A Journal Of The Dark Arts

It’s Happening Again… The Soulless Party – The Black Meadow Archive Volume I album review

It’s happening again… The Brightwater Archives are finally unsealed, unleashing a whole new treasure trove of audio and ephemera surrounding the misty mysterious Black Meadow on the North York Moors.

The Black Meadow album review

If you’re a long-time reader of Forestpunk, you’re most likely familiar with the lore surrounding The Black Meadow. In 1972, Professor R. Mullins from the University of York went missing while investigating a mysterious patch of land in the North York Moors, in the shadow of three colossal white spheres, known as The Black Meadow. The area is flush with tales of disappearing villages, of disembodied spirits emerging from the mist.

Upon Mullins’ disappearance, investigators discovered over twenty thick notebooks jammed to the spines with uncanny, unsettling tales. These would go on to form The Brightwater Archive.

Of course, like all great mysteries with a kernel of truth, The Brightwater Archives was locked down tight, kept under lock and key away from the hungry eyes of truth seekers. Maybe they were afraid the Black Meadow could serve as some sort of British pastoral Zone, a la Tarkovsky’s Stalker, offering a counterpoint to the croney capitalism of neoliberalism.

Maybe they were afraid the Black Meadow could serve as some sort of British pastoral Zone, a la Tarkovsky’s Stalker, offering a counterpoint to the croney capitalism of neoliberalism.

All the more reason to rejoice upon the news that The Brightwater Archives has finally been unsealed, spilling its secrets under the bright LED lights of modernity. This is great news indeed for lovers of wyrdness and old, musty British heritage.

The first round of offerings from The Brightwater Archives has revealed not only a new album of music by, for, and about the Black Meadow but also a new collection of stories and folklore. Both are compelling in their own way, serving as an excellent addendum to the original album and BBC documentary as well as the compilation inspired by the folklore surrounding The Black Meadow.

You’ll be happy to know that The Black Meadow Archive Volume I isn’t all sinister spookiness. There is whimsy aplenty and pastoralism galore. It evokes the landscape in its daytime incarnation as well, full of chirping lapwings and cooing turtle doves, diving kingfishers and grousing red grouses. The music covers a wide emotional range, as well, going from the mysterious and the pensive “Walking On Black Meadow” to the mystical “Legend Of The White Horse,” with its sweet, tender piano melody over a choppy, bouncy chord progression, like the Penguin Cafe Orchestra scoring a documentary about Easter Island. Of course, the lovers of the spectral and the ghostly will have plenty to love here as well, with the haunting “A Voice In The Heather” or the groaning Gothic strings and harpsichords of “The Ticking Policeman,” sounding like the inside of the cottage from Edgar Allan Poe‘s The Tell-Tale Heart in the dead of night.

Whomever opened the archive has done a lovely job with these documents and curiosities. The recordings from The Black Meadow Archive Volume I sound slightly cleaner, more modern, more robust and full-bodied than the original’s medieval mellotrons and vintage radio documentary sound quality. The updated fidelity really lets you appreciate that there’s some excellent music on display here, as well. Historical oddities are all well and good but you gotta be able to groove along, as well.

The Black Meadow Archives Volume I serves as an exquisite companion for the book of the same name. It’s been the soundtrack to many magickal mysterious evenings here in the Forestpunk turret reading stories of soldiers transforming into horses, villages lost beneath the waves, the Rag & Bone man emerging from the mist. It’s a transportive, engaging, immersive experience that we can’t recommend enough. We’ll be weighing in shortly with our thoughts on the book, as well, so hold on to your bowlers for that.

The Black Meadow Archive Volume I reminds us that this world is far stranger and more wondrous than we sometimes remember under the bright, glaring lights of modernity. There are strangers things on this Earth, dear readers, than are dreamed of in yr philosophy.

The Black Meadow Archive Volume I is out now on the wondrous Castles In Space!

The Soulless Party

FB: The Soulless Party
The Soulless Party Mixes

Castles In Space


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