A Quietus Interview – Psychic Hi-Fi: Genesis Breyer P-Orridge’s Favourite Albums (January 23rd, 2014)

Neil Megson, now known as Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, stands tall as an almost unique individual who has dedicated h/er entire adult life to h/er art. Best known, perhaps, as the intimidating and provocative lead vocalist in seminal, genre-founding industrial giants Throbbing Gristle, who evolved out of performance art group COUM Transmissions, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge became a key figure in the UK underground, with TG paving the way for the likes of Whitehouse, Nine Inch Nails and Ministry.

However, as interviews with, and articles about, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge have consistently proved, there is more to Gen than h/er position as the first leading light of British sonic terrorism. Through h/er work with his post-TG band Psychic TV, and as an artist, s/he has consistently transformed the idea of how an artist can work and live through creativity, culminating in h/er collaborative work with h/er late wife Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge, in which their all-consuming love led them to transcend the barriers of gender and identity, until they existed as two halves of one romantic and artistic creation, The Pandrogyne. Since Lady Jaye’s tragic passing in 2007, Genesis has dedicated h/erself to pursuing their shared vision, via the latest, righteously psychedelic incarnation of Psychic TV, and by continuing to share h/er and Jaye’s work, most recently in a lusciously-presented book compiling photos, artworks and writings.

Head to First Third’s website to get hold of the book.

Hapshash_and_the_coloured_coat_1390411452_resize_460x400Hapshash And The Coloured Coat – Featuring The Human Host And The Heavy Metal Kids

Do you think it’s an unusual list?

Sort of, but I remember when we last spoke, I said that, contrary to what I’d imagined, you do come across as a bit of a hippie! Or at least deeply psychedelic.

Well, I grew up in the sixties. In 1962, I bought the first Rolling Stones single, and I still have it. I still have every single they released, in order, right up until Brian Jones was murdered. I saw Pink Floyd god knows how many times, and even did a couple of light shows for them…

We started listening to pirate radio and John Peel’s Perfumed Garden, and had a friend at school called Spidey who was very good at spotting interesting new music. John Peel was the first person to play The Velvet Underground, and Spidey said, “Listen to this, you’re gonna love this!”. That’s when we got the first violin.

We used to go to Birmingham, to this tiny little record shop that had nothing of interest except some Albert Ayler and free jazz. There was a record in there, and we recognised the artwork from Oz magazine so we knew it was by Hapshash and The Coloured Coat, because they used to do psychedelic posters and Oz. So we bought it just because of that. It was on Magnet Records. When we pulled out [the disc], we were shocked to see that it was on red vinyl, which we’d never seen before. We later discovered that all these people on the scene in London wanted to raise money for the legals fees of John “Hoppy” Hopkins, the first person who’d been busted for drugs and who co-founded the International Times. He was a real mover and shaker of the times. It’s like twenty to a hundred people high on acid jamming! We fell in love with it and still listen to it all the time. When we DJ, people come up to us and ask, “What was that with that great riff?” Guess what one of them ended up doing? Writing “We Are The Wombles”! That really got me in the head, that was worse than a bad acid trip!

Mike Batt! He also wrote the music for William Hague’s campaign…

Oh no! How could he go from Hapshash to that! That’s disappointing to say the least. Michael Batt, what a twat! I didn’t even like The Wombles…

Acid_mothers_temple_1390411485_resize_460x400Acid Mother’s Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. – Lord Of The Underground: Vishnu And The Magic Elixir

It was my manager, Ryan Martin, who also does Dais Records, who said, “You don’t know who Acid Mothers Temple are?!” I knew the name, but had never listened to them, so he immediately burned about 30 CDs! We loved it, and then he rang me to tell me they were playing live at The Knitting Factory the following week. He took me, and I was absolutely entranced. The guy at the front, with hair longer than mine that had gone grey, and he was swaying off the rhythm of the music, in perfect time to something in his head. It just blows you away. And then, what’s his name with the guitar, begins with an M…

Makoto Kawabata?

