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Modern Nature

Rydalwater

    ‘Rydalwater’, a 10-minute improvised guitar composition by Jack Cooper (Modern Nature), will be released over two sides of a 7″ single, out 10 March,

    Originally commissioned as an improvised piece for the Caught by the River programme for Aerial Festival back in September, Modern Nature’s ‘Rydalwater’ is now to become the twelfth release on Caught by the River's ‘Rivertones' label (with artwork by Tara Okon). 

    Will Burns & Hannah Peel

    Chalk Hill Blue - Deluxe Edition

      ‘Chalk Hill Blue’ is the first album by poet Will Burns and musician and composer Hannah Peel: a record of electronic ruralism channelling lives threaded through the chalk landscapes of Southern England.

      Existing and reacting off each word and sounds in the studio together; with the words of poet Will Burns, the analogue electronic compositions of Hannah Peel and the overarching eye of producer Erland Cooper, all tracks were produced and recorded in their entirety within 12 hours.

      The spoken words and sound worlds often seem to emerge from subliminal processes of call and answer; a fertile blurring of collective inspiration and intention circling this abstracted chalk landscape.

      This deluxe edition of ‘Chalk Hill Blue’ also includes a 7” single featuring a pair of new pieces from Hannah Peel and Will Burns, combining the same evocative, powerful sonic palette and plainspoken poetry as their acclaimed album.

      A commission to create a new collaborative work for the BBC resulted in ‘Moth Book’, an elegiac mediation on loss which flowers into a driving, hypnotic synth workout, perfectly offset by the haunting flipside track, ‘Wendover, Bucks’.

      TRACK LISTING

      ‘Chalk Hill Blue’ LP
      Out Of Doors
      The Night Life
      Afterwards
      Spring Dawn On Mad Mile
      Change
      Chalk Hill Blue
      May 9th
      Swallowing
      Ridgeway
      Summer Blues
      February

      ‘Pale Tussock’ 7”
      Moth Book
      Wendover, Bucks

      Will Burns & Hannah Peel

      Chalk Hill Blue

        Along the hills that cradle this village, that throw their shadow on us, that hold themselves above the houses (on a day like today half-wreathed in fog) there is a path. Some people say it is the oldest path there is, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it is an old path. Worn out of the scarp in places, in others cut deliberately to mark the way. The way where, though? One answer is that once, it was the way across the country from East to West, from farm to market. The way of the drover. Another is that now, it is the way across a line of hills that run through what people call the ‘home’ counties. As if there are counties that are not home.

        Sometimes these places that rub up against the hills and its path are strangely dull. The towns and villages can look alike, they have been predated on by the high street chains and the supermarkets and they have suffered the decay of pubs and the reluctance of themselves to demand more from the changes that come with time, which is, after all, inevitable and which should, in the end, be progressive. But if we look beyond the intensive farms, the lookalike market towns, the money, the golf courses and the expensive four-wheel drive cars, there is, still, a real place to see. A place with its own tang, as a wise man I know once described it. There are fishermen and builders and window cleaners who get round their drink-driving bans by going to work on a horse and cart.

        There are Italian farmers whose legendary boys run the football club, there are old gypsy families that own garden centres, feuding tree surgeons, ex-hedonist-local-playboys who you wouldn’t believe did what they did when they owned a pub just outside of the village where they thought they could get away with anything (and for a while did), tiny cricket clubs where the treasurer ran off with the money and last anyone heard was running a burger van in Northamptonshire. There are still a few good pubs too, where people rub along like they do. More decently than it sometimes feels we’re capable of anymore. All that as well as affairs and heartbreak, death, illness, love. Of course, love.

