We finished a good run of Rusalnaia shows last week and today the album’s officially released.
Gill and I enjoyed playing as a 4-piece with Nick Jonah Davis on electric guitar and Guy Whittaker on drums, and the gig we did with amazing oil projections at the Golden Lion in Todmorden was a highlight. It was just a shame to wake up into the nightmare of Brexit the next morning. Here’s a video clip from that show.
‘Cast A Spell’ from the forthcoming Rusalnaia album Time Takes Away was premiered at Folk Radio UK yesterday.
Gillian flew in yesterday and we’ll be setting off on tour to showcase the new album as well as revisiting some tracks from the old. We’ll mostly be performing as a 4-piece with Nick Jonah Davis on electric guitar and Guy Whittaker on drums.
‘Time Takes Away’, the new Rusalnaia album, will be released on cd by Cambrian Records on July 15th, but is available to pre-order now. The cd comes in a lovely gatefold sleeve with cover art by Bill Crisafi.
The Big Eyes Family Players’ new album ‘Oh!’ was launched last week at the lovely Regather Works in sheffield. The album’s released on vinyl by Home Assembly Music and you can listen to it here.
Reviews have started coming in, including a nice one from Folk Radio UK: ‘ the overall result is akin to the eerie, time-bending stories of Alan Garner or Susan Cooper and the proto-psychedelia of Lewis Carroll… it becomes clear that they are at the very top of their game, and that ‘Oh’ is perhaps their finest album to date.’
Here’s the nice video Annie Watson made for ‘Pendulum’:
Big thanks to Folk Radio UK for including Friends and Enemies; Lovers and Strangers in their Best Folk Music Albums of 2015 list. It’s a great list, including lots of friends and artists I admire, as well as a host of music I’ve never heard and want to check out.
Hen Llan Recordings, an EP of instrumentals I recorded in North Wales using some of Harriet Earis’ harp parts for Friends and Enemies; Lovers and Strangers as starting points is released today on Reverb Worship.
Here’s a video I made for one of the tracks:
The cd is a limited edition of 50, orderable here.
The last few weeks have been busy, so there’s quite a lot of news to catch up on.
I had a wonderful time in Belgium and Germany, playing shows together with Will Z, Alice Artaud, B’ee and Elysian Elderwood and returned home with an exciting stash of records I haven’t yet had time to listen to. My favourite venue of the tour was Deux Ours in the tiny town of Nandrin near Liège, which looked like a hunting lodge from Twin Peaks, decorated in antlered deer skulls, sepia photographs and other odd and fantastic items.
Whilst staying in Liège I recorded a radio show for Radio Rectangle, containing live tracks, short interview snippets, and a selection of tracks from some of my favourite artists. You can listen to the show here:
Whilst I was away, Frances Castle at Clay Pipe has made a couple of lovely risograph print sets based on the artwork for my album and they’re available to order from the Clay Pipe Shop.
Just published by Wyrd Harvest Press is Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies – a collection of essays and interviews on folk horror-related subjects. It includes an edited version of the paper I gave at A Fiend in the Furrows – ‘Subtle Magic and the Thrill of The Wicker Man‘, together with essays by Adam Scovell, Phil Legard, Andy Sharp and interviews with Philip Pullman, Alan Lee, Julia Jeffrey and Drew Mullholland.
I’m performing at some exciting events / places over the next couple of months. Coming up this sunday (Oct. 11th) is a Clay Pipe Special at the Betsey Trotwood in Farringdon together with Directorsound. Nick Palmer will be joining me on bouzouki for some of my set, as will be Olly and George Parfitt, on Moog and drums respectively. Frances Castle has designed some gorgeous posters, which will be available as freebies on the day.
Later this month, on October 24th I’ll be taking part in ‘Spectral Landscapes; Explorations of the English Eerie‘ at the Old Fire Station in Oxford. It’s an evening of film and discussion centred around the work of filmmaker Adam Scovell, who I met at ‘A Fiend in the Furrows’ last year. Adam’s blog – Celluloid Wicker Man – is a great resource on cult films, film music, folk horror and his recent short film collaboration with Robert Macfarlane, ‘Holloway’ is mesmerising.
I’ll be giving a short film and video presentation called ‘In the Vale of the White Horse’ as well as performing in collaboration with Arianne Churchman.
Towards the end of October, Harriet Earis will be joining me for a couple of concerts, one in Sheffield and one in Loughborough. We’ll be performing songs from Friends and Enemies; Lovers and Strangers, a rare occurrence given that Harriet’s in Mid Wales and I’m in Sheffield.
Next month I’m off to Belgium and Germany to play some shows. It’ll be great to return to Belgium again, and it’ll be the first time I’ve gigged in Germany, so I’m excited about that. Here’s a lovely poster Wim at Morc has designed for my Gent show.
Last year poet Helen Tookey and I performed together, collaborating on pieces that wove music around her poems. The combinations seemed effective so we decided to record them. We’ve been recording a collection of poems and music this month and the project is due to be released/published by Wounded Wolf Press later this year.
It’s an interesting project for me. I’ve been responding instinctively to Helen’s poems with music, not trying to understand what they mean, and the relationship between the words and the music is very different to the way words and music work together in songs.
Phil McMullen started the Ptolemaic Terrascope as a print magazine about psychedelic and other weird music 25 years ago. The Terrascope, the Terrastock festivals, and what Phil sometimes calls ‘the Terrascopic family’ – the looseknit network of musicians, writers, labels and music-lovers connected through the Terrascope – have provided much-needed support for my music and lifelong friendships.
Simon Lewis, Reviews Editor at the now-online Terrascope, has compiled a digital compilation, featuring a selection of ‘Terrascopic’ artists, to celebrate 25th Anniversary.