• 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 #341/365: All Clear and the (non)cry of forgotten banshees; totems of memory and future lost focal points…

    Forgotten banshees-6-A Year In The Country
    File under: Trails and Influences: Recent Explorations. Case #49/52.

    Recently I was a-wandering around light capturings of the forgotten banshees of air raid sirens (see Day #331/365)…

    …and via that I came across/was tumbled towards the All Clear project.

    This was a proposed nationwide project that intended to use “the remaining historic World War II air-raid sirens as site-specific instruments, the work is created from live fragments of music that span the country to make a whole live work.

    It did not find the necessary institutional pecuniary approval to make it a reality but when I first read the All Clear document, it seemed as though it was describing a now historic event, something that had already taken place.

    All Clear’s primary remaining trace in the ether is a particularly evocative read; I suppose in particular if you’re of a certain age/experience (also see Day #331/365) these particular mechanised voices, in both their corporeal forms and potential cries through the air are emblematic of conflicts – real or imagined, hot or cold, that have gone by:

    Forgotten heroes. Totems of memory.

    Forgotten banshees-4-A Year In The Country.jpg

    Below is the full remaining trace text for All Clear. Visit its will o’the wisp in the ether here.

    “ALL CLEAR is the first piece of sound art to fully encompass the whole of the UK. Using the remaining historic World War II air-raid sirens as site-specific instruments, the work is created from live fragments of music that span the country to make a whole live work.

    ALL CLEAR is a piece of work where no one can witness all of it live in person, yet it will touch all of the country, especially those in locales where the instruments are based. There is a hint of the question ‘if a tree falls in the forest…’ about the work for this reason. The work will be performed live just once and will be able to be heard in recorded form or live as a broadcast/online broadcast, with webcam/audio equipment at each location to record the ‘instruments’ as they are cued in.

    Forgotten banshees-2-A Year In The Country

    Air-raid sirens have two notes available, and these are B-flat and D-flat. This makes composition a challenge. ‘Playing’ the instruments is also a great challenge. They are wound or cranked electrically, which gives them their distinctive build-up whine. They are also scary, broken down or abandoned. Forgotten heroes. Totems of memory. Museum pieces. Many were taken down at the end of the Cold War, but some remain, invisible to all but those who know or who care to look up. Hidden in plain sight, sirens are situated in busy areas such as Hyde Park and Waterloo in central London, yet they are largely unseen.

    Air-raid sirens are hugely symbolic in British culture and the sound that they make has been heard in hundreds of films and sampled for dozens of music tracks. The sound is a shorthand for danger, attack and war, yet the sirens and their operators were also responsible for saving lives. The all clear signal was an invitation to take stock, be thankful you had survived and to inspect the damage. The noise of the sirens acts is as sharp an aid to memory as any smell or visual reminder. The final all clear signified a time to rebuild and the start of modern Britain.

    Forgotten banshees-3-A Year In The Country

    ALL CLEAR will bring together communities of locals, cold war history enthusiasts, World War II veterans, retired ARP wardens, experimental music fans, British culture buffs, schoolchildren, teachers and musicians to explore the history, significance and use of air-raid sirens. Each location will be documented and stories recorded from those in the area. The performance could be made in 2014 or 2015 to coincide with significant dates 70 years back in World War II.

    ALL CLEAR is as big an administrative task as it is an artistic one. Sirens will have to be located, tested and permissions for use gained. But this will all be very much a part of the work: with sites crowd-sourced, maintenance recorded and local enthusiasm sparked by every visit. Sirens will be photographed and catalogued, stories collected and media interest planted.

    Forgotten banshees-5-A Year In The Country

    ALL CLEAR serves as a reminder of and a memorial to the ARP Wardens and civilians who lost their life in World War II. It also digs up forgotten and untold histories from the period, speaking with those who were there and re-examining literature, such as the ARP Warden magazines (which were produced locally) and leaflets from the Government and even the Communist Party about sirens and their use.

    Forgotten banshees-8-A Year In The Country

    ALL CLEAR will be made in collaboration with local communities as well as with selected musicians and technicians. The work creates site specific interest and location yet is global in its delivery. It will be extensively documented in words, video, photographs and archive material.

    Forgotten banshees-1-A Year In The Country

    All Clear was put into (non)practise by Iain Aitch. Visit his previous work/scribing here.

    Intertwining pathways: see stories of two brown bakelite boxes here.

     

    Re-signposted pathways:

    Day #46/365: Threads, The Changes, the bad wires and ghosts of transmissions.

    Day #114/365: Waiting For The End Of The World and havens beneath our feet.

    Day #302/365: Ms Delia Derbyshire on such banshee wails as electronic music.

    Day #306/365: Documentation of earlier preparations; a journey from a precipice to a cliff edge, via documents of preparing for the end of the world, a curious commercialism, the tonic/lampoonery of laughter, broken cultural circuits and quiet/quietening niches…

    Day #331/365: A dybukk’s dozen of forgotten banshees…

     

    A midnight dawn.

