Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

John Barleycorn Reborn: Dark Britannica – Various Artists [#648] & John Barleycorn Reborn: Rebirth [#649]

In a Britain in an alternate universe where paganistic villagers performed fertility rites, sacrificed policemen in burning wicker effigies and sang folk songs with hidden paganistic undernotes you can imagine this compilation being enjoyed on PYE stereo systems or in-car Grundig cassette players.

Mental imagery of remote rural areas of the UK like the Pennine ridge of the Yorkshire dales and the Peak district with perhaps lots of woolen sweatered fishermen or farmer types (because why there would be fishermen in the Pennines I have no idea. Holiday perhaps?), busty lusty young Brit Eckland look-a-likes and manbeards worn for warmth rather than style. Burning log fires in remote rural public houses on the moors. Folk musicians holding their ears to keep in tune and the familiar pong of veganism. These are all brought to mind when listening to the British dark folk compilation John Barleycorn Reborn (JBR) (2007).

I had long lusted after JBR since Amazon first suggested it would sit nicely in my music library. Of course, not feeling confident that I would enjoy it because of the number of bands and songs I’d never heard of, I resisted, seeking only to try and obtain it during the great internet download free for all of the mid to late noughties. However, as recently as last year, I found the album on Apple Music together with its brother and followup compilation, John Barleycorn Reborn: Rebirth (2011).

As I took great interest in the neofolk movement that took alternative, mature and adult music to new levels across continental Europe the late noughties, I’m more aware that JBR is purely a British attempt to break into an already dying subculture. Yes we had the hauntology bit on our side (as the likes of Belbury Poly and similar bands from Ghostbox have shown) and we do hauntology well, but the dark/neo folk was becoming old hat and middleaged exgoth hipsters were already starting to reinvent themselves in other ways.

The compiler has put a lot of effort into these albums and, while they ooze hauntology, they stink of the imitation of the earlier neofolk compendium Looking for Europe (2007) which is much richer in diversity. Some strong acts feature especially the likes of Sieben, Sol Invicitus, Far Black Furlong and Martyn Bates while other groups linger, tempting the listener to delve into their own back catalogue while supping a nice warm frothing pint of Badgers Nipple and smoking a pipe.

611IEyravjL._AC_

Track listing for John Barleycord Reborn: Dark Britannica

Listen on Amazon or Apple Music

John Barleycorn 3:56 The Horses Of The Gods
North, County Maid 2:40 The Owl Service
The Wicker Man 2:31 The Story
Spirit of Albion 4:16 Damh the Bard
Twa Corbies 5:14 Mary Jane
Dives and Lazarus 6:30 Andrew King
Three Crowns 5:38 The Triple Tree
To Kills All Kings 5:01 Sol Invictus
Ogham on the Hill 4:04 Sieben
Horn Dance 3:31 Sharron Kraus
Lay Bent To the Bonny Broom 7:55 Charlotte Greig and Johan Asherton
The Burning of Auchindoun 5:44 Pumajaw
The Scryer and the Shewstone 5:07 Peter Ulrich
Where the Hazel Grows 4:31 alphane moon
Hippomania 6:51 English Heretic
Icy Solstice Eye 3:28 Far Black Furlong
John Barleycorn Must Die 4:37 The Anvil
To Make You Stay 2:55 Tinkerscuss
Trial By Bread and Butter 3:37 The Straw Bear Band
The Sorrow of Rimmon 3:56 Electronic Voice Phenomina
Dragonfly 4:21 The Purple Minds of Lazeron
Stained Glass Morning 5:56 Sand Snowman
Summerhouse 5:11 The A Lords
The Guidman’s Ground 4:19 The Kitchen Cynics
PewPew 2:33 Quickthorn
Reed Sodger 4:20 Clive Powell
Child 102 Willie and Earl Richard’s Daughter 7:33 Venereum Arvum
Nottamun Town 6:55 Drohne
Gargoyle 6:16 Stormcrow
Pact 4:21 Doug Peters
Obsidian Blade 5:07 While Angels Watch
John Barleycorn: This Life, Death and Resurrection 4:51 Xenis Emputae Travelling Band
The Resurrection Apprentice 2:31 Martyn Bates

