A Journal Of The Dark Arts

Various Artists – Down To The Silver Sea

down+to+the+silver+seaHaunted Holiday

The British seem to have many different associations with the Summer Break. Could mean vacation with yr Aunt and Uncle in Waverley, or the dreaded trip to the seashore. Ian Hodgson, the mastermind behind Moon Wiring Club, as well as Gecophonic label head, has given us a sonic scrapbook to remember Summer 2013.

He remains forever eloquent, on the printed page:

GASP!01LP almost certainly has the potential to accompany all of your extensive Summertime activities. Whether flower-pressing in the garden, hallucinating in the summerhouse, fainting inside stifling sites of historical interest, pirouetting along the promenade, or even sea-cruise thalassophobia complications, barely a moment will pass that isn’t made all the sweeter by obsessively listening to Down to the Silver Sea.

Naturally, Gecophonic favourites, the Moon Wiring Club, feature on this Summer Special LP, providing enchanting melodies and foot-flapping rhythms that ensure a familiarity of confusion to sooth the fervid attentions of their kindly listeners. Joining them on Down to the Silver Sea are a magical gaggle of talented musicians, each flourishing a trio of delightful compositions that thematically compliment each other in a varied seasonal bouquet of charming sound!


5082Hodgson coaxed this narrative by sending the performers an odd assemblage of photographs of Britain in the summertime, with many and varied results. You’ve got foggy concrète scultpures, mannequin Trap, Sci – Fi adventure theme, strung together with faultless sequencing and field recordings. It ends up being like a guided Audio tour, through no specific location at no set time. A phantom stroll through a dream of England.

dttssbookmark01(2)Everything Ian Hodgson, or Moon Wiring Club, lays a finger has the sulphur reek of the Uncanny about it. Perhaps it’s because of the sinister Art Deco cover pieces, or the fictitious hamlet of Clinksell where most of MWC’s music takes place, it bears a close resemblance to reality, but is not quite it. It deals with the mind, reflections, screens. The image and idea of something.

It is perhaps because of this reflective quality, the fact of being outside, that makes Moon Wiring Club and the Gecophonic output more open to the outside world, able to incorporate modern styles. The last couple of Moon Wiring Club records have had an increasing amount of Trap-style hip hop beats abounding, rigid machine drums, painstakingly sourced from an old PlayStation, that gives his music such a distinctive undead lurch. It is an interesting combination, club beats with what sound like Victorian children’s records, all smeared with liberal amounts of echo and Oramics, of course. It is  an interesting contradiction to the direction of Ghost Box records, friends and allies (whose Jon Brooks makes an appearance here), who seem like they are trying to make authentic music from the ’60s or ’70s, or whatever era they happen to be referencing. This was causing many to claim that Hauntology, which really only means referential Art, was dead and decaying. One can only remake The Tomorrow People theme song so many times.

Down To The Silver Sea is here to tell you that just ain’t so, and in fact may be entering a new fruitful period. Several hauntological heavyweights make an appearance here, the aforemention Jon Brooks and Ian Hodgson’s Moon Wiring Club, as well as 3 new tracks from Pye Corner Audio‘s Head Technician, appearing under the Howling Moss banner, as well as Exotic Pylon‘s Time Attendant and steampunk roboticist Sarah Angliss.

The album definitely operates best when taken whole, to just let yrself be transported to its odd auditory world, and walk around its bucolic ruins, but would draw special attention to Time Attendant’s ‘Crooked Harbour’, that conjures Uther’s ghost using tape, pedals and string, and all of the Howling Moss tracks, as T.H.T. is getting scary good at his kosmische-giallo-by-way-of-Detroit routine. If anybody has any additional information on Kno or The Original Uptown Sycophants, i’d love to hear ’em, as details were scarce, and the ghostly Salvation Army band in a village hall is really doing it for me right now.

dttssmirrorxSummer is nearly gone, but you can take a small sliver of it with you.

Get it here, at The Blank Workshop:

2 comments on “Various Artists – Down To The Silver Sea

  1. Geoff
    September 8, 2013

    If you look at the back sleeve and marry up the tracks with the composers, you’ll see that both the Kno and The Original Sycophants tracks are composed by Brooks.

    • forestpunk
      September 8, 2013

      nice! thanks! that dude sure does get around. he’s got more personalities than sibyl.

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