That’s it. He then freaks out, and does the opposite to this Zen thing. He’s everywhere, with his big afro. And you just think: “Fucking hell! That’s what music’s supposed to be like!” Psychedelic, free-form, and when you feel like going nuts, you go nuts. And then at the end the one who was so zen suddenly got his guitar and hung it from a pipe in the ceiling and started swinging it so it started to feedback. And then they just walked off. And we just thought: “After my own heart!” [laughs]. Afterwards, Makoto came up to us and said, “We’re such huge fans of yours, we can’t believe you came to see us. Here’s my guitar!”, and he signed and gave me his guitar neck, which he’d snapped off! He had a t-shirt of Che Guevara that he’d turned into himself, and he wrote lots of stuff in Japanese in a silver pen and gave it to me. We were so proud of that t-shirt. And then my fucking cleaner came in and laundered it! All the writing came off, all I had was the Che.

And everyone’s got a Che t-shirt! It’s interesting because a lot of the bands on your list, including AMT, are ones I discovered through Julian Cope.

Oh yes, of course. He loves all our new stuff too. He’s the same: it’s acid jamming. And it’s my roots. My roots aren’t rhythm & blues, it’s this. And a day comes when you think, “Fuck what the world thinks, I wanna hear what I like to hear, and there’s no-one around me doing it so let’s play our music”. And strangely enough, we’re more successful as a result of having just let go of all preconceptions and deciding to go back to this era. The audiences just go nuts. There you go. Be true to yourself.

Church_universal_and_triumphant__incChurch Universal And Triumphant, Inc. Featuring Elizabeth Clare Prophet – The Sounds Of American Doomsday Cults

This was the hardest one to track down and gather information about. I found a video of some chanting on YouTube.

Isn’t it weird? How do they do that with their voices [ululates manically]? There’s a really good documentary called Death Cults or something, and it shows you them digging this enormous bunker, and [Elizabeth Clare Prophet] says: “The world is going to end on this date with a nuclear war”. The bunker’s not finished on time, but they go down anyway, come back out about a week later and the world hasn’t changed [laughs]. She says the master’s order wasn’t right, and that the world will actually be in four or five months. So they all go back down, and it doesn’t happen. It turns out she has brain tumours, which probably explains the entire cult, and then she dies. But it’s still going! They interviewed them a few years later. The women all look like Elizabeth Clare, with their suburban haircuts and clothes, and big smiles! There’s one piece on the album where they’re cursing pop music, and it’s just stunning. Hilarious. We play them at the beginning when we DJ!

Hawkwind_1390411557_resize_460x400Hawkwind – Hawkwind

I just saw Nik Turner on Sunday night. He’s doing good. We have a strange history with him and Hawkwind. In 1971, in COUM Transmissions, we somehow managed to con this benefit concert for a commune that had been busted for drugs that Hawkwind were headlining, and got the second slot on the bill. None of us had ever played anything, except me on drums, and it was the era when everyone was trying to have the biggest drum kit, so we borrowed drum kits from some of the other bands involved. We got a dwarf on guitar who’d never even seen a guitar before. We had someone from Bridlington on a surfboard on a bucket of water as the vocalist, who just told jokes because he was actually a comedian. Cosey was dressed as an English schoolgirl with a starting pistol, firing in the air, and her own whips. Nik Turner and Lemmy and everyone remember Cosey!

Then in ‘92 or ‘93, Hawkwind came to tour the West Coast, and Nik called me up and asked if I wanted to play keyboards for Hawkwind. I said “of course!”. We got to San Francisco and Jello Biafra was there and he came running into my dressing room and said, “Gen! I love Hawkwind!” I thought he was kidding, but he was serious and said it was his dream to sing ‘Silver Machine’ with Hawkwind. So we got him to join in on backing vocals on ‘Silver Machine’. He was thrilled.

HH.P. Lovecraft – H.P. Lovecraft

Wonderful! Brilliant! It’s very different to everybody else, and it’s all men singing who sound like women. It sounds like Jefferson Airplane at times, and you think, “Who’s that woman?” and then you realise it’s a man. And now that singer does TV commercials and plays accordion in coffee shops.

They were quite big. In England, quite a lot of people bought their records. We DJ-ed a lot with our original one, and somebody stole it from a club. We’ll find one again! H.P. Lovecraft were really underrated in terms of the sixties bands from the West Coast.

I suppose they were quite different.

They were! They were all classically-trained, and refreshing because of that. They weren’t just following everyone else.

The_incredible_string_band_1390411608_resize_460x400The Incredible String Band – The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter

I’ve got everything they ever did, and it’s hard to pick one, really. We like ‘A Very Cellular Song’ – who else could write a song about an amoeba and make it sound great? That was Jaye’s favourite Incredible String Band song, so that’s why we picked that album. You can see the connections growing here, can’t you?

