Christmas on the Black Meadow – a seasonal mix from Melmoth the Wanderer

image001

The fourth seasonal mix from Melmoth_the_Wanderer recalls his visit to The Black Meadow – a place steeped in wyrd folklore and mysterious happenings. This mix contains reading by Chris Lambert from his book  `Christmas on the Black Meadow’. 

The music comes from the two albums also associated with The Black Meadow – The Soulless Party’s `Tales from the Black Meadow’ and the compilation album inspired by Chris’ original book (of the same name) made up of tracks by artists from around the world – Songs from the Black Meadow.

Both of these albums are available for purchase.

Do you see shadows in the mist? Are you stalked by meadow hags? Do you long to play with black stars? Do you crave a darker yule?

Then this book could be for you!

It is Christmas on the North York Moors.
The snow sits upon the heather and bramble. The fences around RAF Fylingdales are silent and still. A dense mist grows in the distance. If you listen closely you can hear strange Yuletide chants, the hum of a land sphere and the cackle of a meadow hag.
This collection of Christmas tales from the Black Meadow contains three new Yuletide stories. Experience a beautiful inversion of The Nativity in A Black Meadow Christmas, warm
 your toes in a tale of matriarchal terror in The Meadow Tree and marvel at the delightful wonders of The Black Star. You will also find details of ideal gifts you could give and games that you can play when visiting the Black Meadow.
With beautiful illustrations by Andy Paciorek and Nigel Wilson, this is a festive treat that will bring joy and fear in equal measure to your Christmas celebrations.
All profits from the sale of this book go to Worldwide Cancer Research.

Discover more by visiting http://blackmeadowtales.blogspot.co.uk/ where you will be able to join the legions of enthusiasts already immersing themselves in the tales from the Black Meadow.

https://beta.mixcloud.com/Melmoth_The_Wanderer/christmas-on-the-black-meadow/

Advertisements

The Wick – support an exciting new Folk Horror production.

wick1

Set in the early 19th century in rural England, ‘The Wick’ is a tale of deceit and persecution of a woman who fights for justice against a lawless witch hunter.

We are a team of independent filmmakers, creating a short film about witch trials with strong themes of radicalization and the oppressive persecution of women. A period drama inspired by true events, set in a time when these practices were illegal but still continued.

wick2

The story unfolds seventy-three years after witch trials were banned in the U.K. When Esther, a known herbal healer in a small close knit community, witnesses her friends murder at the hands of a lawless witch hunter, she finds herself entangled in a dangerous web of deceit, blind ignorance and superstition. We track Esther’s head on collision into this dark world and her realization that things clearly need to change. We follow her journey of attempting to put an end to the ignorance and barbarity of these outdated beliefs. This is a universal and timely story of a strong woman, striving for justice and fighting for the rights of the underrepresented and the misunderstood.

wick3

Currently, we are in pre-production and raising money for our film. We launched our crowdfunder to help realise our dream but that now has just 8 days left….Christmas Eve 24th USA time is when its finishing…..so 8am morning of Christmas day in the UK. It will have been on for 60 days in total. We have raised nearly £2,500 on the campaign and we have also £3,000 private donations outside of the campaign. Ideally, we would like to get £2,000 more as we have found a fantastic location recently, which would be ideal, but it costs £200 per hour and we would need to be there for a day’s shoot.

We have a team of talented individuals that are passionate about the subjects we are aiming to bring to light. To this day, countless numbers of people are still being accused of witchcraft and persecuted around the world. They have no rights, no voice and are condemned by misguided beliefs. Just last month, a seventy three year old woman in Peru was burnt at the stake for being branded a ‘Witch’. This is why we feel our story needs to be told today.

wick4

Crowdfunder link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-wick-short-film-horror#/

 

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheWickShortFilm/

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thewickshortfilm/

Christmas with the Wanderer

It has become somewhat of a tradition that Audio Relic Hunter Melmoth The Wanderer visits us all at this time of year with a very special seasonal gift. Not your usual sugary Yuletide fare but just as steeped in tradition and nostalgia – you can almost hear the fire crackle and smell the wood smoke mix with the smell of pine and Christmas spices as you enjoy these wintry soundscapes mixed with just a hint of Jamesian pleasing terror.

2013 – The Ghost of Winters Past

 

A mix of new and old music inspired by winter and the approaching festive season. It includes echoes of Christmas past from Shakespeare, The Box of Delights and a recounting of the Great Freeze of 1963.
I put the mix together with the idea in mind of waking to find the land white with the nights snow and the initial excitement that brings in everyone of all ages…..then the reality of what the weather means kicks in – as reflected by the Great Freeze commentary.

 

2014 – Christmas – through a glass darkly.

 

The stranger trudges through the snow covered streets glimpsing shadows and shades of the season through frosted windows. Echoes of Christmases past, present and future merge as he pauses at each window to absorb the sights and sounds…..through a glass darkly.

 

2015 – A Fireside Companion

 

This third of the Melmoth seasonal mixes is here.
The first took us through a landscape of ice and snow – the second took us back to our childhood when the television in our front room truly was a box of delights.
This year sees us attending Midnight mass and trudge back home through the snow in the company of Christmas ghosts, a certain signal man and all that makes for an un-silent night.

