Now, in amongst all the wanderings down various pathways during this year in the country, I almost overlooked one of my early reference points…
(…although casting backwards, I have briefly touched upon their work once before in amongst lullabies for the land)…
If 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.)
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.
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?)…
“…an ongoing series… which sets out to chart the history, myths and atmospheres of specific woodland within the Staffordshire and Shropshire countryside…” (Haunted Woodland)
“…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
Visit 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”…