from the furthest signals

The latest audiological research study from A Year in the Country is upon us, a journey into the mysterious worlds of lost transmissions, primarily television and radio. Before the advance of digitalisation techniques, a large part of our youth was wiped for the sake of costly space cutting budgets, footnotes forgotten reduced to distant memory germinating a life of their own in the haze of a fading childhood recall. ‘from the furthest signals’ poses the question as to what happened to these broadcasts, it imagines forever reruns in the ether echoing and reverberating throughout time and space perhaps degraded or fused with other cosmic conversations and as a result part of the creation of an alternative line of history. Perhaps these lost recordings are more earthbound laying undisturbed and unaware in dusty lofts or amid vast unmarked / unlabelled collections in the homes of your neighbours, ghost prints eking from beneath later recordings on redundant ferric cassettes and VHS / Betamax cartridges. ‘from the further signals’ is a fourteen track ghostly gathering that guides the listener by the hand to be sucked by rusty antennae’s and receivers into a twilight world whereupon such transmissions have mutated and evolved anew to inhabit their own sonic ecosystem. These worlds, sometime dreamy though often disquieting, evolve fashioned by their surroundings, their DNA disfigured by white noise burns, damaged and rebuilt from their environment. Among these findings Keith Seatman’s ‘curious noises and distant voices’ finds itself scorched by solar flares, a monastic recital shredded and melted by the high intensity of cosmic blasts while elsewhere and providing a hitherto sharpening contrast the hymnal folk ghost light that is Circle / Temple’s opening ‘the Séance / search for Muspel-Light’ emerges sleepily to fracture and peel to reveal a shimmering symphony of the stars ala FortDax. Those fancying their listening space somewhat graced in vintage visions might be well minded to seek out David Colohan’s quite quietly immense ‘brass rubbings club’ not least because it manages to position itself in a plot of shaded pastoralism somewhere between your usual ghost box delights and that of Pye Corner Audio. Darker still to more foreboding and troubling terrains go A year in the country whose chamber toned and doomy ‘a multitude of tumbling’ has the distinct unease sci-fi-tronic vibe that used to trouble Revenant Sea releases. Then there’s some niftily fried psych folk spell gazing to be had with Sharron Kraus’ ‘Astrope’ immersed as it is with a beguiled church like resonance that imagines a secret studio face-off between Virgin Passages and Glissando. Something ominous looms with the arrival of time attendants seismic future chill ‘the dreaming green’ – assembled partly from discarded and forgotten 80’s straight to VHS shocker themes moulded to a spectral shimmering of folk drone ala Alphane Moon et al, a disquieting and most disorientating experience. Likewise with Depatterning it should be said, who breach the divides between reality and the beyond with the ghost toned silvery séance that is ‘Aurora in Andromeda’ into the bargain unleashing an unearthly chill to grace your listening space in a macabre stillness that midway through happily discovers its wherewithal to softly yawn and playfully lilt amid a thawing carousel of dissolving rustic posies. Next up ‘thistle doll’ is a delicate folk lullaby sprinkled in music box pirouettes, spooky sprites and is that the appearance of the sadly underused Theremin stirred in a woozy potion of spectral folk hymnal entrancement, as ever quality ear gear from the mighty Sproatly Smith. Those of you whose recall easily stretches back several years, might well remember our fondness for the Scotch Tapes imprint whose sister label, the name of which for now annoyingly slips our memory, was in its brief but bright stay something of a purveyor in the sonically abstract landscapes crafted by Field Lines Cartographer on ‘the radio window’ – all dronal tides of oceanic white noise corralled into tripping dream draped formations, much likened to, I’m pressed to say, the imagining of a post-apocalyptic nothingness smothering the stars to darkness. More celestial happenings encroach the grooves of Grey Frequency’s leviathan like ‘Ident (IV)’ whereupon the doomy call of foreboding sirens culture a deathly quiet from out of a choking sea fog with a chilling ‘War of the Worlds’ consequence. Somewhere else Polypores tunes his radial dial into the hypnotic drone frequencies of Sonic Boom’s EAR for the eerily fog bound ‘signals caught off the coast’ and sublimely fuses them to the remote toning of Stylus. That said listening loves are evidently weighted with the passing of the collections final three visitations of which none are so eerie as the apparition presided upon by the Hare and the Moon whose softly demurred ‘man of double deed’ comes spirited in sonic tongues as old as the earth itself, primitive raptures riddled upon snaking arabesques spraying a ghostly rituals of an ancient love craft that nods to Dead Can Dance. That said in sharp contrast, none are as beautifully realised as the lunar carousel forged by Pulselovers whose ‘endless repeats / eternal return’ is adored in a twinkle toned orbital phrasing all shepherded and harvested upon a delicately whirling crystal cut sepia fantasia. Listening Center draws this latest report to a close with the aptly titled ‘only the credits remain’, a beautifully serene and widescreen cosmic sea spray dimpled in sleepy headed dream drifts, utterly touching and tender, need I say more. www.ayearinthecountry.co.uk

From The Furthest Signal-Night and Dawn editions-A Year In The Country

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