81bkkcu8kbL._SS500_PIPJStripe-Robin-Large-V2,TopLeft,0,0_

Track listing for John Barleycorn Reborn: Rebirth

Listen on Amazon or Apple Music

The Rolling of the Stones 2:04 Magpiety
All Hallow’s Eve 5:05 Story, The
Wood 4:57 Telling the Bees John
Bonny Jaycock Turner 2:42 David A Jaycock
Oh My Boy, My Bonny Boy 2:30 Yealand Redmayne
The Bold Fisherman 4:36 Charlotte Greig & Johan Asherton
Tierceron 4:00 Steve Tyler
The Wendigo 6:24 Wendigo, The
Wake the Vaulted Echo (Tigon Mi 4:53 Owl Service,
The East Room V 3:33 Far Black Furlong
Brightening Dew 3:10 Xenis Emputae Travelling Band
Corvus Monedula 4:08 Sedayne
Bear Ghost 5:02 Straw Bear Band, The
Scythe To the Grass 3:06 Novemthree
Lavondyss 4:55 Paul Newman
Kingfisher Blue 5:16 James Reid
(Digging the) Midnight Silver 4:18 JefvTaon
Children’s Soul 1:48 Wooden Spoon
A Dream of Fires 3:21 Big Eyes Family Players, The
Improvisation At Kilpeck, June 4:18 Sundog
Ca the Horse, Me Marra 11:17 Clive Powell
Jack In the Green 2:41 Mac Henderson And Grand Union Morris
Seven Sleepers, Seven Sorrows 11:58 Cunnan
The Silkie 3:52 Orchis
Thistles 5:28 Twelve Thousand Days
Harvest Dance 2:31 Novemthree
Elder 3:45 James Reid
When I Was In My Prime 5:07 Mary Jane
Ognor Mi Trovo 3:18 Daughters of Elvin
De Poni Amor a Me 6:17 Misericordia
Child 102 (Lily Flower Mix) 7:54 Venereum Arvum
John Barleycorn Must Live 5:37 Anvil, The
The Old Way 0:45 Sunshine Coding

 

Comments Off on John Barleycorn Reborn: Dark Britannica – Various Artists [#648] & John Barleycorn Reborn: Rebirth [#649]

Ignis Mutat Res – Lux Interna #607

Unknown-2.jpeg

Ignis Mutat Res by Lux Interna

Since we last met Lux Interna on the music project with God is Not Dead for the Birds I have had more time on my hands to listen to their other works. During that time I’ve discovered that to enjoy today’s album you will need the following:

 

  • A basic understanding of Latin
  • A bushy hipster beard
  • Rolled up tight leg trousers
  • Braces
  • An ironic beret or bald pate or both
  • A bicycle

During the rise and wane of European neofolk groups would form, usually with a gruff-sounding male vocalist, and, mimicking Dead Can Dance et al, write songs with Latin lyrics or names.

To sound mysterious.

Without realising that Lux Interna was one such band, I had heard, and enjoyed, their track Horizon on the much fabled Looking For Europe Neofolk Compendium. And so, as with most bands that I hear and like the sound of on Various Artist compilations, I tried finding other albums by the band. In doing so I obtained this, their second album, Ignis Mutat Res (aka Fire Changes Matter).

It’s difficult to describe Lux Interna without alluding to other obscure neofolk bands. They certainly have a flavour of Love is Colder than Death and maybe a hint of Ordo Equituum Solis with notes of Changes chucked in for good measure and all wrapped up in a nice Projekt record label cling film. In fact, let’s throw in a bit of influence from Blood Axis or Of the Wand and Moon for good measure.But then I suppose that’s the whole neofolk genre in a nutshell.

Sadly the album itself suffers from a beardy bloke in black with a guitar trying to look and sound mysterious. Horizon is probably the most enjoyable track on the album, the others are a little too….comical…to be taken seriously.

