On the Wire:
David and I from Folklore Tapes on BBC Radio Lancs with Steve Barker tonight (17th Nov) from 10pm http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p001d75v
A few things to round up. David Chatton Barker and I put out the ‘Pendle, 1612’ tape through Lancashire Folklore Tapes at the start of the month, a real joy of a project to take on and see to completion. All pre-sale copies sold pretty quickly, thought there might be the odd straggler at Finders Keepers, Boomkat, Norman’s Records, Rough Trade or Mount Analog. There will also be a copy in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at Cecil Sharp House in London, and hopefully a couple more archives in time.
We played a grand show at Islington Assembly Hall in London this week with Meursault and Withered Hand - loud, expansive and some enjoyable bits of improv. Thanks to all involved.
No more shows planned for now, whilst we get to work with some new recordings. I did a collaboration project with Neil Pennycook, Jill O’Sullivan, Reuben Taylor, Pete Harvey and Rory Sutherland recently, the fruits of which should ripen soon enough. There’s also a new soundtrack piece in the works, and the prospect of taking last year’s Screen Bandita project with Ali Roberts, Cath & Phil Tyler and Wounded Knee out onto the road next summer.
And LP number two is written and beginning to be tentatively rehearsed. Something warmer this time.
Cheers for now.
For better or worse, there’s a new outlet for my occasional witterings on twitter.
Last few remaining copies of the ‘Pendle, 1612’ boxset available here. They look pretty great.
Session on Simple Folk Radio
Broadcast on Sunday 14 Oct at 5pm.
Interview with The Liminal
I had a chat with The Liminal about Shetland, field recording, whimsy, play-work, sea-trout fishing and a host of other things. Here’s what they said:
Rob St John feels like an avatar of an older tradition. The ‘folk’ tag has become somewhat hollowed out, a dead signifier; but vestiges of the tradition remain, and remain oddly powerful in their ability to both evoke the particulars of place and lever open channels to the past. St John, across a variety of projects – musical and otherwise – has revealed a keen eye for specificity and an alchemical descriptive capability; he also appears to be adept in listening to the clamour and babble erupting from that open channel and focusing it into some semblance of a coherent narrative. Weald, which came out late last year on Song, by Toad, was a record of what you might call, in a non pejorative sense, ‘hollowed-out’ folk music – the tracks were as much resonating caverns as actual songs. But there was also a smeary, vague quality to it: on a molecular level syllables colaseced, meanings blurred; on a broader sonic level, instruments followed this pattern and cross-fertilised. The result was an enigmatic thing, a gothic puzzle to which the ear slowly attuned. St John has been busy since, curating here and travelling there. We talked about Weald and the various projects St John is involved with – now and in the coming months.
Weald poster by Chris Bryant
Pendle, 1612 | Lancashire Folklore Tapes
First batch sold out within an hour. A new batch just made available.
Curated by Rob St John and David Chatton Barker, and limited to 200 copies, the tapes are packaged in a screen printed heritage library buckram box which houses information and ephemera related to the trials: a map, photographs, an essay by the curators, and a dried nettle in glassvine envelope as well as a download code.
‘Pendle, 1612’ is the first release through the new Lancashire Folk Tapes imprint, following the continuing Devon Folklore series of limited edition tape releases exploring British folklore.
This release is a commemoration and remembrance to the Pendle Witch trials - a reminder of the rich, dark and entangled histories that are increasingly paved over and forgotten by contemporary celebrations.
1. Drcarlsonalbion And The Hackney Lass - Thee Betrothal of Alizon Device.
2. Dean McPhee - Rule of Threes.
3. Tom Western - Alice Nutter.
4. David A Jaycock - Black Malkin Tower.
5. Rob St.John & The Coven Choir – The Mandrake.
1. Bridget Hayden - Music In the Rocks.
2. Magpahi - The Power And The Glory.
3. Mary Arches - Hex Snoxums.
4. N.Racker - A New Maleficium.
5. Joe Duddell - Pendle Elegy.
The first 40 copies of ‘Pendle, 1612’ are available to pre-order, with ltd edition screenprinted bag here: http://folkloretapes.bandcamp.com/album/pendle-1612
‘An emerging pattern…’ for Caught by the River on pottering around the Highlands and Islands, battling the wind, retrieving flies to the beat of new songs, failing to catch trout.