I’ve been thinking here and there about cultures away from the shores of Albion which might be considered to have some similarities with some of the otherly folkloric/hauntological culture that I’ve been wandering through during this year in the country; the sense of an unregulated, sometimes overlooked culture with deep roots in the land and history, that could be seen to be haunted by spectres of a nation’s past.
The folk cultural history (in the sense of being from the wild woods, away from the cities, a touch more autonomous and of/by the people ) of places rather than the pop cultural history (based in urban centres, mass spectacle, centrally controlled).
…along which lines, if I was to look way over the oceans I would probably cast my gaze towards what I tend to think of a certain dusty plains, Southern Gothic aesthetic and artifacts.
I’ve touched briefly on such things when talking about General Orders No.9 (see Day #51/365), an astonishing piece of flickering celluloid which takes in the discarded, collapsed, neglected and yet also invaded/consumed landscape of America’s deep south…
If I was to pick two particular other cultural artifacts and resonances in the air which represent such things then it would probably be the albums Hex; Or Printing In The Infernal Method by Earth and Folklore by 16 Horsepower.
These are haunted and haunting pieces of work. Musically quite different but I feel they’re wandering similar pathways, somewhere in history.
The second, although not really pigeonhole-able, could be seen to be a form of visionary, folkloric dark Americana.; very melodic and presented in traditional song form. It draws on gospel but if this is a revival it’s wandering the forest with its sins, having travelled from its church roots but never too far that it can’t hear the calls from its home.
The first takes a similar aesthetic but applies a relentless but strangely comforting heaviness and sense of being enveloped and crushed, this time taking a vocal-less drone guitar path through the dust bowls of its land.
And when it stops, I don’t want it to end.
They are both the fever dreams of stories etched in the land, shadows of the past in the present.
Mirrors of folklore and drawing the lines:
Lead Earth gent Dylan Carlson has begun to explore English folklore, culture and related esoteric pathways quite explicitly (see Day #156/365) and has mentioned late 1960s/early 1970s folk rock along the lines of Pentangle as being an influence on more recent work… you could well peruse him discussing such things via a certain gent from The Outer Church here.
16 Horsepower’s live performance of Joy Division: It’s a fair few years since I first saw this but having re-watched it still entrances and transports me. Mr Eugene Edward is channelling something here.
Visit Mr Carlson’s various projects in the ether here.
More than worth a mention if you should be travelling such pathways: Searching For The Wrong Eyed Jesus…
This and General Orders No.9 could be seen to be mirror images of studies of this fair isle’s outer edges and edgelands (see Day #160/365)…