A Journal Of The Dark Arts

For The Sake Of The Song: SBTRKT, The Hare & The Moon + Phantom Love

reynardine   Now that the madness of the holidays and the push of the year-end best of lists are behind us, we can resume simply ENJOYING music again, to let it brush past us, soft as far, in the gente of the evening, or the briskness of the morning. It’s all FOR THE SAKE OF THE SONG.

This week, we’ll sojourn through tropical beaches to misty furrows,  from cold to warm, immediate to eternal.




avatars-000015822815-ekypw6-t200x200SBTRKT – R U N A W A Y (feat. Jesse Ware & Sampha)

Our first submission from the new year comes from a masked man & two chanteuses. It’s a noteworthy contribution, as this is the first track i’m aware of that bears the 2014 stamp, so it’s worth a look/listen, to try and test the waters, and sense where this new year may take us.

If “R U N A W A Y” is any indication, 2014 will see the underground and the aboveboard continue to merge, as this slight track (it’s only 1:15) blends stately, chilled downbeat R&B, along the lines of The Weeknd or older Burial, with soulful diva vox. It’s rough, but still club-ready. “R U N A W A Y” manages to also blend the classic and the ultra-modern, with tasty, tasteful string stabs that raise images of tropical birds flying across a pastel sunset.

I’m not super familiar with SBTRKT (that’s pronounced subtract, if you were curious), but i like what i’ve heard. If this track is any indication, i will also be waiting, to see what this trio, and this year, has in store.

reynardine-by-mark-buckinghamThe Hare And The Moon – Reynardine & Come Unto The Corn

Here’s two tracks dropped onto Grey Malkin‘s The Hare And The Moon soundcloud, around the darkest night of the year. Both are labelled as Spook Folk, on the ‘cloud, and manage to encapsulate everything we hold most (un)holy: haunted folklore, droning experimental folk music and a knack for finding the most obscure and bizarre Victorian visuals imaginable. The Hare And The Moon are truly a world unto themselves; a ghostly village green, beneath a sickle moon.

“Reynardine” is a traditional British number, and has been performed by the finest connoiseurs of British folk music, from Bert Jansch to Sandy Denny to The Fairport Convention. It tells the tale of a young woman who meets a dashing rake (a highwayman or bandit), who turns out to be a werefox, who dashes her away to his mountain castle. What happens there is a mystery, left to the imagination. The Hare And The Moon’s version starts off like a spectral Wild Hunt, with the call of the hunting horn, before settling into a genuinely magickal, but mournful, dirge. Sawing fiddles and the distant chime of the bell evoke the British countryside, dewy in the moonlight. Just goes to show that things that can be done with traditional music, boundaries to explore and break. The ancient origins of this music conveys a natural sense of magick and mystery, seems to capture the essence of the land, which is further emphasized with rushing wind sounds. This makes you feel as if you are walking this lonely road, with this lovely lass of Firmadie, with ruby lips and cherry cheeks.

As a comparison, and a curiosity, here’s a recording of Dylan Carlson, the man from EARTH, performing Reynadine, which is apparently his favorite song ever, with Teresa Colamonaco, at Corsica Studios last year. It’s a great illustration of how the seeds of traditional music can sprout into very different flora. The Hare And The Moon have done more than just about anyone i know to keep old wyrd Brittania alive and vibrant, if somewhat sickly and unwholesome.

“Come Unto The Corn” is a pretty typical example of what we do on Monday nights, as a slight drizzle falls outside our darkened picture windows. Blood On Satan’s Claws, an eerie piano refrain, just a touch of epic burning guitar, and eerie chanting.

“Hail Behemoth, spirit of the dark, take thou my blood, my flesh my skin and walk. Holy Behemoth, father of my life. Speak now, come now, rise now, from the furrows, from the forests, from the furrows, and live.”

Let this be a symbol of strength and prosperity for all of us, for the coming year.
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a2034177014_2   Phantom Love – Crave For Lust I’m not sure if yr aware of this or not, but Forestpunk recently got listed on The Hype Machine, which we’re pretty excited about. Single tracks, from SoundCloud and BandCamp get queued up over there, and it acts as a very eccentric & eclectic radio station.

Everytime i listen to something like the radio, it is such a major relief, as i no longer have the need to be authoritative or definitive. I am in the somewhat enviable but miserable position of attempting to make a living off of art, writing and music, which are what i do for fun, and also the only things that i give a shit about in this world (that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but just barely). It can be very, very difficult to know where the work stops and where life starts. But it’s a catch-22, as just going through the motions, listening to something because you have to doesn’t make for very inspired listening or writing, and the name of the game is to be lively, enlivened, awake and alert to yr own self and yr own life, to let yr senses stand on end, and let yr imagination light up with witchfire.

Which is why it was such a pleasure to come upon “Crave For Lust” from A Closer Listen. “Crave For Lust” is what we’re most into right now, what we mostly listen to for recreation: knocking, ancient techno, shrouded in mist and mystery. It reminds me of The Stranger’s Watching Dead Empires In Decay, with its evocation of landscape and decay. It builds and builds, in classic Techno fashion, a lovely solid thump, joined by high keening strings, like a banshee wail, and a hypnotic pulse, swooning from ear to ear. “Crave For Lust” is a rave in Stephen King’s The Mist, with things colossal, just out of reach, and outside of comprehension.

In this project the artist explores her love for electronic music, influenced by a genealogy that connects Carpenter to Mann, Detroit to Rome.
A retro-futuristic production that is equally analogue and digital, haunting and exotic, a sonic sculpture of obsessive arpeggios and reverb-drenched strings.
Tribal and shape-shifting drums structures fight against the liquid interplay and superimposition of cymbals and cowbells delays.

– press release

Phantom Love is the pseudonym of Italian experimental artist Valentina Fanigliulo, who also makes music under the name Mushy. The Crave For Lust EP is out now, on Zer0killed Records.

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