Witchcraft & Black Magic In The United Kingdom

Another release annoyingly found trying to tuck itself down the side of the sofa. In truth, this should have been fondly dispatched with weeks ago, but due to one thing or another, found itself left neglected on the back burner. From out of Unexplained Sounds sister imprint lurks ‘Witchcraft & Black Magic In The United Kingdom’, a chilling collection of All Hallows’s Eve horrorphonia, a little something touched with a hauntologists bleakness and certainly ripe for companion listening with similar audio manifestations escaping the A Year in the Country, Woodford Halse et al soundhouses. Initially conceived as a collaborative undertaking with Daniel Williams, it has now taken on the grim mantle of a tribute since his sad passing. ‘Witchcraft & Black Magic In The United Kingdom’ features a gathering of nine supernatural suites with both Mr Williams and Howlround both featuring twice with the collection available on the usual digital download platforms as well as a limited 200 CD press. in no order of preference, starting with Mr Williams brace of selections, first up being ‘Do you believe in Witches’ which utilising an array of spoken word cut ups and various found sounds is dropped in a dislocating hazing of macabre dream like confusion, the effect being the listener is isolated and somewhat lost in a myriad of tones and textures that serve to disorientate and chill with their sinister outsiderism, in truth something that might (or then again, might not), appeal to long standing admirers of Muslim Gauze. Similarly dispatched with an ice cold displacement, ‘You can do almost anything with them’ assumes a subtle seasoning of trippy Eastern mosaics, more focused on this occasion, there’s a stoner half awake awareness about the way the melodies drift and float like fleeting apparitions. ‘Crypt of St John’ marks the first of two appearances by Howlround, this ‘un an eerie subterannic drone-r not unlike the more outsider-esque moments from the Wizards Tell Lies back catalogue, much like some haunted echo from the past it imparts a cold and harrowed bitter sweet aura that imagines some annual ceremonial gathering of the lost. Equally graced in the macabre, ‘Peck in the Crown’ is shadowed by an unsettling sinister touch that many familiar with the Aetheric imprint, notably the Kindred Spirits and Hole House releases, will feel a familair isolationist tug. I’m quite certain we’ve had Sky High Diamonds gracing these musings previously though, if I recall rightly, never sounding quite like this, set upon a sparse sonic shell, the dark ceremonial that is ‘the Discoverer’ is seasoned with a ghostly twilight etching over which an ancient poem or perhaps, account is retold, a disturbing and haunting experience possessed of the macabre majesty of M R James. Ever had that uneasy feeling that you’d mistakenly taken the wrong path, Satori I suspect may well be waiting in the shadows for you for ‘Hag of Hair’ is curiously beset by a creep fest nothingness, its the not knowing that achieves the greatest effect here, its seemingly doom draped atmospherics and stilled edginess imagining a gateway to a wasteland where even the departed fear to tread. I’m certain we’ve mentioned Michael Bonaventure in passing previously, a strong suspicion being that it may have well come via one of those excellent Unexplained Sounds anthologies. Herewith ‘Coronach’, an 8 minute slice of chamber electronic disturbia which with its fixed point etching manages to achieve a somewhat surveillance like watchfulness along with a clinical and spectral toning much recalling those late 60’s alien world mosaics created by the Radiophonic Workshop for Dr Who. Elsewhere, Rapoon serve up ‘the Village’, perhaps all said, the sets lightest and least threatening track in terms of chilling and disturbing, still that doesn’t distract from the eerie emerging within, the ghostly peel of a church bell, the hazy sultry of jazzy interludes and the echoing of a riff orphan adore it with a minimalist craft more commonly found lurking on the Silber imprint, still, a welcome odd sore thumb. Last but by no means least Grey Frequency steps up to the plate with the wonderfully genteel drone draped ‘Elegy for Vinegar Tom’, a twilight traveller trimmed with a Gaellic ghosting and dusted and solemnly soured in regret and despairing introspection, utterly bruising stuff.


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