REVIEW -The Heartwood Institute `Witchcraft ’70′

witchcraft-70

The Heartwood Institute – `Witchcraft ’70′

 

There are witches in today’s society… intones the voice with which The Heartwood Institute’s offering “Witchcraft ’70” opens. Allow us, if you will, to show you one of the most shocking realities of the ’70s.

These words are sampled from the trailer for Witchcraft ’70, one of the dime-a-dozen “Witchsploitation” documentaries that were popular in the 1960s and 1970s (although probably more for their lurid presentation of naked flesh than factual information about the dangers of the mid-century occult scene).

That’s not to say the newest release from the “hauntronica” outfit, hailing from the Lake District, is confined to the decade of disco. The synth work accompanying the titillating narration is rooted in the ’80s. On the title track in particular, I’m reminded of the analog work by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth for Halloween III: Season of the Witch, as well as the more beat-heavy cuts from the post-industrial scene (think Bites-era Skinny Puppy).

Following “Witchcraft ’70” is “Diana,” an exploration of the relationship between the Classical moon goddess and Lucifer. Again, behind the sampled narration The Heartwood Institute builds a pulsing wall of electronic sound, this time with clicks in all the right places, sleazier beats, recorded birdsong, and a throwback synth bass. “Witchdrone” closes out the release, two minutes of what can best be summed up by its title.

The Heartwood Institute released “Witchcraft ’70” as a Hallowe’en special, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until next October to have a listen. A must for everyone who enjoys the combination of kitschy samples and seriously good electronica, its biggest negative is that there isn’t enough of it. From beginning to end, it’s about 12 minutes and just got this listener revved up when it ended. Fortunately, the Heartwood Institute has other issues in their catalogue to explore.

Reviewed by Katherine Beem (The Stone Tapes)

REVIEW -Klaus Morlock `Bethany’s Cradle’

bethanys-cradle

Klaus Morlock – `Bethany’s Cradle’

Unearthed at last, one of the true “holy grail” soundtracks of seventies folk horror: Bethany’s Cradle. The film that never was.


For those unfamiliar with the background, Bethany’s Cradle is one of Italian director Angelo Ascerbi’s great, lost works. Shot in the English Lake district and based on a script by Antonio Baresi and made mainly using English actors. The film was financed by the equally shadowy Lupus Pictures, known for cult Euro Horror’s  like  “Blood Of The Limping” and the “Seduction Of The Beast”. Bethany’s Cradle tells the story of a young woman, Bethany, an apparent virgin who nevertheless becomes pregnant, and her involvement with a strange cult who carry out their rituals on the banks of Lake Windermere in the very heart of the Lake District. As a teenager growing up in Cumbria, I have a very clear memory of a feature in the Cumberland News at the time of the filming. As I recall, local extras were being sought for scenes to be shot in the Cumbrian market town of Penrith. Accompanying the piece were some shots of director Ascerbi posing with Eleanor “Ray” Bone, the witch of Blindcrake, who was apparently “advising” Ascerbi on certain key scenes within the film.

For reasons that are still unclear, production on the film was halted after an altercation between Ascerbi and Lupus pictures boss, Billy Wolf.

Undeterred Morlock continued with the score, which finally saw the light of day later in 1979 with a very limited vinyl release through Lambent Records. Copies of this being so rare, that five figure sums are now expected on the occasions that a copy comes onto the market. Fortunately for us Mr. Morlock’s curator has managed to acquire a serviceable copy of this super rare vinyl and effected a very high quality digital transfer, which I am delighted to report captures all the warmth and crackle of the original recording.

So, onto the content:

We begin with an opening title theme in the classic seventies euro horror style that makes some clear nods to both the maestro Morricone and the workhorse sounds of Fabio Frizzi. Eventually the piece mutates into a throbbing synth driven chase scene in the classic Tangerine Dream, sequencer epic style style. It’s here that Morlock deploys both the ARP Odyssey as well as the mighty CS80, later made famous by Vangelis in the score to Blade Runner. Next up is a total change of style, with a wistful solo piano piece; Bethany’s Solitude. Here we find a strange mixture of lounge jazz and almost Satie like dreaminess. An unexpectedly beautiful little piece. Bethany’s Dream finds us back in familiar Morlock territory, fusing spiraling guitars and Melotron that eventually fade into a wall of analog delay. This then leads us into Cumbrian Twilight, starting with ominous synths, this slowly builds around a driving drum machine pattern as more and more elements are added, the piece lightens before suddenly grinding to an ominous halt.

