Water — memory — home: guest post by Dominick Tyler
In the closing moments of Tarkovsky’s 1972 film ’Solaris’ we discover that the film’s protagonist, Kris, has decided not to return to earth from his mission to a distant space-station. He instead descends to the titular planet, where an ocean of consciousness has created an island from his memories. This island is a simulacrum of the place we meet Kris at the beginning of the film: a dacha beside a lake, where all is familiar and peaceful. But Solaris’ recreation is imperfect and incomplete. It’s raining inside the house, or perhaps it’s crying, warm water is pattering onto the books and onto Kris’ father who moves about impassive, oblivious and lost in thought. When the camera pulls back in a series of clumsy cuts we see the house and it’s surroundings floating small and alone in a vast churning sea. …
Andrew here — I just wanted to say a few words about making the video for The Field with Roger Hyams. I’ve worked with him a few times before as composer on his short films — Elsewhere, starring Claire Skinner and Jonathan Cullen, and Sunday and Grand Union, both featuring Bill Nighy:
So the tables were slightly turned as Roger put his brain to reimagining The Field visually. It soon became apparent that if you write a song about people getting up in the freezing early hours and heading for the hills, you can’t be surprised to be required to get up in the dark in the dead of winter and head into a Brighton car park carrying a spade, and then to the Downs to dig up a film canister. …
People. Our new radio show is now on the Totally Radio site. We’ve gone kosmische, exploring not just — or not at all — krautrock, but the whole German electronic music diaspora, from Stockhausen and Can to Fujiya & Miyagi and Beak>. Joy Division, Neu!, Stereolab and David Bowie pop in too.
For our August show, we’re joined by Murdo Eason of The Fife Psychogeographical Collective to talk apocalyptic landscapes, arterial connectivity and secular pilgrimage. Plus music from Micachu and the Shapes, Wire, Black Box Recorder, John Cage, Aphex Twin, Harry Partch and Vashti Bunyan — and an early airing for our own new single Radar. The poet Charles Olson pops up a couple of times too.
Anyone who is reasonably familiar with the wanderings and ramblings of The Fife Psychogeographical Collective will possibly have picked up that, above pretty much everything else, we are music obsessives. Our good twitter friend @frozenreeds (who has released the fabulous recording Morton Feldman — Crippled Symmetry: at June in Buffalo) recently tweeted a quote from Jean Rhys:
The thing is to have a programme, not to leave anything to chance — no gaps. No trailing around aimlessly with cheap gramophone records.
Of course, we were not alone in ignoring the first part of this quote completely to reverse the sentiment and applaud the idyllic sounding scenario of “trailing around aimlessly with cheap gramophone records”. …
Songs From Everyone Was A Bird #1
On our radio show Cut Grass, we’ve so far played two songs from the new album, in reverse order to the album tracklist: Red Kite and The Field. I just thought I’d share a few things about the inspiration for the songs, how I wrote them, and how they were recorded.
Red Kite is in a sense the title track of the album, because the sample of Siegfried Sassoon reading his poem Everyone Sang, contains the line “everyone was a bird, the song was wordless”. His poem deals with a moment when fighting pauses in the World War One trenches, and through the men’s singing there is a sense of flight. As the last song on the album, I hope Red Kite also gives a sense of lift. The song draws together themes from the previous songs: the dissonance of the nuclear power station at Trawsfynydd, the life of birds, and walking / climbing to get some perspective on things. …
Open your pamphlet to lesson one: our new Totally Radio show is now live. There’s a loosely suburban theme, with music from Swindon, Hove, Canterbury and, well, Portishead among locations. Plus poetry from our old friend Wallace Stevens; useful advice from the BBC’s Hold Down A Chord: Folk Guitar For Beginners; and our friend and collaborator Seamus Fogarty is THE SELECTOR. https://totallyradio.com/shows/cut-grass/episodes/cut-grass-01-july-2015
A Factory Records theme seems to have emerged on this month’s show, although there’s also music from friends and collaborators such as Fink, Bibio, Seamus Fogarty and (the linking figure, as both a collaborator and a Factory associate) John Metcalfe. Also featuring recollections of our Polish gig alongside the Kronos Quartet, and thoughts on the new Grasscut album. Plus music we simply like, including the track that nearly sent Andrew driving off the side of a Welsh mountain, by French singer-songwriter Yves Simon, and a piece by The National’s sister band, Clogs. Spoken word cameos, meanwhile, come from Wallace Stevens, Siegfried Sassoon and two Eastenders featured on a recent Bishopstage Institute oral history.
Everyone Was A Bird
It’s been a long time coming, but the new album is finally out, and needless to say, we are very proud of it. I just wanted to say a few things about how it came to be, and the people we were lucky enough to collaborate with while making it.
For our Unearth shows in 2012, Marcus and I put together a 5-piece band: we had already been playing a bit with Aram Zarikian on drums, and recruited the amazing Geese — Emma Smith on violin, and Vince Sipprell on viola. It soon became apparent these people could do anything in addition to their first instruments—vocals, glockenspiel, a bit of guitar, mix cocktails, etc. And it also became apparent that whatever we did next should definitely involve them. …