Ioan Morris

I owe my love of the printed word and indeed the appreciation of classical music and its majesty to my junior school teacher, Ms Quirk, those trips to the Philharmonic Hall (not the Pub that would come later for a time while studying Law whereupon I would frequent its warm hospitality more than my lectures across the road at the now, gone for posterity, Foster Building). Aside being the pianist for the Liverpool Phil, the quietly spoken ma’amish Ms Quirk opened up a magic land of story- telling, most notably, ‘the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ and ‘the wind in the willows’, the latter of which has never dulled or been far from my occasional lulls into simple whimsy. Why am I telling you this, well those folk at the Dark Outside have seen fit to resource a series of spectaculars that’ll have variously invited guests scoring imagined soundtracks for fantasy adaptions of childhood narratives. The series, titled ‘Bibliotapes’ are strictly limited in pressing, just 50 copies of each volume, all housed in nostalgic looking long box cassette trays that look like classic Penguin etc… fayre. The first of these releases, ‘the Magician’s Nephew’, part of CS Lewis’ extended ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ opus, an imagined score therein for an animated serial pencilled for production in the early 80’s but never realised. The soundtrack written and composed by Ioan Morris is embraced of the mythic, the magic and the reverence (see the beautified and regal awakening captured within ‘the first voice’) of the novel, Morris exquisitely captures the mood and the atmosphere of this founding stone in the Narnia legend, both elegant and elegiac, the set opens to the dream like jubilant folly of the uplifting ‘Digory and Polly’, its pastoral shimmering caught in a nostalgic hazing that’ll find admiring glances from pretty much anything heading out of the much adored Clay Pipe imprint. It’s that sense of the undisturbed, the untouched and the free that pretty much sets the musical stall for side 1, the beauty of unfettered isolation, the land wild and untamed, the noble mystique brought forth by ‘the attic and uncle andrew’ and ‘the wood between the worlds’, both draw a demurring kinship with the Heartwood Institute while the mystical haunt of ‘the Rings’ is glazed in a deeply alluring night lit curious that hints of Keith Seatman, the similarity furthering due to its enviable ability to teeter between both the sinister and the serenely sighing. Morris excels to the craft of the enchanted, the beguiled and the bewitching with much aplomb, identifying that child like eye of wonder that the stepping from reality into fantasy promises, ‘the founding of Narnia’ pretty much exemplifying all these facets in one stirring moment of majesty even cleverly impish enough to tweak the sonic tapestry to reveal an almost Goblin meets Oldfield progness to the proceedings , something best evidenced by the track that draws the curtain on side 1 of the cassette, ‘charm and the deplorable world’ whilst elsewhere add in the obvious influence of Wakeman that occasionally emerges from out of the grooves over on side 2. Somewhere else there’s the divinely cut regal pomp of the ceremonial ‘King Frank and Queen Helen’ whilst the mellowed rustic triptych signing out the collection (‘the planting of the tree’, ‘the apple of life’ and ‘the end of the story and the beginning of all the others’) seasons matters in a wistful dappling of harmonious heraldry. Simply out of time.

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