DrDr. Strangely Strange – Kip Of The Serenes

We came across the song ‘Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal’ on a psychedelic compilation and fell in love with it. I just thought, “Who could write a chorus of, ‘Strangely strange but oddly normal’, and make it a really catchy song?” The whole thing was sort of irrationally brilliant, and later we found out that one of them went off to Japan and tried to become a Zen priest. Of course, when we considered the history of literature in Ireland, with James Joyce and everyone, it started to all gel. And then we found out Joe Boyd was involved. They did the first one in one afternoon, because he didn’t think it would sell. We’re not sure which, who and when, but there was some exchange of personnel with the Incredible String Band at certain times.

DrDr. Strangely Strange – Heavy Petting And Other Stories

The second album has the guitarist from Phil Lynott’s wonderful band.

Thin Lizzy? Really?

Yes! He does the guitar on my favourite track on there. It’s very different to the first, it’s a little bit more rocky. There’s a drum kit in there, but they also sing some church hymns. That whole thing that the ISB and Dr. Strangely Strange did, with sudden shifts. You’d think you’d know where [a song was] going and then it would stop dead and something completely different would happen. We always loved surprises and novelty and chaos happening that reprograms the brain to stop assuming things.

Joe_byrd_and_the_field_hippies_1390411691_resize_460x400Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies – The American Metaphysical Circus

This has a bit of an H.P. Lovecraft feel to it. We were stuck, because there were two albums, the other one being by his band, The United States of America. That one’s much more weird, and we like it a lot, but this one we always found harder to listen to, so for that reason we chose it. Because if it’s still hard to listen to, there must be something in it that’s playing with my expectations, whereas The United States of America is fairly funky. So, it was a struggle to choose one, but in the end we picked that one for the singing.

There are more people on it…

Yeah. It was done as a project for his college!

The_13th_floor_elevators_1390411726_resize_460x400The 13th Floor Elevators – The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators

Well, I had to have this on it! We’d like to have it on vinyl. Did you watch the documentary about Roky Erickson’s life? There’s this moment when you first come across him in the documentary. He’s sitting in this room that’s filled with junk. He has about ten or more television sets. Some are black and white, some are colour, some have no picture, just zigzags, but they’re all on full. And he’s got radios on full. And he’s sitting in the armchair and says, “This is the only way I can go to sleep! It drowns out the noises in my head.” And you’re thinking those are the noises in your head! [laughs] But he’s playing again! He’s back, it’s incredible.

I know. It’s hard to believe, because I’ve read interviews with him from years ago where he’s barely coherent. But on that album, vocally he sounds like Mick Jagger, but with screeching!

“Aaaaaahhh!!” And then there’s that jug sound, which is just incredible! I don’t know how they did that!

Blossom_toes_1390411755_resize_460x400Blossom Toes – The Psychedelic Sound Of Blossom Toes, Vol. 1

From what I’ve read, this is a bootleg…

You’d have to ask Giorgio Gomelsky. It’s probably a bootleg by Giorgio Gomelsky. Do you know the story about him? He was the guy who first managed the Stones and put them on at the Station Hotel. He was right that he thought the only way to get the Stones publicity, as the house band, was to get the Beatles down to hear them, and they loved the Stones. And then he got Andrew Loog Oldham down to see them, and Brian Jones secretly did a commercial deal with Andrew, because they’d never written anything down with Giorgio, he just trusted them to stay with him. He then went and got The Yardbirds.

Good ear!

A very good ear! Which he still has to this day, because – he lives in New York – he has hundreds of thousands of amazing tapes. But they left him, and he found the Blossom Toes, whom he thought would be the next of his successes, but they weren’t because they were so fucking quirky. There’s one song which goes, [sings] “You should have come home you little frozen dog/ You stupid little frozen dog”, and that’s the chorus. They were trying to do a sort of Sgt. Pepper’s based on Giorgio’s Eastern European understanding, and so it’s just really odd. Very English, and very quirky, and fun, with lots of funny effects and brass bands – the whole thing that everyone was trying to do. And it didn’t sell at all. So he decided, after The Yardbirds became Led Zeppelin, that Blossom Toes should be like Led Zeppelin. So he tried to do a Led Zeppelin album, which is absolutely terrible! Sorry Giorgio, we’re friends, but it’s terrible. So that’s them, the one thing they did, in my opinion, that is worthy of discovery because it’s odd. He should have just let them do their thing.

