The Wyrd Kalendar – Spectral Fields – The First Mix

The Kalendar Host has been reading.

He has found himself lost in “A Year in the Country – Wandering Through Spectral Fields” by Stephen Prince. This incredible work has inspired a new journey out of the Kalendar Heath and across these Spectral Fields to discover music, ideas, stories, folk horror jaunts, hauntological treats and nostalgic terror.

This is the first of four mixes dedicated to this new book. This mix explores chapters 1-13 through music, sound and key extracts, acting as an accompaniment or, if you will allow, an aural appendix.

Discover the delights of the Albion Country Band, John Martyn, David Bowie, The Sally-Angie, Trader Horne, Demdike Stare, Howlround, Belbury Poly, The Advisory Circle, Hoofus, Lubos Fiser, Frog, Broadcast and the Focus Group, Jugg, The Soulless Party, The Rowan Amber Mill and Emily Jones, Magnet, Broadcast, Pulp, Sneaker Pimps, The Owl Service, Ultravox, Strawberry Switchblade and Nik Kershaw. As well as this you will be able to experience soundtracks from War Games, The Owl Service, The Changes, Sky, Penda’s Fen and many many more…

Buy the book here…

http://ayearinthecountry.co.uk/the-a-year-in-the-country-wandering-through-spectral-fields-book-and-a-visual-accompaniment/

A-Year-In-The-Country-Wandering-Through-Spectral-Fields-book-front-and-back-cover-575x382.jpg The A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral …
ayearinthecountry.co.uk
“This incredibly well-researched book, which is obviously written by a man with an enormous passion for this subject, is probably as comprehensive as it is possible to be.
Advertisements

Toll Booths and Black lakes – The birth of a new Folk Horror film maker

Last year I was very privileged to be invited to the Fear in the Fens Festival as a guest speaker to present ` Otherworldly – an introduction to Folk Horror.’ As a part of that event there was screening of several amateur short films with a Folk Horror thread running through their themes and atmospheres. The best of this crop was the outstanding, spooky and tense `Toll Booth’. On my way home from this event due to railway works there was a bumpy bus ride along dark unfamiliar Norfolk roads and lanes during which I had the pleasure of chatting to the director of Toll Booth – Martin Stocks.

Since then I have kept an eye out for Martin and his work and it came as no surprise

when I saw Toll Booth picking up award after award at multiple film festivals. So far it had won 6 awards including the Gold Award for Best Thriller at LA Shorts Award; and Best Screenplay at Canada International Film Festival as well as being nominated for the Yorkshire Film Award at Leeds International Film Festival – making it eligible for the BAFTAS and Oscars!

The film is focused on Terry on his first night as the keeper of an isolated toll booth which is seemingly haunted by the fact that his predecessor disappeared from his post in mysterious circumstances.

Boredom – it is by no means a busy booth – starts to play on Terry’s mind and eventually he steps out into the mist to investigate and explore his new surroundings. However isolated as he is in this remote eerie landscape Terry oHostarts to get the feeling that there’s something out there lurking in the surrounding fog…something sinister and possibly otherworldly. The paranoid loneliness of the toll booth seems preferable however to the unnerving uncertainty of what is outside the protection of its flimsy clapboard walls.

Each customer who comes to pay their toll seem poised to be a terrifying new twist and each one adds to the nerve wracking tension…….until…


Black Lake

Somehow, whilst touring Toll Booth to film festivals around the globe, Martin has found time to start work on a very adventurous and ambitious project indeed – an animated short thriller called Black Lake.

….A man wakes in a dark, foggy, beautiful, yet hostile world after causing a fatal car crash. He navigates this place, initially spellbound by its stunning ethereal nature, and its pitch black lake with small floating stars. Dread quickly sets in as he realises the malevolent dangers lurking beneath the surface of this half-dead world. He is forced to confront his darkest fears and face the ultimate sacrifice to escape…..