     

    A previous lost focal point.

     

    Flickerings to view with a certain detachment if possible.

     

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  • Day #340/365: Image T/4; Folk-horror tropes and (re)visitations #4

    Image U4-A Year In The Country
    File under:
    A Year In The Country: Work

    …a (re)tumbling from She Rocola’s Burn The Witch / Molly Leigh Of The Mother Town.

     

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  • Day #339/365: Image S/4; Folk-horror tropes and visitations #3

    Image T4-A Year In The Country
    File under:
    A Year In The Country: Work

    …a further tumbling from She Rocola’s Burn The Witch / Molly Leigh Of The Mother Town.

     

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  • Day #338/365: Artifact #48/52; Michael Tanner Nine of Swords limited edition CD released – Dusk / Dawn Editions

    Michael Tanner Nine of Swords CD album. Dusk Edition £10.00.  Dawn Edition £12.00
    Michael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-front of Dusk and Dawn Editions-A Year In The Country
    Audiological Research and Pathways; Case #3
    Audiological contents: Nine of Swords (54.20 minutes).

    Available at our Artifacts Shop, our Discogs Audiological Archive and our  Bandcamp page.
    Prices include free UK shipping. Normally ships within 7-14 days.

    Custom printed and hand-finished by A Year In The Country.

    Michael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-inside of Dusk and Dawn Editions-A Year In The Country

    Nine of Swords was created by using nine tarot cards allocated to nine sonorous, percussive instruments which were played in the order of their drawing from the deck.

    Its method of creation recalls the random cut-up literary techniques of William Burroughs or automatic writing and the resulting work is a 68 minute journey which is a balm to contemporary intensity of input.

    No plug-ins or FX were used in the making of Nine of Swords; the music in the album was guided purely using the (non)choices of the turns of the cards.

     

    Also available as a limited edition Night boxset and Day string bound booklet: see Day #245/365.
    Michael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-Night Edition-box set-A Year In The CountryMichael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-Day Edition-booklet-A Year In The Country

     

    Dusk Edition: Limited to 52 copies. £10.00.
    Hand-finished packaging; all black CDr in matt recycled sleeve with insert.

    Michael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-Dusk Edition-front cover-A Year In The Country
    Michael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-Dusk Edition-opened front-A Year In The CountryMichael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-Dusk Edition-all parts-A Year In The CountryMichael Tanner-Nine of Swords-All black CDrs-top and bottom-A Year In The Country
    Top of CD.                                                              Bottom of CD.

    Artwork custom printed by A Year In The Country using archival Giclée pigment ink.
    Hand numbered on the back of the insert.

     

    Dawn Edition. Limited to 52 copies. £12.00.
    Hand-finished white/black CDr album in textured recycled fold out sleeve with insert and badge.
    Michael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-front of Dusk and Dawn Edition-front of sleeve-A Year In The CountryMichael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-front of Dusk and Dawn Edition-opened 1-A Year In The CountryMichael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-front of Dusk and Dawn Edition-opened 2-A Year In The CountryMichael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-Dawn Edition-back of sleeve with badge-A Year In The Country
    Michael Tanner-Nine of Swords-Black white CDrs-top and bottom -A Year In The Country
    Top of CD.                                                           Bottom of CD.

    Artwork custom printed by A Year In The Country using archival Giclée pigment ink.
    Includes 25mm/1″ badge, secured with removable glue on a tag which is string bound to the sleeve.
    Back of the insert is hand numbered.

     

    Album credits:

    All music written & played by Michael Tanner.

    Recorded at Greenwitch 04/06/2014 using an X-Y positioned Beyer M101 and Shure SM57.

    4 x Water Bowls. 2 x Singing Bowls. 2 x Temple Bells. 1 x Cymbals.

    No plug-ins or FX were used in the making of this piece.

     

    Artwork and packaging design by AYITC Ocular Signals Department.

     

    Available at our Artifacts Shop, our Discogs Audiological Archive and our  Bandcamp page.
    Prices include free UK shipping. Normally ships within 7-14 days.

     

    An excerpt from this Audiological Case Study can be listened to via our Mark II Ether Victrola below:

     

    Visit Michael’s work at Day #120/365 of A Year In The Country.

    Visit Michael Tanner in the ether here: www.iamplinth.bandcamp.com
    (where you may also find him working under the names Plinth, The Cloisters, Taskerlands and The A. Lords).