The_zombies_1390411840_resize_460x400The Zombies – Odessey And Oracle

That was the first record that Jaye ever played to me when we met. It was surprise. This is a girl who ran away from home at age 14 to Alphabet City in the eighties, lived in a squat there, was into the hardcore scene so went out with one of the biggest hardcore guys in a band so no-one would beat her up or touch her, and yet she loved sixties psychedelic music. The Electric Prunes, The Zombies… Eventually The Zombies reformed to do one gig in New York, in this little club, so I got tickets, and they were spot-on. They did Odessey And Oracle, and afterwards I introduced her to The Zombies and they signed her album. It’s an excellent album. The harmonies and Colin Blunstone’s voice are stunning. That voice with the hissing in it. We had this friend, who did a lot of co-production on early Psychic TV, and he said my voice took to tape really well because it had this hiss in it. Apparently, it gave more resonance, so I accidentally have the same sort of resonances as Blunstone. Sadly, not the same voice or skill!

Syd_barrett_1390411875_resize_460x400Syd Barrett – The Madcap Laughs

I had to. I mean, how do you pick one? Syd Barrett, brilliant. One thing he did which just knocked me out, at a very early gig – and we thought we’d imagined it because we were stoned but we read about it in a magazine – in those days a lot of the bands would do an hour set, and then maybe the drummer would do a half-hour drum solo while the others went off to do drugs, or they’d all go off and we’d all be sitting around for half an hour because we’d do drugs. And then they’d come back. So, anyway, they went off, and we thought, “Oh no, drum solo, I guess it’s time to do drugs”. And they changed into workman’s outfits and old macs and one by one they all came back. One of them brought some wood, another one had a toolbox, another one had a flask and tea-cups, and the floor of the stage was miked. They made themselves things to sit on, and it was all done rhythmically, creating this piece of musique concrète. They made a table and sets of chairs, then sat down, turned on a transistor radio and drank cups of tea! Then they left and came back on as Pink Floyd! I was thinking, “Did I really just see that?”, and for years thought we’d imagined it. And we didn’t, it really happened.

Kind of sums up Syd Barrett in one anecdote!

[laughs] People used to say his solo stuff was all crap, that he couldn’t do it anymore, but as time has gone by, I think anyone with any brains has realised just what a genius he was. My two children grew up with his music and would say that ‘Baby Lemonade’ was their favourite song of his. So, every birthday we’d have to play ‘Baby Lemonade’. Pretty good taste, no?

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Zones Without People: Reflections on an English countryside through music and film

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As a proud atheist, even anti-theist in the Christopher Hitchens mould, I have never had the slightest inclination for religion. But, unexpectedly, as I stand on a rocky outcrop at the top of wild Bellever Tor in Devon one August morning, staring out at 360º of wind-swept landscape where human intrusion is limited to maybe one or two distant houses and about four other hikers (despite its remarkable view, Bellever seems to be completely unheralded amongst Dartmoor’s famed tors), I am stunned at how a sense of the spiritual is seeping into me. At the very least, I can immediately understand why these lonely mounts had such a dramatic impact on the imaginations of the ancient peoples who lived here in the days before Christianity wormed its way into the minds and territories of the UK.

I was in the South-West as someone who has little connection to this country. Having grown up across the channel, I know little about my homeland outside of my home city of London, which itself feels like a different world as I stand on Bellever. It’s never really been an issue, because I feel revulsion at the notion of patriotism. I put club before country in football. I fail to be roused by the debates over the Falklands, Gibraltar or how many kids speak English in London schools. I think describing the athletes of “Team GB” as “heroes” is beyond farcical. But, despite all that, the land has a tug for the rootless. I know there are equally or more beautiful vistas in France, Germany, Spain or the USA, but, as I’ve grown older, a fascination with Britain’s landscapes and ancient history has taken hold of my psyche. Standing stones, old rites, traditional culture: all these remain at the forefront of my mind, like a memory of something I didn’t know I’d experienced. Going to Dartmoor and Cornwall, Scotland and (in the future) the Peak District have become missions more than holidays, a way of reconnecting with a past I probably never had. It’s as esoteric and oneiric as it is historical.