        And beyond the people, there is that other life. Not as much as there should be, no, we must say that. Not enough butterflies, not enough lizards or water voles or fish, certainly not enough birds. But what there is is. And if you take that path out of the village, and up into the hills it is there. It’s broken in many ways, and it’s changed and it’s changing. And we’re causing the changes. But what’s sad about the degradation of our times is that we can still see the potential nature of real places when we come up against them. These old paths, these old stories, these old buildings. We don’t need them for nostalgia, or for some artificial sentimental reverie, we need them to function as engines for our own epochal story-making. That’s what the blandness of a global market economy will put a stop to. The real tang of each person, as well as each place. All deserving of their stories. Here’s some fragments of some I heard along the path.

        Will Burns, 2018

        Will Burns is Caught by the River poet-in-residence, and Hannah Peel is a frequent fixture of Caught by the River festival stages – both with the ‘cosmic colliery’ electronica of her solo work, and with orchestral place-rock band The Magnetic North (of which Chalk Hill Blue producer Erland Cooper is also a member.)

        As part of their collaboration, Burns, Peel and Cooper walked the landscapes around Burns’s Wendover house together: their chalk-heeled boots tracing shared routes through the rhythms and repetitions of the place. What emerges in Chalk Hill Blue is a site-specific-non-specific record of creative place portraiture; an album that traces elements of a living landscape, and reworks them into something that is as sensitive and finely-observed as it is visionary.

        TRACK LISTING

        1 Out Of Doors
        2 The Night Life
        3 Afterwards
        4 Spring Dawn On Mad Mile
        5 Change
        6 Chalk Hill Blue
        7 May 9th
        8 Swallowing
        9 Ridgeway
        10 Summer Blues
        11 February

        Darren Hayman

        Thankful Villages Vol. 1

          English songwriter and ex-Hefner frontman Darren Hayman releases his enthralling and ambitious new album ‘Thankful Villages Vol. 1’ via Rivertones.

          A thankful village is a village in Britain where every soldier returned alive from World War I. Darren Hayman visited each of the 54 thankful villages and, focussing on village life, made a piece of music and a short film for each one. Some take the form of instrumentals inspired by the location, some are interviews with village residents set to music and others are new songs with lyrics or found local traditional songs.

          ‘Thankful Villages Vol. 1’ is the first (of three) volumes of the project and contains the first 18 villages that Darren visited during 2014/15. The pieces do not necessarily refer to the Great War, rather they portray the village and its communities at many points in history.

          TRACK LISTING

          Knowlton
          Culpho
          St Michael, South Elmham
          Puttenham
          Stoke Hammond
          Little Sodbury
          Rodney Stoke
          Holywell Lake
          Aisholt
          Stocklinch
          Strethall
          Welbury
          Scruton
          Chelwood
          Langton Herring
          Herodsfoot
          Butterton
          Bradbourne

          ‘One’ by Be is the first album released by Caught By The River’s record label Rivertones.

          This four-track album imagines the sound of British summertime as heard by one of the most important members of the animal kingdom - the bee. A hypnotic picture of the life, work and living environment of the bee, ‘One’ is a truly transcendental record - think Spacemen 3 recording a series of 21st Century outdoor ragas for Touch Records and you’re somewhere in the right direction.

          ‘One’ is the soundtrack to artist Wolfgang Butress multiple award-winning UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo, an installation that highlighted the plight of the honeybee, focusing on the importance of pollination. The music on the record is a constantly changing and evolving symphony - the sound of a dialogue between bee and human.

          The album was recorded by musicians Kev Bales and Tony Foster, a duo known for working with Spiritualized, Julian Cope, Dave Gahan and Mark Lanegan (among many others). Other musicians featured on the record include Jason Pierce, Youth, cellist Deidre Bencsik, vocalist Camille Buttress and Amiina (the string section regularly used by Sigur Ros).

          The recording sessions saw musicians improvising in the key of D along to a live audio feed of beehive sounds. Piano, Mellotron and lap steel were overdubbed later. The result is a unique piece of truly meditative music.

          TRACK LISTING

          The Journey
          Into
          The Hive
          Uplift


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