Over to Martin –

“For this dark and compelling story, we are creating a starkly beautiful yet hostile world that our protagonist is thrown into. This project explores the concept of purgatory in a different and surprising way. It is also a taut narrative that will grab viewers by the throat and not let up until the end credits. We aim to produce a visually stunning thriller which will leave you breathless.
There is a multi-talented animation team on board to achieve my ambitious vision. This film will act as a proof of concept for a feature version that we are developing. as I think the script is one of the best things I’ve written. It explores complex themes like guilt, isolation and redemption – and creates a beautiful visual world. With the animation team we have in place I’m really excited to see them realise this stunning world. This film is also a big stepping stone for me as a director looking to move into feature films. Producing this with a proper budget will help me create a beautiful, compelling and touching film…… The success of Toll Booth has shown that I can produce films that engage with audiences and gain critical recognition. I want this film to be so good that it cannot be ignored by the industry and it helps my team get the exposure, recognition and opportunities they deserve.”

All of this vision needs support so if you want to help Martin and the team see their vision come to life there are options and rewards for those wishing to donate and be a part of an exciting project….

You can watch a trailer and read more about the project by following this link.

About the team:

This is the follow-up to Martin Stocks’ (writer/director) short thriller Toll Booth. This has won 6 awards including, Best Thriller at LA Shorts Awards and Best Screenplay at Canada International Film Festival. It was nominated for The Yorkshire Film Award at BAFTA and Oscar-qualifying Leeds International Film Festival. A feature version is in development.

James Wren is producing, having made several feature films. The Man You’re Not features Reece Sheersmith and Joanna Lumley, and recently premiered at East London Film Festival. He also produced short horror/comedy The Monster with Film London, which screened at over 50 festivals and won numerous awards.

Gabhriela Swan Gabhriela is a London-based Illustrator, Designer and Concept Artist whose creative practice takes many forms. From environment visualisation and character design for film to animation and fashion. Easily-identifiable by their trademark ethereal aesthetic, her illustrations have been recognised by major industry brands from both fashion and film including The Mill, Digital Arts Magazine, Ted Baker and Paul Smith. Her sensitivity to project narratives and ability to communicate stories by new and innovative means has generated commissions given her mysterious, often supernatural imagery, evident across all projects, media and disciplines.

 

The Wyrd Kalendar – The Swansongs Mix

To celebrate the Folk Horror Revival Swansongs event at the Black Swan in York on May 12th the Kalendar Host has produced a special walk upon the heath that explores the work of the artists at that concert – Sharron Kraus, Sarah Dean and Hawthonn. As well as this you will hear extracts of swan related poetry and tales and music from Passengers, Thom Yorke, The Ken Moule Assembly, REM and Saint Saens.

For tickets to this extra special event visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/swansongs-tickets-44059576379

https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.evbuc.com%2Fimages%2F42031057%2F212934394505%2F1%2Foriginal.jpg?w=1000&auto=compress&rect=0%2C140%2C676%2C338&s=18e758c22057ba139aed08bf5bad8c0d Swansongs Tickets, Sat, 12 May 2018 at 19:00 | Eventbrite
http://www.eventbrite.co.uk
Eventbrite – Folk Horror Revival presents Swansongs – Saturday, 12 May 2018 at The Black Swan Inn, York, England. Find event and ticket information.

You can find out more about the event here: https://folkhorrorrevival.com/2018/03/11/swansongs/

5c8d825fc07681d14ee23549dbb27db1-woodcut-art-memento-mori.jpg Swansongs | Folk Horror Revival
folkhorrorrevival.com
John Pilgrim and Folk Horror Revival proudly present ‘Swansongs’, an evening of haunting music at the Black Swan Inn, York featuring Sharron Krauss, Hawthonn and Sarah Dean.