     

    The library of A Year In The Country Audiological Research and Pathways series includes:
    Case Study #1: Grey Frequency: Immersion
    Case Study #2: Hand of Stabs: Black-Veined White
    Case Study #3: Michael Tanner: Nine of Swords
    Case Study #5: She Rocola: Burn The Witch / Molly Leigh Of The Mother Town
    Case Study #6: Howlround: Torridon Gate
    Case Study #7: Racker & Orphan; Twalif X

    She Rocola-Burn The Witch-Molly Leigh Of The Mother Town-Night Edition-box set-A Year In The CountryTwalif X-Night Edition-Orphan & Racker-A Year In The Country-all parts-narrower borderHowlround-Torridon Gate-Robin The Fog-Chris Weaver-A Year In The Country-all parts-narrow border-Night Edition

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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 #335/365: Folk art – a wandering from these shores to other shores and back again…

    Folk Art-A Year In The Country-6File under: Trails and Influences: Recent Explorations. Case #48/52.

    What has come to be labelled as folk art is a curious thing; it could also be described as creative work that was created for utilitarian purposes but which contains an almost accidental craft like art, art that hasn’t tumbled forth from creative institutional (or initial financial) acceptance one way or another or just art.

    I seem to be engaged in something of an on-off quest to find the very essence of what I look for in folk art encapsulated in a particular piece of work, exhibition or book; but I never quite find it, perhaps because what I’m looking for is contradictorily an accidental but deliberate otherlyness, a sneaking in past potential tweeness of shadows and well, something else.

    Possibly also, by the time I come across work in an institutional placing/binding, something has been rationalised and maybe neutered in the work – that’s accompanied by the hope for that very particular charity shop find…

    I recently had a rummage (and re-rummage) looking for such things… below are a few of the associated rummagelings, tumblings, unearthings and turn-ups…

    Folk Art-A Year In The Country-2A certain chap featured somewhat prominently in the British Folk Art exhibition… its interesting how folk art as a phrase has also come to often represent a particular quite well-defined, often rural/cottage industry style aesthetic, particularly up to/from a certain point in history…
    Folk Art-A Year In The Country-4Stepping away from these shores for a moment… it is interesting how folk art has passed from overlooked (sometimes derided?) work into cultural acceptance and institutional display/collection and capitalisation; along which lines, Junebug – a work of flickering fiction which explores that capitalisation – though focusing on work away from these shores and more specifically on what has come to be called outsider art or art brut (phrases that are often applied to work that has a natural transgressive nature, sometimes coupled with an almost childlike simplicity of form and preoccupation). See also the gallery that a character in William Gibson’s Virtual Light doesn’t get a job at – and in a more deliberate/intentional form, some of what has come to be called lowbrow art/the work sometimes featured in the likes of Juxtapoz.
    Folk Art-A Year In The Country-7…and while I’m hopping over away from these shores: utilitarian adaptations that have come to gain a certain sense of artistic creativity: Home-Made; Contemporary Russian Folk Artifacts is an intriguing selection/collection of items that have come into being often through necessity and lack of Western access to material abundance…
    Toothpaste tube squeezer, Home-Made Europe: Contemporary Folk Artifacts…along which lines, there’s a certain beauty, brutality and effectiveness to this…
    Folk Art-A Year In The Country-10…and then back to these shores… there’s something almost accidentally hauntological to Barbara Jones Black Eyes & Lemonade exhibition poster; an early, mid-ish twentieth century collecting of such work…
    Folk Art-A Year In The Country-3…and talking of tweeness: some folk-art work straddles a particularly fine line, where I can’t quite decide if I think it’s quite nice but essentially a touch twee or if something else has wandered into the work – this is one such piece/set – but quite lovely to see nonetheless.
    Folk Art-A Year In The Country-11…and along such lines… well, I just find this somewhat magnificent; a labour of love indulgence?
    Folk Art-A Year In The Country-8…while this, though I know/suppose that the creatures in the illustration are meant to represent animals not in repose… well, there’s something more than a touch unsettling about them…
    Folk Art-A Year In The Country-9…while this particular book puts me in mind of the secret gardens and hidden attic hideaways of a certain English Lionheart(ess)… a meeting under the ivy?
    Folk Art-A Year In The Country-12I have to say, this is venturing fairly close to a very particular territory/spirit earlier mentioned…
    Folk Art-A Year In The Country-5…and stepping away from these shores once more…  this brings to mind one of the earlier mentioned (hopeful) charity (thrift?) shop finds…
    Folk Art-A Year In The Country-13And so back to these shores…A recent find and a possible venturing and exploring…

    As a final note, the image below takes me back towards Axel Hoedt’s folkloric club kids and a fever dream of haunted air

    Folk Art-A Year In The Country-6

    Pathways: Under The Ivy. The Unsophisticated Arts and Misters Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane’s collecting/collections/gatherings. Rocket Cottage-isms. Silent weavings.

    The instituting of folk-art. The Museum of British folklore and non-instutional instituting. Black Eyes and LemonadeHome-Made Europe: Contemporary Russian Folk Artifacts. British Folk Art (binding).

    Enid Marx / Margaret Lambert via Toys and Techniques and (sometimes) accidental folk art-isms.

