❉ The mystical and the metallic collide in this latest field recording, writes Eoghan Lyng.
Thundery, the opening sounds weather the listeners to the most precipitated work in the A Year In The Country canon. Elsewhere, rain drops, sun clocks and piano painted soundscapes bring listeners from the bucolic settings of its predecessors into a worldly odyssey of global kaleidoscopic changes divulging the sonics and sideshows of a faux- holocaustian milieu. Without prose to guide them, Echoes and Reverberations steer through the horrors and hideousness ploughed through Jeff Wayne’s steamy War of The Worlds. Wetting the sonics whets the atmosphere and Echoes and Reverberations pillows the pleasant pictures penitence and penance creates. Confessional confines can comely create categories chillingly collected together, here it finds itself in CD form.
Through the willowy skies Grey Frequency, Pulselovers, Dom Cooper, Listening Center, Howlround, A Year In The Country, Sproatly Smith, Field Lines Cartographer, Depatterning and The Heartwood Institute enter and wave with the historiographical existences it eagerly expresses. Previous entries have walked the pastoral fields England and Britain boast, coasting in Wordsworthian idyllic indolence in their run time. This is a very different world walked, one where the mystical and the metallic collide in explosive symmetry. This is the nuclear apocalypse Nena lamented, Strawberry Switchblade envisioned, and Roger Waters cherished. All pictured without word, all demonstrated directly through instrumentation and ornamentation.
Regal opener King Penda captures the ornate orchestration understood in nineteen seventies prog, an Evangelical Vangelis number opening with hypnotic morse touch. The string heavy The Edge of The Cloud anticipates the angular adulation with bated whispers waking the wonderful chord-play. Invoking the restructure of a barren, bombed bastion, broken hearts beat with bucolic beauty. Conversely, The Ogham Stones veer to the ugly, angry in its reverbed soundscape aping the piano protrusion probed through John Cage style shimmers. The lyrical What Has Been Uncovered Is Evil says everything in its name, while album closer Ribble Head Viaduct ripples with ethereal Oldfieldian ambience. Though not overly conceptual, the record walks into story lines delineating fictional counterparts’ themes; from apocalyptic tales to never-were documentaries and phantasmagorical government commissioned instructional films via stories of conflicting mystical forces of the past and present. In all of its metaconceptual magnificence, it enters the vortex of seventies post psychedelic portraitures, never changing from the portentous to the pretentious. In other words, the perfect album to end the summer’s sensuous season, the perfect gateway to the Autumnal areas angling ahead.
As is tradition, the album voyages on a variety of field trips, yet interestingly the production and vast assemblage of intricate effects outclass these efforts. Through the compiled pictures posited in novel form, the silhouetted black and whites betwixt the listener from the aural medium to the visual, encompassing motifs, designs, dignitaries and decisions of a televisual world. This is a companion to those who take the album in physical, rather than metaphysical form. Those more electronically abled won’t enjoy the pageantry paper in its delicate three dimensions. It is to the album’s credit that the music conjures up the images even without literary accompaniment.
❉ Features music and accompanying text on the tracks by: Grey Frequency, Pulselovers, Dom Cooper, Listening Center, Howlround, A Year In The Country, Sproatly Smith, Field Lines Cartographer, Depatterning and The Heartwood Institute.
❉ Eoghan Lyng is a regular contributor to We Are Cult. His writing has also appeared in Record Collector, CultureSonar, Punk Noir Magazine, DMovies, Phacemag and other titles. Follow him on Twitter. Visit his homepage.