Hallows Fell – A Folk Horror Graphic Novel

Hallows Fell –
by Thom Burgess & Izzy Stantic

At some point or other, we have all heard a version of the tale of the phantom hitchhiker. And while there are many variations, the basics of this well-known story always remain the same – a traveller picks up someone standing by the side of a lonely road, but at some point on the journey home they discover their passenger has mysteriously vanished. This classic chiller is said to have occurred all around the world, but one of the most famous examples of it is the haunting at Blue Bell Hill. In the heart of Kent, a road which connects Maidstone to Rochester runs over Blue Bell Hill, which the site of the remains of a Roman temple. As is usual for such ancient locations, the area has accumulated a certain amount of folklore and strange tales over the years, but the famous hauntings seem to have begun relatively recently with a terrible road crash. On the 19th of November 1965, a Ford Cortina was carrying four young ladies to the Running Horse pub in Maidstone. But along the way, by Blue Bell Hill, their vehicle a terrible accident occurred. No one is sure what caused the crash, but ultimately it took the lives of the three of the quartet, including one young lady who was to be meant to be getting married the following day.

By the mid 1970s, tales began to circulate in the local area and popular press of eerie figures encountered on the road, often a young woman in white, with some versions reporting she wore a bridal dress. However over the years other figures were reported too, children and old hags, and little by little the Blue Bell Hill area has gained a reputation for being something of hotspot for paranormal activity, with stories of weird cryptids, such as a gorilla-like creature and phantom black cats, being spotted in the area. It would seem that once an eerie story sprouts upon a landscape, it soon proliferates, and others soon come to join it.

Now there has always been a lot of cross-over between the world of folklore and weird fiction, with Bram Stoker drawing on many old legends to create the modern pop culture incarnation of the vampire, while MR James and many tellers of ghostly tales who followed him have often inspiration in local legends and historical curiosities. However once what were once called gothic, weird fiction or sensations novels had coalesced in the early 20th century into the modern horror genre, increasingly creators looked not to the strange stories told by the fireside or passed around the local area, but instead reworked, reanimated and revises tropes and concepts from early horror stories instead. However in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s the seeds were sown for a new sort of horror, or rather some old wild terrors reappeared in the field. And whichever way you wish to look it, these works which looked again to the lore of the countryside and the landscape of old stories, have blossomed into today’s folk horror revival.

Now one of most interesting new voices to emerge in the current folk horror revival is writer Thom Burgess who has been busy creating a series of deliciously eerie little graphic novels. In his first venture in collaboration with artist Joe Becci, we explored the lore of haunted houses in Malevolents – Click Click (2014). This accomplished chiller was followed by The Eyrie (2017) in which Burgess this time teamed with Barney Bodoano brought us a fascinating and extremely creepy tale that explored all those old stories of smugglers creating ghostly tales to distract unwelcome eyes from their midnight activities. However while The Eyrie delivers some fine chills playing with these folkloric ghost stories within ghost stories, Burgess’s latest offering Hallows Fell goes on step further.

This time partnering with artist Izzy Stanic, Hallows Fell has us ride shotgun with Simon, a businessman on his way home to his fiancee and a house-warming party. Now Simon is a city boy and this ill-fated trip into the countryside will see him very much out of his comfort zone and indeed rapidly become very out of his depth. For Simon’s route is to traverse Bluebell Hill after dark, and there we will discover that there is indeed a very dark truth to all the strange tales that have circulated about this area.

On one hand, the story taps into our own experiences and anxieties – after all, haven’t we all at some point of other had a journey that turns into a nightmare, and indeed many of us will have ended up horribly lost on country roads trying to find the location of some event we are now late for. Indeed while Simon is not exactly a world champion nice guy, as his journey takes increasingly dark and sinister turns, you can’t help but feel a little for his plight.

As with his previous excursions into horror comics, once again Burgess has teamed up with a highly individual artist, this time Izzy Stanic. And once again he has found a perfect partner for his script. While many comics are still following the time-honoured styles pioneered by House of Marvels or their Distinguished Competitors, Stanic’s art is delightfully unique, and has been very much tailored to the tale. Here we have clean lines married with thick shadows and dense pencil shading. She captures the look of rural England by night perfectly, from silhouetted woodlands and country pubs to lonely bus stops and deserted roads. in the middle of nowhere. It’s expressive and atmospheric, and when the script calls for it, truly haunting and horrific.

