music nobody has heard – in a place where nobody might be listening”, creating a dance accompanied performance around a piano left in the woods for a year…
Actually, listening to Black-Veined White again, what it actually made me think of in part, with its particular subject matter inspiration and spoken word scientific descriptions of a particular rare butterfly, was Peter Strickland’s rather fine, gently phantasmagoric (chimeric?) The Duke Of Burgundy and its own studies and academies of not too distant creatures.
Hmmm, curious. It predates that work somewhat but there could well be a further line drawn…
Audiological exploration by Grey Frequency from the album Immersion.
I have something of a soft spot for Grey Frequency and their album that we sent out into the world; their music has a drifting, dreamlike quality intertwined with a quietly threatening ominousness.
Or to quote myself, when listening to their work I have found that “I was travelling and tunnelling through… subterranean passageways, accompanied by a sense of bliss become dread, of creaking, lurking monoliths…”
Or to quote myself further, it is music which “captures a sense of the lost futures and utopias which were once promised; those creaking monoliths are the sounds of the fading half-life of the utilitarian reinforced concrete structures which were once signposts and symbols of those futures and better days. This is music as collapsed edgeland industrial estates and wastelands, where the buzz of the pylons carry electricity to elsewhere, nolonger here and transmission centres have fallen silent.”
Considerations of the album can be found at Heathen Harvest:
“The whole thing looks as a discovery, a document, a forgotten memory or a souvenier – something you may find in an abandoned library, not in a record store…”
Audiological exploration by Listening Center from the album Fractures.
Transmission sent, received, transmitted: Triangular Shift can be found upon the scheduled flights, wanderings, considerations of business/executive assistant funk and rather fine banter of Project Moonbase:
“Lovely/terrifying… which is what you want, that was what 1973 was like listeners if you weren’t there, I was… I think there was a hint of The Tomorrow People in that track. It was like a Tomorrow People pop song… I think also a bit more terrifying 1970s science fiction…”
Audiological exploration by Circle/Temple from Fractures.
Transmission sent, received, transmitted:
Signals by The Rowan Amber Mill from Fractures, accompanied by fellow travellers can be found amongst the rather fine wanderings of You, the Night & the Music. Tip of the hat to Mr Handley.
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