    Lowbrow-isms. Gallery (non)jobs. Flickering.

     

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  • Day #334/365: Image R/4; Folk-horror tropes and visitations #2

    Image S4-A Year In The Country
    File under:
    A Year In The Country: Work

    …a tumbling from She Rocola’s Burn The Witch / Molly Leigh Of The Mother Town.

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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 #332/365: Image Q/4; Folk-horror tropes and visitations #1

    Image R4-A Year In The Country
    File under:
    A Year In The Country: Work

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  • Day #331/365: Artifact #47/52; Hand of Stabs Black-Veined White CD album released – Dusk / Dawn Editions

    Hand of Stabs Black-Veined White CD album. Dusk Edition £10.00.  Dawn Edition £12.00
    Hand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-Dusk and Dawn Editions-A Year In The Country
    Audiological Research and Pathways; Case #2
    Audiological contents: Black-Veined White (68:33 minutes).

    Available at our Artifacts Shop, our Discogs Audiological Archive and our  Bandcamp page.
    Prices include free UK shipping. Normally ships within 7-14 days.

    Custom printed and hand-finished by A Year In The Country.

    Black-Veined White takes as its starting point the eponymous butterfly which was last seen in the UK in Rochester, the area in which HoS live, work and explore, in the 1920s…

    …it utilises precise textual descriptions of the Black-Veined White by L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz alongside poetry that considers these ‘air wraiths’ by Giles Watson, to create a journey whereby Hand of Stab’s hidden drones and textures create a form of (non-electronic) electronica played on and summoned from the land and soil, a journey which captures and summons the spirit of these winged creatures that have now departed from our shores.

    The resulting work is essentially a concept album about the extinction of the Black-Veined White in the British isles.

    Black-Veined White and the work of Hand of Stabs is a very particular, otherly form of cultural exploration and inquiry whereby the aggressive transgression of the likes of COUM Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle and early Einstürzende Neubauten has evolved and spread deeply foraging roots to create work that is more pastoral in its themes but still very far from the centre of things.” (AYITC)

    Hand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-Dusk and Dawn Editions-both opened-A Year In The Country
    In their own words:

    “Hand of Stabs, from the South East of England, are a three-man collective who’s work draws inspiration from their exploration of local, often forbidden, landmarks. They create improvised sound pieces which can be simultaneously uplifting, difficult and intense using both traditional and homebuilt instruments.

    Sharing a love of the history and sacred past of Medway Towns and surrounding countryside, and inspired by regular, often night-time walks through these spaces, they are creating a series of soundworks evoking and celebrating their essence.

     

    Dusk Edition: Limited to 52 copies. £10.00.
    Hand-finished packaging; all black CDr in matt recycled sleeve with insert.

    Hand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-Dusk Edition-front of cover-A Year In The Country
    Hand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-Dusk Edition-opened-A Year In The Country Hand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-Dusk Edition-all items-A Year In The Country

    Hand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-top-and-bottom-of-all-black-CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                             Bottom of CD.

    Artwork custom printed by A Year In The Country using archival Giclée pigment ink.
    Hand numbered on the back of the insert.

     

    Dawn Edition. Limited to 52 copies. £12.00.
    Hand-finished white/black CDr album in textured recycled fold out sleeve with insert and badge.
    Hand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-Dawn Edition-front of cover-A Year In The Country.jpg
    Hand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-Dusk Edition-opened 1-A Year In The Country Hand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-Dusk Edition-opened 2-A Year In The Country
    Hand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-Dawn Edition-back of cover and badge-A Year In The CountryHand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-A-Year-In-The-Country-white-black-CDr
    Top of CD.                                                   Bottom of CD.

    Artwork custom printed by A Year In The Country using archival Giclée pigment ink.
    Includes 25mm/1″ badge, secured with removable glue on a tag which is string bound to the sleeve.
    Back of the insert is hand numbered.

     

    Album credits:

    Hand of Stabs-A Year In The Country 4HoS personnel:
    electric guitar, cello: captain rex standish. percussion, tenor recorder, mandocaster: james worse.
    velophone, electronics, bugle: jocelyn von bergdorff.
    voice: Kyra La Rubia (De Coninck).

    text used with kind permission: Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2008 onwards.
    British insects: butterflies. Version: 29th December 2011.
    www.delta-intkey.com/britin/pap/www/aporia.htm

    &:
    Black-Veined White (Aporia cratœgi). (Poem by Giles Watson, 2014.)

     

    Artwork/packaging design by AYITC Ocular Signals Department

     

    Available at our Artifacts Shop, our Discogs Audiological Archive and our  Bandcamp page.
    Prices include free UK shipping. Normally ships within 7-14 days.

     

     

    Box-set Night Editions and string bound booklet Day Editions also available.
    See Day #238/365.
    Hand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-Night Edition-boxset-A Year In The Country Hand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-Day Edition-cover-A Year In The Country

     

    Visit Hand of Stabs in the ether herehere and here.

