A Year In the Country – ‘Audio Albion’ reviewed

A gorgeous collage of sound myths, emboldened stories and earthly sounds; a journey through the rims and roads of Britain.

Released as part of the A Year In The Country project, Audio Albion is a visceral and wordlessly unattainable album. This is as good a map of some of the more wonderful parts of olde Albion as could be put to record, as the tracks record sounds found and heard walking down pathways, through to the echoey caves and caverns comely carefully collecting clatters before entering hill climbs and coastland walks are ventured.

It’s a gorgeous collage of sound myths, emboldened stories and earthly sounds, carefully and tastefully collected together on a musical project featuring the magnetic and cerebral contributions from Bare Bones, David Colohan, Grey Frequency, Field Lines Cartographer, Howlround, A Year In The Country, Keith Seatman, Magpahi, Sproatly Smith, Widow’s Weeds, Time Attendant, Spaceship, Pulselovers, The Heartwood Institute and Vic Mars. It’s a journey through the rims and roads of Britain, but it’s as international as it is national, adding to much of the esoteric appeal.

The Unquiet Grave, eerie in chant and texture takes a vibrant look at sounds deathly and downtrodden, embellished by sounds of synth and sorrow. Hvin-lettir opens with a magnetic Richard Wright style keyboard riff, spacey in touch and atmosphere. Winter Sands travels through a collage of backward hews of psychedelic effects both sandy and tangible. Stapleford Hill, monasterial in title, is a pleasurable rain dripped voyage through hill walks and inner thoughts, sharing some musical melodious properties with Vangelis opening score to Blade Runner.

Enclosed within the sleeve notes, the respective writers give their varying perspectives giving insight into their contribution to this hauntology of natural ideas. The paramount paradoxical nature of the Hackney Marshes had an artistic potency to its surroundings, while David Colohan’s 2016 trip to Cheshire gave him his impetus to record On Stormy Point. There is an elegiac spirituality to these recordings, as these tracks slowly speak to one another whether silent in atmosphere or loud in coughs and laughter. The geography feeds into the music and in return, the music to the geography, through a mish mash of genres turning from acid folk to electronic to plaintive instrumental.

‘Audio Albion’: Nightfall and Dawn Light editions.

It’s beautifully furnished with black and white photos featuring the vast greatness of the British countryside. There’s an Anton Corbijn aesthetic that feels finely placed on a well of soundscaped moments detailing the travels and whereabouts of audio travel over isle. Though the photographs are devoid of colour, there is much to be tasted in textures and sounds that are audibly colourful.  Hauntological in design, poetic in atmosphere, Audio Albion is a journey that needs to be listened to.

­ ‘A Year In the Country: Audio Albion’Available to preorder via A Year In The Country’s Artifacts Shop, at Bandcamp and at Norman Records: Dawn Light Edition £11.95. Nightfall Edition £21.95. Released 29th May 2018. 

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