Currently working on:
- Preliminary work on an album based on recent live gigs. Less structured this time and based more on tape loops, found sounds, improvisation and devices.
- Tracks for a future Vert:x album
- Tracks for a future Klaudyna album
- Pulselovers gig at Cast Theatre as part of Doncopolitan's Crawl event
- The second Pulselovers 'Cotswold Stone' is complete with details to be announced shortly
Since my last update in February last year, there has been lots of activity:
Submissions to 8 different albums from A Year In The Country (2 of which are yet to be announced). All can be purchased via the shop
Thieves' Cant from the album Audio AlbionInspired by and partially recorded at Peak Cavern in Castleton, Derbyshire, which lies beneath Peveril Castle, the setting for Walter Scott’s novel Peveril of the Peak.
The cave and it’s surrounding countryside has been a playground for my family since the 1980s where history and geological facts always went unacknowledged in favour of the sheer joy of exploring the terrain, dodging sheep droppings and hoping for the treat of an an ice-cream before heading home.
Theives' Cant was a secret language allegedly created within Peak Cavern by King of the Gypsies, Cock Lorel in the 16th century to ensure his ‘knaveries and villainies’ remained covert and undiscovered.
Features John Alexander of Floodlights on guitar and noise boxes.
The Green Leaves of Shildam Hall from The Shildam Hall Tapes
In the late 1960s a film crew began work on a well-funded feature film in a country mansion, having been granted permission by the young heir of the estate.
Amidst rumours of aristocratic decadence, psychedelic use and even possibly dabbling in the occult, the film production collapsed, although it is said that a rough cut of it and the accompanying soundtrack were completed but they are thought to have been filed away and lost amongst storage vaults.
Few of the cast or crew have spoken about events since and any reports from then seem to contradict one another and vary wildly in terms of what actually happened on the set.
A large number of those involved, including a number of industry figures who at the time were considered to have bright futures, simply seemed to disappear or step aside from the film industry following the film's collapse, their careers seemingly derailed or cast adrift by their experiences.
Little is known of the film's plot but several unedited sections of the film and its soundtrack have surfaced, found amongst old film stock sold as a job lot at auction - although how they came to be there is unknown.
Features Mark Taylor on bass and Sarah Marie on flute and clarinet
Fuggles from The Quietened MechanismsFuggles was inspired by a clandestine field trip to a boarded up, abandoned brewery in the Northern England in around 2013. The building has since been demolished, but the music attempts to recapture the decaying beauty found amongst the broken glass, fallen masonry and the flora slowly breaking though the concrete floor. The melody is an imagined chorus of bottles, packed into wooden crates, then loaded onto horse-drawn carts for distribution to the ale houses of the surrounding town and villages. The title comes from a once wild variety of hops, favoured by British brewers since the 19th century.
Beat Her Down from The Corn MotherIn the early 1970s a folk horror-esque screenplay made the rounds of the film industry but remained unmade until 1982.
The story is set in the late 19th century in a rural British village and revolves around the folklore of the “corn mother” - where the last row of the corn harvest is beaten to the ground by the reapers as they shout “There she is! Knock her into the ground, don’t let her get away!”, in an attempt to drive the spirit of the corn mother back into the earth for next year’s sowing.
This album is an exploration and reflection of the whispers that tumble forth from the corn mother’s kingdom, whisperings that have seemed to gain a life of their own, multiplying and growing louder with each passing year.
Features vocals from Katje Janisch, Colin Bradley, Allan Murphy, Andy Buckle, John Alexander, Lou Maloney, Elijah Handley, Naomi Handley-Ward, Tammy Handley-Ward and Peggy Handley-Ward.
The Coast In Flux from the reissued The Quietened VillageThe sounds which underpin this track were recorded on the beach of the East coast town of Hornsea which lies midway between Flamborough Head and Spurn Point. The area suffers from the fastest rate of coastal erosion in Europe with upwards of 40 villages and hamlets lost to the waves since the Domesday survey was completed in 1086. The music represents the slow loss of earth, stone, bricks and memory to the relentless ebb and flow of the North Sea.
Circles Within Circles from The WatchersThe seasons, years, decades and centuries watched over by the ancient oak is represented here by multiple arpeggios, each passing through numerous delays. Every echo ensures the original germ (or acorn) continues to inform the piece through to the end much like the rings that can be counted in a cross section of the tree itself were it to be felled. The additional guitar from John Alexander of Floodlights, brings a little organic relief, to an otherwise purely electronic piece of music.
Features John Alexander on acoustic guitar.
There have been 3 Pulselovers gigs over the past month, this time around I've abandoned the laptop (and the songs) and instead performed long-form experimental sets with little structure. The pieces have been based around tapeloops (on the 4-track and walkman), guitar pedals, noise boxes and a couple of synths. These performances have been really rewarding for me and I plan to use them as a starting point for the third Pulselovers album to be released (hopefully) next year.
I've also played a couple of gigs with friends John Alexander and Harriet Lisa as part of John's Floodlights project.
Last summer, I also joined vert:x on stage for the first time at the Black Prince in Northampton.... very much looking forward to performing with Neil and Dave again later this year.
As you may know, I was invited to join a new incarnation of the band Vert:X last year, initially as a keyboard/noise generator for the Northampton gig mentioned above, but soon this developed into a recording gig too. The first fruits of this project was a radio session for Dandelion FM and a full album, Death To False Motorik which was released initially on CDr before being remastered by the legendary John McBain of Monster Magnet for a vinyl release on the awesome Weird Beard Records. More music can be found here.
Whereas Vert:x is currently a trio comprising Neil Whitehead, Dave Millsop any myself, XOND has exactly the same lineup. The main difference is that with Verts, Neil is the main songwriter, but with XOND, it's Dave. Confused?
We recorded an EP earlier this year, and you can buy it here
This went under the radar a little, but at the back end of 2018, Klaudyna (which is a duo consisting of myself and Klaudyna Pop) released a single via Do It Thissen / Woodford Halse. The 7" lathe cut is still available here. We are making slow progress on a full album which should be finished before the end of 2020.