Farewell Letter, is a short piece for guitars that is in turn charming and hypnotic. Next up we have the hard synth piece, Cloudburst. Once again this has the feel of Frizzi or Carpenter, though the disco like beats date this quite firmly in the late seventies. Not even Klaus Morlock could avoid the need for disco in a soundtrack in 1979. However, Morlock is unafraid to pull the rug from under us and abruptly this synth piece dissolves into something else altogether, a beautiful lullaby recalling the opening theme. What follows next seems to predate the kind of music that Richard James would peddle under the name Aphex Twin so successfully on his selected Ambient works albums. Here, in The Draughty Church, the full might of the CS 80 is deployed in a majestic piece of what I can only describe as “proto-electronica”. This is prime Morlock, with drifting glacial synthesisers overlaying a driving bass line, all of which slowly morphs a wall of deeply unsettling synth textures and ambient winds. Next up is Village Messenger, and it’s here that the album moves from synth and prog territory into full on chiming folk horror. A simple guitar motif and hand drums conjure up images of pagan rituals being practiced on the shore of Lake Windermere in the early morning light of mid summer. Then, almost immediately, the mood changes again and birdsong and synthesisers lead us into the The Shadow Garden. No-one else conveys innocence and threat quite so effectively. Bethany’s Departure builds on this, opening with melancholy keyboards this too becomes gradually more sinister, the unease palpable as the synthesisers build upon each other, emphasizing the growing horror of the film’s resolution. We can only assume this was a film with no happy ending.

And finally we come to the closing theme, the most experimental piece of the album. Synths and reversed guitars intertwine in an oddly musical chaos, achieved no doubt by the use of multiple Studer multi-track tape machines, inexpertly synced together by Morlock himself.

So, where does this stand in the Morlock canon? Stylistically it’s a progression from earlier soundtracks: The Bridmore Lodge Tapes and the Child Garden, while taking in some of the more prog, psych and folk rock elements of the longer form releases Penumbra and Virgin Spring. Simply put, if like me you are Morlock obsessive, you have to have this release. Even in this digital format it is pure sonic wonderment. This is music that deserves to be heard, not hoarded in a private record collection. One can only hope that Klaus Morlock’s curator continues to unearth more releases for the benefit of his many fans.

Review by Jonathan Sharp.

REVIEW – Hermione Harvestman `A Harvest of Souls: Requiem for Dancers (Unseen)’

  • a-harvest-of-souls

    Hermione Harvestman – `A Harvest of Souls: Requiem for Dancers (Unseen)’

     

     

    The story of Hermione Harvestman is a fascinating one, a woman who felt haunted by music and saw her creative process as one, not of creation, but exorcism of sonic spirits. She was born in 1930, a classically trained pianist who went on to play church organ in rural County Durham. She was a prolific musician working in many genres composing for her own need, the local church and even amateur theatrical productions. Abandoning the piano at the age of 26 when she was introduced to the Clavivox, an early sequencer-cum-synthesiser. On discovering the Clavivox Hermione said ‘This was my epiphany – it one stroke it solved all my problems with regard to Western Tonality. Increasingly, I was drawn to monophonic music and modality, but I was ill prepared to join the elite who called themselves Folk Musicians or Early Musicians; bourgeois sub-sects striving for an authenticity so enamoured of a certain mind-set which I’d never been able to relate to. Neither was I too enamoured of Atonal Experimentalism. The music I heard in my heard was far richer than that, somehow – at least it was to me. I dreamed of hurdy-gurdies – of drones and monophonic keyboards playing parallel 3rds, 4ths and 5ths. In reality, hurdy-gurdies sounded ghastly (with significant exception). On hearing the Clavivox I heard the music that dreamed of astrological continuities between ancient music and future possibilities; it touched the essence of what music was at its most primal – that of both the planets of the Pyramids; that of the stars and Stonehenge.’ Hermione lived and worked in the county in which I grew up, it is both wonderful and sorrowful to discover that such a fascinating character who created such a vast library, lived so near and yet I only become aware of her years after her death.

    “A harvest of Souls: Requiem for Dancers (Unseen)” is one of 12 albums of her work she selected prior to her death in May of 2012 and collected together by Sedayne. The album is a suite of 8 improvised pieces, comprised of blissful yet haunting synth works performed live and recorded in the chapel house of York Minster in 1973. In the accompanying text on the bandcamp page Hermione describe her remit as “Being simple enough, to provide a sequence of improvisations prescribed in terms of duration and “mood” each relating to particular ideas in the programme and arrived at by intuitively reacting to the movements of the shadowy dancers”. The album begins with notes which sound almost plucked, gorgeous synth tones allowed breath and flow leaving space between each as the melodies become ever more intricate. As the album progresses the sound becomes fuller never overbearing and conjure thoughts both ancient and futuristic. The melodies at times sound almost medieval however the tone palette is pure monophonic electronica of the most beautiful order. The pieces switch between the melodic tonal and slightly droney with emphasis on harmoincs, all allow the sonic richness of the instrument to be expressed in a wonderful reverby sonic backdrop. As I listened I found myself thinking of ancients contemplating the heavens and the future, how alien yet familiar such music would sound to them. The entire album is a joy to behold however my favourite pieces are parts 7 and 8 (the closing two) which contain the most beautiful melodies and at times pre-figure Board of Canada’s woozy tape delayed sound. The album is available at hermioneharvestman.bandcamp.com and I cannot recommend it enough a sublime piece of synth improvisation.

    (http://hermioneharvestman.bandcamp.com/album/a-harvest-of-souls-1973)

    (Reviewed by Antony Wealls – Equestrian Vortex and The Mortlake Bookclub