    Peruse Hand of Stabs at A Year In The Country: Day #155/365.

     

    The library of A Year In The Country Audiological Research and Pathways series includes:
    Case Study #1: Grey Frequency: Immersion
    Case Study #2: Hand of Stabs: Black-Veined White
    Case Study #3: Michael Tanner: Nine of Swords
    Case Study #5: She Rocola: Burn The Witch / Molly Leigh Of The Mother Town
    Case Study #6: Howlround: Torridon Gate
    Case Study #7: Racker & Orphan; Twalif X

    She Rocola-Burn The Witch-Molly Leigh Of The Mother Town-Night Edition-box set-A Year In The CountryTwalif X-Night Edition-Orphan & Racker-A Year In The Country-all parts-narrower borderMichael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-Night Edition-box set-A Year In The Country

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  • Day #330/365: Resistance and the tenuousness of bonds…

    Resistance-2011-film-Owen Sheers-A Year In The Country-2File under: Trails and Influences: Touchstones. Case #40/52.

    Well, while I’m talking about posters/packaging that attempt to make a celluloid tale appear to be that which it is not (see Day #311/365)..

    I have something of a soft spot for fictional tales that deal with alternative timelines, their sense of “what if?” sending the mind a-wandering, in a way that I expect has its roots many years back in my reading/viewing habits.

    Resistance-2011-film-Owen Sheers-A Year In The Country

    Resistance from 2011 is one such story.

    It is set in a Britain in 1944, after D-Day has failed and Germany has invaded this island state.

    Generally you would expect such stories to concentrate on epic battles and changes within and around urban areas, the massive changes that such an event would bring about, the associated pomp and glory…

    Resistance-2011-film-Owen Sheers-A Year In The Country-4

    … but Resistance is different. It’s a low-key film set in a small rural community. The invasion force is a small, almost unobtrusive group of men and in some ways life carries on as before, the fields, flocks and stone walls remaining impassive in the face of man’s viciousness over management styles/rights/use and abuses of the above.

    Resistance-2011-film-Owen Sheers-A Year In The Country-7

    (In some ways, thinking back to the film it reminds me of The Wall/Die Wand – see Day #13/365 – in that this is speculative/science fiction of a pastoral nature, gentler – in terms of spectacle at least – than many of its urban/future/post-civilisation set brethren.

    You could also draw a line back to another set of fields in this land, Winstanley -see Day #78/365 – and interelated speculative fiction as the directors of that particular celluloid tale, Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo, also made It Happened Here, which dealt with a similar alternative timeline of a successful invasion of Britain by Germany but one which concentrated on urban/capital events…)

    Resistance-2011-film-Owen Sheers-A Year In The Country-5There’s something jarring, unsettling in seeing this invasion force in amongst such a setting. In seeing the familiar iconography of that particular power in a traditional low-roofed cottage or amongst a country fair; what do rosettes now mean in such times?

    Seeing such things here, in amongst the endlessness of nature and the land, seeing sten guns next to shire horses, watching how life adjusts, moves and accommodates the new realities in a pastoral setting – as opposed to the more expected filmic tropes of heroic resistance in cities and towns – invokes a quiet disturbance as a viewer, it is subtly shocking and questioning.

    Resistance-2011-film-Owen Sheers-A Year In The Country-3

    One of the things the film made me think about is how those realities/the rule of law of those now in power would take form further away from the roots and power bases in the cities; in a way it makes me think of the differences between societies based around folk/the wald/the wild wood in contrast to those which draw from pop/populous/city (see Day #40/365) and the more flexible, tenuousness of such bonds (threads?) as you move away from the denser urban areas, particularly at such times… almost harking towards a return to earlier, feudal times and ways of being.

    Resistance-2011-film-Owen Sheers-A Year In The Country-6

    View the cinematic foretelling here.

    Visit the place from which the story sprung here.

     

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  • Day #329/365: A dybukk’s dozen of forgotten banshees…

    Air raid sirens-A Year In The Country-3bFile under: Trails and Influences: Recent Explorations. Case #47/52.

    When I was younger air raid sirens seemed to be quite commonplace in one form or another… whether wailing from cathode ray flickers via documentaries on government civil defense / Protect and Survive plans, in black and white fictional stories broadcast via the same boxes in the corner of the room or literally on the shelves/worktops of where I lived (see Two Brown Bakelite Boxes and The End Of The World on the About page).

    Now, they don’t seem to be a part of everyday life, the worry and concern about Cold War conflict and attacks has subsided… these portentous mechanised banshees have quietly wandered away from day-to-day life.

    I went on a bit of a forage recently to see if I could find any imagery pertaining to the just mentioned Brown Bakelite Boxes but what I stumbled upon was actually details of the forgetting of these banshees, particularly this story here.

