sh fox

Staying a little longer with Static Caravan and after several helpings of humble pie, a release that has thus far slipped the net, blame Christmas, a haze of forgetfulness or simple ineptness, we’d say all three but then we are closer to truth than you. Anyway, this chap, handsomely packaged in a pin clipped card envelope housed inside of which, you’ll find a printed poster sleeve by Lancashire and Somerset with of course, CD all numbered in an edition of 100 – our being #6 in case you are taking notes, which at this point I strongly recommend that you do. This I’m afraid is one of those classic Static Caravan surprises, you know the kind of release that they occasionally pluck from the hat that blows you away, an unerring knack they have that in truth makes the label rather special in an eclectic way. This one I shouldn’t wonder, is currently or at should be, having the folk over at Terrascopic Towers swooning en masse, from SH Fox this is ‘Realms’ which to give you a little background to we’ve lazily copied and pasted part of the press gubbins which reads thus …. ‘‘Realms’ invokes rituals, processions and mythological worlds of the ancient North. Each realm develops from this initial foundation to explore diverse genres and textures, encompassing dark ambient atmospheres and drone through to doom metal. The whole cycle takes the listener on a dramatic journey from the homesteads and rituals of the human realm, Midgard, into worlds of ice, mist and fire ruled by the ancient Norse gods’. Couldn’t have worded it better myself but then when has that ever stopped us from putting in our two penn’orth worth. Stilled and graceful, nine mystical mantras adore the grooves of this accomplished gathering. Spirited in an artistry long since lost, these wood smoked spirituals hypnotically haunt with a rich woven solace, both earthy and ghost like, they weave and wander the twilight netherworlds like orphaned apparitions, their spectral toning as the press release so rightly ascribed, tying together the disparate worlds of wyrd folk (the foreboding dark star approach of the stately leviathan ‘Asgard’ and its apocalyptic herald, the doom draped titan monolith ‘Muspelheim’ ), delta blues, drone, ambience and dark psych (the deliciously hazing arabesque forming around dust dry Tibetan mind morpher ‘Jotunheim’ with its appreciable nods to Bardo Pond being a case in point). The effects loosening within, forge a curiously strange alchemic kinship with the prevailing hauntologist community, here I’m thinking most pertinently the alternate histories scored by the A Year in the Country folk and the rarefied and instructive research into lost customs and rituals as celebrated by the Folklore Tapes imprint. While the press release, might to some, give the notion that the contents are perhaps dark, remote and a tad difficult to live with, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth, a fact no better exemplified than on the snaking pastoral ‘Alfheim’ which sighed to a deeply mesmeric looping, comes seductively harvested upon a bewitching and beautified trance toning bouquet that in another place and time would have imagined a youthful Grails re-whittling the soundtrack of ‘Wicker Man’. Elsewhere, the drone recital emerging from the dawn dew fog of ‘Vanaheim’ is pure Oggum records fayre (see Alphane Moon, Our Glassie Azoth et al …..), definitely one for the Terrascope purists I’m minded to say. Even the darkly brooding shadow light that is ‘Helheim’, as much as it is gloomed and gathered in with a consuming dead air despair, has something of an outer worldly edginess about its wares as suggest you’ve strayed the path and found yourself in a psychotropic hinterland created by Keith Seatman wherein likewise wrong footed, lurk both Roy Montgomery and Bill Horist. ‘Nitlheim’ brings matters to a close, though not before bathing you in a welcoming radiant serene with the genteel pulse of the cosmos heart serving as your guiding hand towards the journey’s end point, the veil. Essential as though you needed telling.

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