The Corn Mother novella, written by Stephen Prince, is a further exploration of the world, stories and dreamscapes of an imaginary near-mythical film, which first began on an album released with the same name in 2018.
The Corn Mother: Night Wraiths album, also written and recorded by Stephen Prince, is both a soundtrack to accompany The Corn Mother novella and a standalone piece of work.
The novella and albums are explorations and relections “of the whispers that tumble forth from the corn mother’s kingdom”. A place and story where fact, fiction, reality and dreams blur into one:
1878: A villager is forced to flee from her home after rumours begin that she has cursed the crops. Her vengeful spirit, known as the corn mother, is said to visit those responsible in the night, bringing ill fortune and an all-encompassing sense of guilt.
1982: A film called The Corn Mother begins to be made. Although the plot is fictional, it closely resembles the story of the fleeing villager. The film is completed but never released, with all known copies disappearing after its production company collapses.
1984: A lifelong quest begins to find the near-mythical film.
2020: All mentions of The Corn Mother begin to disappear from the world, calling into question if the film ever existed.
“After the first The Corn Mother album was released I would find myself still thinking about the story of this ‘imaginary film’, wondering what had happened to particular characters connected to it and so on. It felt like a story that was unfinished and which continues to echo off into the dreamscapes of imagination. Those ongoing echoes resulted in The Corn Mother novella and The Corn Mother: Night Wraiths album.” Stephen Prince
As with the A Year in the Country project as a whole, the book and album’s structure are inspired by the cycle of the year. Following the number of seasons, the book is split into four sections; it has 52 chapters (which could also be considered scenes or episodes), the same number as there are weeks in the year; relating to the number of days in a non-leap year, each chapter’s text contains no more than 365 words; and as there are days in a week, the album has seven tracks.
The album will be released as two hand-crafted CD editions that include prints, badges, stickers and accompanying notes, which are produced using archival giclée pigment inks.
1) The Infernal Engines (1877)
2) Night Wraiths (1878)
3) I Have Brought A Myriad Fractures And Found Some Form Of Peace (1879)
4) Ellen’s Theme (1983)
5) Dreams of a Third Generation Grail (2018)
6) They Are All Here (2021)
7) An Unending Quest (1877-2022)
“A ghostly collection that marries ambient noise, sparse instrumentation and murky electronics to a suitably unsettling effect. Eerie, elegant and ever so evocative.” Thomas Patterson, Shindig!
The Corn Mother album released in 2018 includes music by Gavino Morretti, Pulselovers, The Heartwood Institute, United Bible Studies (David Colohan, Dominic Cooper of The Owl Service, Alison O’Donnell of Mellow Candle), A Year In The Country, Widow’s Weeds (featuring former members of/collaborators with The Hare And The Moon), Depatterning, Sproatly Smith and Field Lines Cartographer.
Further details of the The Corn Mother album released in 2018 can be found here.
“You want to see the film as described in the liner notes, and as conjured in the songs on the album, and that’s an incredible trick to pull off… This is hauntology – the genre, rather than the philosophical dystopic – in its finest form, where buried memories of film, TV, music, and life come to the surface, often unverifiable because the hard copy has been lost or was never properly recorded in the first instance.” Alan Boon, Starburst