a year in the country

Latest in the very excellent postings of sonic journals exploring the countryside and its interaction with modernity and mythology, that has seen the turning in of a formidable body of recordings featuring contributions from the likes of the Assembled Minds, Polypores, the Hare and the Moon, the listening center, vic mars and more besides. incoming for inclusion within that sonic library is a nine track suite by A Year in the Country entitled ‘undercurrents’. As the tittle hints, this collection seeks to dig, unearth and shine a light upon a darkening alternative mirror reflection,  a reflection contrary to the bucolic natural beauty often taken as a given of these greenlands. These silent spaces, untouched by progression offer a unique link to a lost past, behind their wild abandoned beauty, they yawn beneath the weight of tradition, mourn for the dark untold secrets they’ve observed and borne witness to whilst from afar, remote and isolated in their safe kingdom, they stare partly with envy, though hitherto more in fear as the order of the old ways slowly dissolves into memory and custom. Utilising the spirit, the atmosphere and the very fabric of their detachment and remoteness and with the application of field recordings, ‘undercurrents’ explores and gives voice to these woodlands and marshes. As mentioned previously, comprised of nine suites, it irrefutably nods and strays along an ancestral path where is scattered classic era Radiophonic Workshop fayre (as on the brooding and psychotropically enhanced ‘drifting parts I-IV’ very Mount Vernon Arts Lab) amid which shattered remnants of the manipulated mosaics crafted by Tristam Cary on his landmark ‘Quatermass and the Pit’ soundtrack lurk, A Year in the Country intricately weaves a palette that finitely captures the lonesome quotient not to mention that searing sense of the lost and forgotten, and while images of such locations beneath the cover of darkness may well inspire a recipe for the eerie, the sinister and the haunting (mind you ‘the heart of the storm’ might have something to say about that, very much coded and cooled in terrains more associated with Assembled Minds), the common theme brought to bear throughout here is something rather more bruised in melancholy (\we suggest you partake of the tenderly torn ‘dreamscapes of old’ whereupon the tear trickled feeling of neglect is pushed to the point of paralysing) and enchanted in mystery (as evidenced perfectly on the frost flecked fantasia that is ‘a pastoral playground’) with the overriding sense of forever encapsulated exquisitely. For here these monolithic drone recitals act as something akin to aural cartography capturing eloquently the very pulse, the bleak beauty and the secret majesty of these wide open spaces all the time bowing forth to their legacy. The set opens to the eerie ‘your hearth is not a home’, a brief though all same beautiful fort dax like apparition before sombrely proceeding forth through the cavernous passages of ‘undertows’ – a leviathanic colossus replete with regalistic fanfares. Missed memories of fort dax are rekindled again on the radiant pulsar ‘caught in the flow’ while crouched in the shadowlands, spectral and somewhat creepy lurks the ever watchful ‘currents’. Essential in case you had already guessed for yourselves. http://ayearinthecountry.co.uk/

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