Perhaps inevitably for a music journalist and former cinema student, music and films did not take long to swim into focus as I stood on that lonely hilltop. They come like flashes, sudden flickers of footage and echoes of songs. Bellever was possibly the most remote and empty space my brother and I explored, trekking through a tall forest and across soggy grassland before climbing the hill’s 400 metres of grey-green grass and imposing rocks. Immediately, I could hear the plaintive strains of Richard Skelton’s guitar drones, which he has recorded, in a number of guises (all magnificent) in the midst of sparse environments just like Dartmoor, in Ireland and the north of England. His music is imbued with the loneliness of the land, its emptiness refracted through austere drones pregnant with a sense of innate melancholia. It’s the music of wind and grass, viewed through the tragedy of human existence, and that makes the feelings it throws up, notably on the majestic Landings album from 2009, completely timeless. I’m not sure if there’s anything uniquely British or Irish about Skelton’s mournful compositions, but they surged into my perception the moment I gazed out from Bellever’s summit. Never has a landscape touched me so effortlessly and intrinsically.

A similarly visceral sonic experience hit me as I walked the four miles of coastal path along Cornwall’s northern cliffs, between the sadly tourist-ridden Tintagel (rumoured to be the site of a now-ruined Arthurian castle) and quaint Boscastle. Almost immediately, I was compelled to reach for my iPhone and play Sandy Denny’s gorgeous ‘North Star Grassman & The Ravens’, the title tracks from her post-Fairport Convention debut album, itself an underrated masterpiece of British electric folk. Many of Denny’s songs refer to water and the sea, as noted by Rob Young in Electric Eden, serving as menacing presences viewed from atop lonely cliffs or deserted beaches. Her singular voice resonated as I myself gazed out over the rolling seas, whisked back by her words to an era when reliance on the sea brought both profit and potential death. Trees’ rendition of ‘Polly on the Shore’ and Steeleye Span’s take on ‘Fisherman’s Wife’, both tales of woe reaped by the uncaring ocean, also seemed to demand a listen, and I was able to completely forget the presence of fellow hikers and disappear into a phantom past in which the sea was a terrifying constant in the lives of so many people.

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Denny is a key figure in the history of English music of the last century. Whilst most British bands of the late sixties and early seventies dreamt of the US, adopting American accents or electrifying the blues, Fairport Convention and a handful of other bands turned their gaze inwards and into the past, seizing on music sometimes centuries old (and initially revived by Cecil Sharp and brought to the fore by Ewan MacColl, AL Lloyd, Peggy Seeger, Davy Graham and Shirley Collins) and reinventing it through rock music, much in the way The Band and The Byrds were doing with traditional American music across the pond. Often the songs are so old that they can’t fail to conjure up a liminal impression of the country’s past and landscapes, one that activates the imagination, in a manner similar to oddball films such as The Wicker Man, A Field In England, and The Blood on Satan’s Claw; or seminal mysterious television programmes like The Owl Service and Penda’s Fen. Myth and history are blurred, pre-Christian faith resurrected in often fictional terms, and post-industrial, heavily urbanised Britain becomes a canvas on which to project dreams of a primeval past. As I trekked to the top of Hound Tor, back in Devon, or wandered amongst standing stones in remote stretches of Cornwall and Dartmoor, I consistently found myself humming (and bothering my brother by playing on my iPhone) ‘Willie O’The Winsbury’ and ‘Geordie’, heart-rending traditional ballads of which I have gripping versions by Anne Briggs and Trees, or Briggs’ captivating a capella version of the bewitching ‘Reynardine’. The latter in particular conjures up death and love unfolding in the wilds of Britain’s most hostile lands. The same with the original compositions of Richard and Linda Thompson from their bleak, unparalleled 1974 masterpiece I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight and Forest’s mostly acoustic, cob-webbed Full Circle. Meanwhile, every tor brought to mind Comus’ ‘The Herald’, for they use to be used as a means of communicating by the ancients through fire signals.