    Air raid sirens-A Year In The Country-7
    I think essentially they are no longer considered economically viable, modern-day glazing on houses means that they can’t be heard all that well and people aren’t sure what they indicate.

    Which is curious, as if you’re of a certain age/experience, it’s quite deeply ingrained what the banshee wail of a public siren means; something quite serious – quite possibly the impending end of things.

    Air raid sirens-A Year In The Country-14Occasionally the wind will carry the sound of sirens to me – I think they are ones to imply a controlled explosion at quarries – but they are but wraiths in the air, almost dream like, floating in and out the edges of consciousness; one that was trained to think that the ultimate conflict was about to commence (and end almost as quickly due to its ferocity).

    (As an aside, in amongst documentation relating to a subcultural/briefly overground creative practitioner – of whose work almost no source material still exists – the idea has been mooted that it was actually quite a lot for populations to take in that their countries foreign policy planning was based on various forms/threats to themselves and their enemies of quite possible and sudden complete destruction.

    Air raid sirens-A Year In The Country-4Which I suppose it is – it is an almost overwhelming thing to live amongst and under if overly focused upon personally and/or by society at large; and so the hardwiring of responses to it amongst those who lived through such times is not all that surprising, nor the cultural/creative expression/outlet and indeed balm of such hardwiring/portents via elements of what has come to be called hauntological culture.

    Although I don’t tend to refer to it all that directly, such Cold War dread is one of the things that underlies/underpins much of this particular year in the country and its “searching for an expression of an underlying unsettledness to the English bucolic countryside dream” – again see Two Brown Bakelite Boxes and The End Of The World.)

    Air raid sirens-A Year In The Country-11And so, back to the fading of banshees: apparently the more contemporary communication plan is to inform people of such things is to use radio stations and somewhat bizarrely send text-based messages to the mini pocket/hand-held computers that are somewhat ubiquitous to the modern age (boxes that contain “modern-day magic on a monthly tariff” to quote The Eccentronic Research Council).

    The second of which plans is just bizarre, as it assumes a constant modern-day surveilling of the devices to receive those brief sets of characters and puts one in mind of almost farce like/funny-if-it-wasn’t-so-serious scenarios where people are catching up on the twitterings and natterings of much of modern-day life and inbetween “I fancy some soup for dinner” and “Bought these nice new shoes” etc will come “3 minute warning: end of civilisation as we know it quite soon.”

    Anyway, before I assume full bah, humbug, curmudgeon mode, I feel I should step away from such things (although while still shaking my head at “modern” ways).

    Air raid sirens-A Year In The Country-6 copy

    Earlier pathways to such portents (tread gently)

    Day #114/365: Waiting For The End Of The World and havens beneath our feet.

    Day #302/365: Ms Delia Derbyshire on such banshee wails as electronic music.

    Day #306/365: Documentation of earlier preparations; a journey from a precipice to a cliff edge, via documents of preparing for the end of the world, a curious commercialism, the tonic/lampoonery of laughter, broken cultural circuits and quiet/quietening niches…

     

    Air raid sirens-A Year In The Country-15Reflections on reflections contained within this dybukk’s dozen re Cold War dread/hardwiring; it’s the juxtaposition/contrast/setting of these particular portenders and what they portend that often intrigues me – they might well be expected to be found amongst the edgelands (or even the brethren of a time traveller’s transmogrifying transport) but its their dwelling next to the country pub, the pleasant sunset and nature’s aviaristic creatures that seems out of kilter. And so back to that particular hardwiring:

    Another major contributor to such things was a science fiction short story I read sometime around the early to mid-eighties, wherein there is a lead up to a devastating attack/war, during which birds are noted as sitting on the telephone wires around and about… when the attack arrives, the central (human) character rushes to his fallout shelter, only to find it crammed full of birds and animals, with no space for him: the birds had actually been listening to mankind’s communications via the telephone lines and knew that the attack was coming and where to hide.

    (See Day #46/365: Threads, The Changes, the bad wires and ghosts of transmissions; English horror indeed.)

     

    As has been mentioned before, the ether is a place which allows for all kinds of niches and expressions of interest in what could be considered to be accidental art via utilitarian objects. This day/page could well be considered to be one of such places.

    Here are a few others…

    Day #278/365: The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society

    Day #281/365: Further appreciations of accidental art; Poles and Pylons

    Day #318/365: Watching The Watchers

    A gathering amongst the ether of these fading banshees.

    A gathering and binding of an appreciation of the encasements of audiological utilitarianisms.

    Air raid sirens-A Year In The Country-12

    An air raid siren situated by a police public call box.Air raid sirens-A Year In The Country-16Air raid sirens-A Year In The Country-14

    Air raid sirens-A Year In The Country-8Air raid sirens-A Year In The Country-9

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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 #327/365: A fever dream of Haunted Air…

    Ossian Brown-Haunted Air-A Year In The Country-2File under: Trails and Influences: Recent Explorations.
    Case #46/52.