However what also gives Hallows Fell additional power is the nature of the nightmares waiting in the shadows by the roadside. For Burgess explicitly draws upon the curious tales and haunting legends that surround the Blue Bell Hill area. And this isn’t just a case of using a single legend from local lore and dressing it up as a horror tale. Much like his previous tale The Eyrie this is a story that is about stories, and is clearly a development and anb an expansion of that approach. Here there is a layering of several different stories, with Hallows Fell weaving an intricate web of legend and lore, one that ensnares Simon and draws him closer and closer the dark source from which they spring.

All in all, Hallows Fell is another crackingly creepy tale, offers a great deal of folkloric fear and fun for all you revivalist out there. Very much like the spooky folk tales that have inspired and informed it, it is dripping with eerie atmosphere, and like the benighted country lanes and roads it invokes, takes many dark twists and turns.

For further information and to purchase your copy visit (http://hallowsfell.bigcartel.com/)

The Devil and the Universe (Live) – The Church of the Goat

The Devil and the Universe – The Church of the Goat

by Jim Peters

(this is an excerpt from an article that will feature in Harvest Hymns (Volume 2: Sweet Fruits)

It began with two cards selected from the 78-piece tarot card-set as utilised by the most famous occultist of the 20th century Aleister Crowley. ”The Devil” and “The Universe” were the cards pulled that would prophesize a name for a musical-magical-transcendental composition and transformation project…..

Ashley Dayour – (instruments and voice), David Pfister – (instruments and field recordings) and Stefan Elsbacher (percussion) set out to create music from magical systems. Their aim was to give up their musical creativity and allow the legitimacy of magic and religious mechanisms form musical rules. The process and its system dictated and created not just phonetic anarchy but also examples of sound perfection.

With this as their mission and the influence of Crowley’s tarot The Devil and the Universe were born. Using their transcendental music design and occult and religious iconography as inspiration they combined and reinterpreted these elements and influences to create a variety of musical offerings from Space Disco, Psychedelic Glam, Synth Pop, new wave and Black Metal. There is one musical style however that is very much The Devil and the Universe’s own and it is one they have christened `Goat-Wave’.

Watching The Devil and the Universe live is when all the various influences come into their own and combine to create a magical experience. I don’t mean that in a Disney way (there are no enchanted castles and princesses here!) but in a truly occult sense of the word.

The scene is set with images and film clips showing various robed figured in goat masks connecting with the landscape – communing and seeming taking inspiration from the sepia tinged rural landscape they roam across.

First to enter the Church of the Goat is Stefan (although you wouldn’t know it was him under his robe and mask) and he immediately starts pounding out a tribal rhythm as if to call the audience together – to get us all breathing, swaying and hearts beating in unison to one hypnotic beat.

Next David – once again fully robed and goated up – joins the swirling mist on stage and seems to merge with the visuals before joining in the rhythmic pulse. By now samples, field recordings and synth swathes envelop the audience entrancing them further as Ashley joins the others completing the Unholy Trinity. All three add to the growing sonic conjuration with the most unlikely of instruments – the wooden football rattle. Building the intensity until every person in the room – themselves included – is well and truly under the spell of The Church of the Goat.

There is no let up. Even when there is a change in pace or style or when new instruments are brought into the mix there is no pause between tracks – no chance to break the spell. The whole experience is built around that tribal primeval rhythm – it hypnotises, seduces, entrances and completely captivates the audience and when all three on stage become robed silhouettes pounding against the backdrop of creeping visuals the effect is magnificent. It is a shared experience – all those called to worship at the Church of the Goat do so as one.