On Cornwall’s Bodmin Moor, standing stones The Hurlers stand like angry statues in the shadow of the Cheesewring tor, staring malevolently out over the valleys below like mean sentinels. Their origin is millennia old, and acutely unfathomable, acting one assumes as religious symbols of some sort. Below, I spot seven abandoned 19th-century copper mills, now nothing more than empty husks of decaying stones, roofs and walls collapsed and chimneys long since unused. I assume that the precious metal was bled out of the ground, but it’s hard not to imagine that this forbidding land might have simply proved indomitable, forcing our industrial ancestors to give up and let nature take over. The juxtaposition of human technology, ancient rites and beautifully barren territory has a resonance in more recent musical acts like Hacker Farm, IX Tab, The Haxan Cloak, Demdike Stare or the Ghost Box stable. Those artists may use modern technology such as laptops and synths, but share a fascination with the occult, haunted and rugged terrain of old England. Witch legends, films like The Wicker Man, folklore and mythology are blended into genres like dubstep or noise, mutating them into ectoplasmic visions of our past and present, where time and space become dreamlike visions of reality. In this respect, these acts aren’t a million miles away from the nightmare pagan folk of Comus, whose First Utterance channelled malevolent gods via all acoustic songs of darkness and fear. All of this permeated into my mind in Dartmoor and Cornwall, be it when imagining arcane rituals among standing stones and in the shadow of ancient stone tombs, or grasping at a vision of a sparsely-populated England whilst taking in the view from atop Bellever, Hound Tor or Yes Tor.

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It is the latter vision that I take most from this brief adventure into England’s hidden reverse. Even surrounded by tourists on Hound Tor, it was easy to see this part of the country as a zone without people, a place where self-aggrandising humankind will always come second to nature’s majesty. A similar feeling is aroused in places like the wild Scottish Highlands or when wandering around Avebury’s awe-inspiring stone circle. This was a place where Mother Nature was worshipped under open skies, as opposed to suppressed under the roofs of cathedrals and churches, and that vibe never abates, even with the knowledge that Exeter or Plymouth are never far away. I’m reminded of the recent film Silence, by Pat Collins, in which a sound recordist goes in search of places to record sounds in which humans can’t be heard. Anyone thinking of doing something similar would do well to head to the South-West. Houses are few and far between in the depths of Dartmoor or Bodmin Moor, and there are constant reminders of a time when humanity worshipped the divine female as nature’s vessel, instead of the oppressive male. Much could be learned from trawling through England’s isolated countryside. There is no better source for being reminded of our arguably more civilised past than Julian Cope, who has written at length about the subject both online and in print.

I’m a London boy at heart, but these pilgrimages into Britain’s hinterland have (and I hope will continue to have) exerted a lasting impression on my soul. The have reinvigorated my passion for British folk, both acoustic and in its sixties electric form. I do love what Hacker Farm et al. are doing, but can only urge readers to look further back and join Rob Young in exploring those bands and artists who revived folk from centuries of obscurity. Albums like Fairport’s Liege & Lief, Trees’ On The Shore, Comus’ First Utterance, Steeleye Span’s Hark! The Village Wait, Richard and Linda Thompson’s I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight, Forest’s Full Circle, Bert Jansch’s Jack Orion, Sandy Denny’s North Star Grassman and the Ravens and Anne Briggs’ self-titled debut are traversed with beauty, mystery and unforgettable songs both old and new, and connect with an inchoate British collective consciousness which never ceases to evolve in this modern society but still contains an attachment to the elusive past. We’ve seen it in films like Kill List and A Field In England, and percolating into more and more musical acts. It’s as heady as the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge. As potent as a Britten symphony. It’s all around us, in the earth, trees, water and air. In his phenomenal guide to Neolithic buildings on these isles, Julian Cope introduces his first essay with a quote from historian W.G. Hoskins: “[…] It is not documents that are the historian’s guide… The English landscape itself, to those who know how to read it right, is the richest historical record we possess.” I could not put it better myself. I think of Cope’s friend Urthona, a one-man drone/metal guitarist from Devizes who takes direct inspiration from Dartmoor’s savage beauty, to the point that his magnificent, time-stretching debut, “I Refute It Thus”, has on its cover an epic picture of the summit of Hound Tor, with the man himself clutching an electric guitar, dwarfed by the mighty rocks around him. He may use an instrument reliant on modern technology, but his lengthy soundscapes sound as old as the land itself on which he stands on that cover. I may be a cynical, atheist city boy, but the land of my enigmatic country touches me as potently as Urthona’s clamorous clatter or Denny’s exquisite voice. And I do not doubt that it always will.

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1495904_10151814425042130_223603472_o1512268_10151814425492130_1734489441_o– Joseph Burnett, January 2014