    I’d come across Ossian Brown’s Haunted Air book a while ago, I suspect while wandering through the aisles of an ether shopping warehouse/conglomerate (it’s easy to get lost and to have lost many hours in amongst those aisles, staggering from one corner to another with baskets bulging)…

    Anyway, my mind had noted them, noted a certain almost deliberately staged jokiness – as though they belonged to a contemporary art project/fim rather than being found objects that had fallen through the years via boxes of well-thumbed fellow travellers – but I hadn’t explored further…

    Torn from album pages, sold piecemeal for pennies and scattered, abandoned to melancholy chance and the hands of strangers.” Geoff Cox

    Ossian Brown-Haunted Air-A Year In The Country-3…and then when I did forage and peruse for but a moment I came across Mr Brown’s other/former work – that as a toiler/creater amongst England’s hidden reverse with Messrs Balance and Christopherson in latter-day Coil and also in his own popular music combo Cyclobe.

    Hmmm, not a surprise really, although it is somewhat interesting that work with those roots has been sent forth into the world bound and cared for by a more overground concern (one Jonathan Cape)…

    …although I suppose in a way it’s not as Mr Christopherson and cohorts were often active above ground via the illustrative work of Hipgnosis and indeed an early (for myself) Coil discovery – the flipside/semi-hidden reverse to The Unreleased Themes 10″ which featured various advert soundtracks that they created, titled simply Airline, Liquer, Perfume, Video Recorder, Airline 2, Natural Gas, Cosmetic 1, Cosmetic 2, Analgesis, Road Surface, Accident Insurance…

    Anyway, back to Haunted Air. There’s something genuinely unsettling about these photographs, a kind of arthouse knowingness to them but as they are but found images, it is something that has somehow crept in after the fact…

    “”I was somewhere else. I thought I was someplace but now I didn’t know what place. I seemed to be inside foreign worlds where there was some kind of troubling camaraderie — as if a haunting joke was known to everyone but me and yet faintly I knew it too.” (David Lynch)

    Ossian Brown-Haunted Air-A Year In The Country

    Ossian Brown-Haunted Air-A Year In The Country-5

    Ossian Brown-Haunted Air-A Year In The Country-6

    Ossian Brown-Haunted Air-A Year In The Country-4

    …it’s something that can seem to happen to light catchery over the years, some other layers of meaning wander upon them…

    …they seemed to have a glee for somehow stitching a laugh to darkness.” David Lynch

    Axel Hoedt-Fasnacht-Once A Year-Der Steidl-German folklore-A Year In The Country-2…or maybe its that just occasionally the norm is not so norm (and in that way they put me in mind of Charles Frégers Wilder Mann – see Day #69/365 and Axel Hoedt’s folkloric club kid rogues – see Day #271/365. See also non-hauntological hauntology: The Auteurs – The Rubettes.)

    Charles Freger-Wilder Mann 056-A Year In The CountryDay 10-The Auteurs-The Rubettes-A Year In The Country

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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 #325/365: Artifact #46/52; Grey Frequency Immersion CD album released – Dusk / Dawn Editions

    Grey Frequency Immersion CD album. Dusk Edition £10.00.  Dawn Edition £12.00Grey Frequency-Dusk and Dawn Editions-front covers-A Year In The CountryAudiological Research and Pathways; Case #1
    Audiological contents: 01 Hemlock Stone (19:01). 02 Coastline, Black Sky (16:41).

    Available at our Artifacts Shop, our Discogs Audiological Archive and our  Bandcamp page.
    Prices include free UK shipping. Normally ships within 7-14 days.

    Both editions custom printed and hand-finished by A Year In The Country.

    Grey Frequency-Dusk and Dawn Editions-opened-A Year In The Country copy
    Immersion was the first Audiological Research and Pathways case study that was sent forth at
    A Year In The Country and I am pleased and indeed proud to be able to return to it.

    Not least because it gives me the chance to return to the recordings contained myself. This is transportative music, something that sends and allows my mind to travel elsewhere; it is meditative and quietly unsettling.

    The phrase that comes to mind when I think of Grey Frequency’s work is broken signals; a scanning or overview of the ghosts in the airwaves, transmissions discovered via edgeland explorations and forays…

    …when I listen to Immersion it feels like a capturing of activity hidden deep below the surface of things, the inexorable power of nature and it’s movement/force against it’s own edifices and those of civilisation over many years; a capturing of the sound of those self same rending and collapsing into the below.

    Lovely stuff.” (AYITC)

     

    Dusk Edition: Limited to 52 copies. £10.00.
    Hand-finished packaging; all black CDr in matt recycled sleeve with insert.
    Grey Frequency-Dusk Edition-front-A Year In The CountryGrey Frequency-Dusk Edition-all elements-A Year In The CountryGrey Frequency-Dusk Edition-opened-A Year In The CountryGrey Frequency-Immersion-top and bottom of all black CD-A-Year-In-The-Country
    Top of CD.                                                             Bottom of CD.