The John Carpenter-esque synths, crunching guitars, perfectly chosen samples and field recordings – plus an array of percussive instruments – all play their part in the sonic alchemy but it is so much more than that. What makes The Devil and the Universe such an unmissable live experience is the sum of many parts – the music, the robes, the masks, the visuals, the lights, the audience and the rhythm….that never ending rhythm….the rhythm of the Universe…and The Devil.

(THE DEVIL & THE UNIVERSE)

The Wyrd Kalendar – The Spring Mix

Join the Kalendar Host in a haunting hike upon the Kalendar Heath this spring. Peppered with the sounds of spring, music on the theme of spring and extracts from three spring based tales from Wyrd Kalendar (available to buy here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/chris-lambert/wyrd-kalendar/paperback/product-23371751.html ). You will also be given the opportunity to pause in your trek as special guests from the Folk Horror Revival; Howard Ingham and Darren Charles, discuss a vital spring film and album for your edification and delight.

The Spring mix includes tunes by The Polyphonic Spree, Emil Richards, Donna Summer, St. Etienne, Aaron Copland, Children of Alice, Donovan, Massive Attack, Gao Liang, Ella Fitzgerald, Morcheeba, David Cain, Paul Weller, Pentangle, Scott Walker, The Producers, Jimmy LaValle, The Kinks, Two Door Cinema Club, The Hobbits, Sidney Torch and his Orchestra, Tom Waits, The Coffinshakers, The Lemon Drops, Igor Stravinsky, REM, Anne Ziegler & Webster Booth.

Welcome to The Shivering Circle

Howard David Ingham

Tabletop role-playing games have been, much like folk horror, undergoing something of a renaissance in the last few years – Dungeons and Dragons, the grandfather of them all, sold more copies in 2017 than ever before – and that’s spilled over into all sorts of niche games, which address all sorts of genres. Games like Fiasco and Apocalypse World and its offshoots (which include Monsterhearts, and Dungeon World) have huge followings now, driven by vibrant online communities. But with this exciting growth in the scop of RPGs, I never really felt anyone had yet made a satisfactory folk horror game. I’ve been designing RPGs professionally for over a decade now and I’ve had work appear in about 50 RPG books for various published. A couple of years ago, I created Chariot, a complex and very personal game set in an occultist’s Atlantis, with a system driven by Tarot cards. I learnt a lot from that game, and with my folk horror obsession in full swing, I recently started to think hard about what a folk-horror RPG would look like.

So I wrote The Shivering Circle.

I wanted to create a game with a sort of home-made feeling to it, where you play ordinary people with ordinary desires and fears, but which also had a sense of grim inevitability (after all, like poor Neil Howie, or Jay the Hitman, it was you they wanted all along). In The Shivering Circle, named for a stone monument that has the peculiar effect of making you feel very cold if you’re standing in the middle of it, we briefly visit the Hoddesham Down and the nearby communities of Hoddesford and Hoddeston. Here, the (illegal) local hunt meet finds other animals to pursue, a shaggy, shadowy figure whispers terrible ideas to the downtrodden kids on the local estate, a craggy-faced rural austringer has lived in the same shed for 200 years, and you can visit the Charity Shop of the Damned. I wanted to sketch a place you could visit, that felt real, and to bring out the way in which folk horror juxtaposes the prosaic and the uncanny, and perhaps attempt to infuse it with the cynical humour of Nigel Kneale, Ben Wheatley and The League of Gentlemen. The Hoddesham Down has its share of ghosts, but then everywhere in Britain does – we live on an island where there are no untrodden places, only abandoned ones.These ghosts are as commonplace as the cup of tea on the table by the armchair where sits the corpse.

In The Shivering Circle, you’ll find a filmography, with many of the usual suspects on it, and a section of the text – the meat of the rules text – licensed under a Creative Common Attribution Licence, meaning that anyone who wants to publish their own, compatible game using the same rules, they’re welcome to. I did that because I’d love to see other writers in the community produce games set in other folk horror settings – perhaps in American or Australian, or European, or Asian settings.

The Shivering Circle is available in digital format (and soon in print) at drivethrurpg.com/product/237130/The-Shivering-Circle

Howard Ingham blogs regularly at Room207Press.com


`Unburied’ – Folk Horror takes centre stage.

From the creators of BADD : Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons comes their new project, UNBURIED – in part inspired by the first FHR event `Otherworldy’ held at the British Museum in 2016.

In 1978, HTV produced a six-part children’s Folk Horror serial called ‘Unburied’. The tapes are now missing, presumed destroyed. In the subsequent decades, its existence has become the stuff of myth. But as its 40th anniversary approaches, it’s time to dig up what little information we have on this enigmatic footnote in television history

Join Folk Horror enthusiast, Carrie Marx, as she conducts a personal investigation into the cracks in our collective memory. Beginning with a study of British television classics such as ‘Children of the Stones’, ‘The Owl Service’, and ‘Doctor Who’, Marx leaves no stone unturned as she unearths a terrifying mystery, buried in our cultural past.

Carrie’s fellow Hermetic Arts partner Chris Lince found time in their busy preparation and rehearsal schedule to speak to FHR – “UNBURIED is a mystery we’ve been delving into for the past year, and it’s taken us further back, and deeper down, than we would have ever expected. There’s lots to enjoy for fans of weird 1970s TV, but also for those interested in the hauntological and how the ghosts of the past impact on our future.”

When we questioned Chris about their approach to this production his reply will no doubt sound like a folk horror revivalist idea of heaven – but I imagine the fact that a self-written, acted and produced piece of theatre is the desired end result will have added many stresses and worries to this otherwise wonderful sounding use of one’s time….

“We were already fans of a lot of Folk Horror films (and I had watched all of Doctor Who, apart from those elusive missing 97 episodes…) but it was only since attending the British Museum Folk Horror Revival event in 2016 that we started specifically delving into the television of that era. We adore all of Nigel Kneale’s work, and spent a good chunk of Christmas holed up watching MR James adaptations.
In terms of research, Richard Molesworth’s book “Wiped”, Stephen Brotherstone and Dave Lawrence’s “Scarred For Life”, “The Edge Is Where The Centre Is” edited by SS Sandhu and, of course, Adam Scovell’s “Folk Horror” and “Field Studies” edited by Andy Paciorek and Katherine Beem, all proved invaluable, as well as blog posts by Howard Ingham, Phil Sandifer, and Jack Graham….. and from watching a lot of 1970s TV. We made a ‘Children of the Stones’ pilgrimage to Avebury last year, and spent a lot of time discussing how best to translate the ideas of Folk Horror into a live show. Film and TV benefits so much from being shot in genuinely ancient landscapes, so to create a stage show we’ve tried to approach the themes and concerns of Folk Horror from a slightly different angle…”

The Show runs from 7th – 11th March at Waterloo East Theatre as part of the VAULT Festival. Tickets are available via the booking link (vaultfestival.com/whats-on/unburied)

HERMETIC ARTS is a multidisciplinary producing partnership, creating genre work in theatre, film, podcasting, and animation. It is 50% Chris Lincé and 50% Carrie Marx. Specialising in the Dark Arts, Horror, Cryptozoology, Mischief, Science Fiction, and Odd Stuff, their previous show, BADD, (a theatrical exploration into the 1980s US Satanic Panic) premiered at the 2017 VAULT Festival, before transferring to the Brighton Fringe, and a sell-out run at the London Horror Festival.

To keep up with what Chris and Carrie are doing follow them (@hermetic_arts) on Twitter. If you’re interested in knowing more, or getting involved, contact them at info@hermetic-arts.co.uk

 

THE TRIANGLE OF ART: This symbol represents the protected space outside the magic circle, into which spirits are compelled to appear in Solomonic ritual magic. Its function is to concentrate the spirit being invoked into one space so that it can be seen visibly. The purpose of the triangle is to keep the manifested entity contained.