    Artwork custom printed by A Year In The Country using archival Giclée pigment ink.
    Hand numbered on the back of the insert.

     

    Dawn Edition. Limited to 52 copies. £12.00.
    Hand-finished white/black CDr album in textured recycled fold out sleeve with insert and badge.
    Grey Frequency-Dawn Edition-front cover-A Year In The Country
    Grey Frequency-Dawn Edition-opened 1-A Year In The Country Grey Frequency-Dawn Edition-opened 2-A Year In The Country copyGrey Frequency Immersion-A-Year-In-The-Country-white-black-CDr
    Top of CD.                                                          Bottom of CD.
    Grey Frequency-Dawn Edition-rear cover-A Year In The Country Grey Frequency-Dawn Edition-badge-A Year In The Country

    Artwork custom printed by A Year In The Country using archival Giclée pigment ink.
    Includes 25mm/1″ badge, secured with removable glue on a tag which is string bound to the sleeve.
    Back of the insert is hand numbered.

     

    Artwork/packaging design by AYITC Ocular Signals Department (utilising visual work/source material by Gavin Morrow).

     

    Available at our Artifacts Shop, our Discogs Audiological Archive and our  Bandcamp page.
    Prices include free UK shipping. Normally ships within 7-14 days.

     

    Box-set Night Editions and string bound booklet Day Editions also available.
    See Day #224/365.
    Grey Frequency-Immersion-Night Edition-A Year In The Country-2 Grey Frequency-Immersion album-A Year In The Country

     

    Below is the video which accompanies the Hemlock Stone track:

    Visit Grey Frequency in the ether here.

    Peruse Grey Frequency at A Year In The Country: Day #192/365.

     

    The library of A Year In The Country Audiological Research and Pathways series includes:
    Case Study #1: Grey Frequency: Immersion
    Case Study #2: Hand of Stabs: Black-Veined White
    Case Study #3: Michael Tanner: Nine of Swords
    Case Study #5: She Rocola: Burn The Witch / Molly Leigh Of The Mother Town
    Case Study #6: Howlround: Torridon Gate
    Case Study #7: Racker & Orphan; Twalif X

    Grey Frequency-Immersion-Night Edition-A Year In The Country-2Hand of Stabs-Black-Veined White-Night Edition-boxset-A Year In The CountryMichael Tanner-Nine Of Swords-Night Edition-box set-A Year In The Country

     

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  • Day #324/365: Who Would Be A Monarch When A Beggar Lives So Well?

    The All New Electric Muse-The Story Of Folk Into Rock-A Year In The CountryFile under: Trails and Influences. Other Pathways. Case #47/52.

    There have been only a handful of books written (in part) about the curious interplay/explorations of folk/rock/psychedelia – more recently Rob Young’s Electric Eden, Jeanette Leech’s Seasons They Change and Shindig magazines Witches Hats and Painted Chariots

    …but if you should forage back to just after the high point of such things you may well come across Electric Muse: Folk Into Rock, the book written/put together jointly by Karl Dallas, Robin Denselow, David Laing and Robert Shelton and accompanied by a compilation album of the same name…

    New Electric Muse-The Story Of Folk Into Rock-A Year In The Country-2…and then if you should forage forward in time you may well come across the album New Electric Muse, which is an updating/extending of the earlier album (and it would appear that the march of progress has continued under its revellers feet and merriments), including on its discs various more recent works.

    One of my favourites on the album is the Battlefield Band’s Tae The Beggin’; it’s a curious recording that puts a smile on my face every time I hear it. As a song it makes me think of some kind of collusion between a 1990s indie band with experimental tendencies who’ve just bought a synthesizer for 10p and are still in the learning to play it with one finger, traditional folkloric tales and fare and a falling back through time of Finders Keepers Records Willows Songs compilation.

    Day 16-Willows Songs b-Finders Keepers-A Year In The Country

    (The plot, as it were? Well, Essentially Tae The Beggin’ is the story/thoughts of an itinerant(?), ne’er do well/beggar and his claims that the begging life provides for a fine life…)

    There something about it that draws me in, lets me go and then draws me back again – a sense of an accidental(?) experimentalism in catchy folk(/pop?) clothing. It’s that keyboard, when it comes back in I just have to stop and smile.

    I know little about the Battlefield Band and I’m quite okay with keeping it that way, just allowing myself to step back and enjoy this one particular song.

    Finding the song in the ether in its recorded/disc encasement form may involve a bit of rummaging and foraging. A starting point could well be here.

    Earlier pathways around these parts:
    Electric Eden. Willows Songs. Seasons They Change. Shindig.

    Electric Eden’s binders and sending forth-ers: tales from before and after such things up to and alongside “21st century pastoral electronica“.

     

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