HERMETIC ARTS is committed to protecting its audience from any entities that may be manifested.

We will hand over again to Chris Lince for the final word –

“There are a lot of similarities between the creation of artistic work and the ritual behaviours of religions and mystical practices. Good theatre, like a good séance, brings people together to explore the past and dream of the future.”

 

Book review: Some Dark Holler by Luke Bauserman

Ephraim Cutler is a 16 year boy, living in the backwoods of Appalachia in the aftermath of the American Civil War. His mother hasn’t been right since his father was killed in the war, killed by a Union bullet. She blackmails him into taking revenge by killing an innocent Yankee, so Ephraim, forced to choose between killing an innocent man or the death of his mother, commits murder. To try and redeem himself, he flees into the forest, but unknown to him, there’s more powerful and sinister forces than the local townsfolk after him, and soon he has a hellhound on his tail.

Some Dark Holler is richly evocative of it’s setting, drawing heavily on Appalachian folklore. I found this to be one of the most interesting aspects of the book, seeing how traditional European beliefs had changed when transplanted to America; the hellhound is a real dog reanimated by a black magic ritual rather than the spectral hound you may be more familiar with, there’s also a granny doctor, an old woman wise in the ways of healing, similar to the wise women of old. It certainly made me want to find out more about the folk tales the author drew on. Luckily, he’s produced a book on this very subject, which is available free from his website, which I’m looking forward to reading.

The plot itself moves along at a fair old gallop, with a fair few twists and turns. Although it’s the first book in a series, it’s satisfying as a stand alone book. I’ll certainly be picking up the sequel when it comes out this year.

More info at www.lukebauserman.com, where as well as his previously mentioned ebook, the author also blogs about local folklore, so well worth checking out.

Review by Scott Lyall

When Will The Wolves Howl ?” / ” Kiedy Wilki Zawyja ?” by Mzylkypop

This is an album which throbs, pulsates and yes, howls, with imaginative intensity.

When Will The Wolves Howl? provides the soundtrack of a chilling imagined future. England is surrounded by the Republics of Scotland and Wales. Albion is now ruled by a far right government that has come to power on a manifesto of forced repatriation. There is panic in the streets. Resistance is scattered as bands of immigrants, environmentalists and activists flee to the ‘wild space’ north of the border. Here they bind together as they hide away from the UKops who deploy witch drones to trap, imprison and deport them.

So far, so dystopian. However, while this album undoubtedly warps the dark currents of the present into the future in disturbing ways, this is a recording that delights the listener with the most vibrant musicianship. The soundscape is ever-changing, twisting and turning with dexterity in ways which bewitch and surprise. Analogue instrumentation, mostly drawn from Somerset’s collection of 1960s keyboards, effects and woodwind, is used throughout to provide distinctive and innovative instrumentation.

Three years in the making, When Will the Wolves Howl? is an album fermented to perfection. It is the brainchild of Michael Somerset, formerly of industrial funksters Clock DVA and Was (Not Was). Those Revivalists who were lucky enough to attend the FHR events at the British Museum in 2016 and the Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield in 2017, will most likely recall the striking performances delivered by Michael alongside The Consumptives and Mother Crow.

The album brings together a variety of other talented musicians on the Sheffield music scene, including I Monster, Simon Lewinski and several highly skilled drummers and bassists. Of particular note is the singer Sylwia Anna Drwal, whose vocal performance animates the whole recording with flair and sonic seduction. Given the subject of the album it is interesting to note that Sylvia is Polish and one might assume that the band’s name Mzylkypop is also of Eastern European derivation. However, this is not so as it is in fact a word which Somerset made up as a child to describe the ‘mischief maker’ in the Superman of DC Comics whose name was just a bunch of letters and symbols. As the strange uncertainties of 2018 begin to unfold, it is time that we allowed Mr Somerset and his fellow Mzylkypop mischief makers to entertain and protect us.

The howling has begun.

John Pilgrim