Comments Off on Ignis Mutat Res – Lux Interna #607

God is Not Dead for the Birds – Lux Interna [#530]

41pN1uSvmWL._AA160_Take a substantial lump of Nick Cave, add a liberal amount of gloomy acoustic guitar, mix in a teaspoon of Sandy Denny or Barbara Gaskin (what ever you have to hand). Leave to fester for a few years and you might  just be able to recreate something similar to Lux Interna.

I discovered Lux Interna through the much touted Looking For Europe neofolk compendium and was able to source a copy of this, their fourth album from 2007. Again, unfortunately due to the time of life I discovered them, I have been unable to devote as much attention to them as I had hoped. Yet every time I do listen, I’m always rewarded by a rich tapestry of sonic gloom.

Comments Off on God is Not Dead for the Birds – Lux Interna [#530]

The Drift – Scott Walker [#398]

images You might remember Scott Walker as one half of the Walker Brothers. What do you mean you don’t know the Walker Brothers. Hmm. Ok…

That’s the Walker Brothers. Gary, John and Scott, brothers in music not by birth.

Ok, now I’ve established for you who the Walker Brothers are, let me tell you about Neo-folk. Neo-folk, according to Wikipedia, is:

a form of folk music-inspired experimental music that emerged from post-industrial music circles.Wikipedia

Unfortunately, Neofolk gets a teeny bit of a bad name due to its links to martial music and appropriation by a minority of Neo-nazi groups who aimed to spread their filth through the medium of good music.

I like Neofolk. I discovered it through the Looking For Europe neo-folk compendium, the first track on which is Scott Walker’s Angel of Ashes which, I’m told, is Neofolk.

Intrigued by the inclusion of one of the Walker Brothers on the album, I sought out more by the artist and found that at one point in his career, he was signed to my favourite record label…4AD.

Sadly the album The Drift, is an acquired taste. A taste, I’m afraid, my aural tastebuds finds a little too rich and unusual tasting. A little bit Anthony and the Johnsons with a pinch of  Current 93, topped with notes of Can.Still, like with Kiss, I’ll persevere. Just in case he gets better with age….

Comments Off on The Drift – Scott Walker [#398]

Desire Rites – Sieben [#363]

Desire rites - Sieben [#363] We’ve met Sheffield violinist Matt Howden in his alternate guise of Sieben on the Music Project before. This was the first album I bought by Sieben having previously only heard the artist on the Looking for Europe neofolk compendium.

On this album Howden shows how his cheeky humorous side can be laced through his biting observational reflections on various aspects of life. From how the far right have propagated their disgusting agenda through some neofolk to the story of a besotted lonely projectionist, Howden uses this album to set the foundations for his later albums.

If you are new to the neofolk scene, especially the small presence within the genre of British artists, the talented Sieben/Matt Howden’s album Desire Rites is a nice intro.

Comments Off on Desire Rites – Sieben [#363]

Conquest, Love and Self-Perseverance – Ordo Equilibrio [#302]

UnknownSome time back I came across an album called Looking For Europe, a compendium of neofolk music from across Europe. This led to a musically investigational journey where I explored the boundaries of dark folk, neo folk, goth and similar genres in a quest to find something to blow my mind.

I found that something in the guise of David Galas but on the journey I acquired a collection of music that haunted my soul. Now, we’ve already met one such band on the music project, Ordo Equitum Solis, a band that had long dissolved itself when I was discovering the genre for myself. But in the hunger for more OES I would grab anything that seemingly sounded similar.

Swedish group Ordo Equilibrio have been described as apocalyptic folk. They’re certainly dark wave and more definitely neofolk in many respects. But I’d say they’re more dark wave than neofolk.

Conquest, Love and Self-Perseverance is their third album on the Cold Meat Industry label, often played on the Aural Apocalypse podcast produced by DJ Merrick and in goth clubs around the world, it has been described as “Music for your satanic cult” and “Music for your S&M dungeon”.

 

Comments Off on Conquest, Love and Self-Perseverance – Ordo Equilibrio [#302]

Born Again – Blood Axis [#211]

51S-P4BcnYL._SL500_AA280_Born Again – Blood Axis

We first came across Blood Axis on his collaboration with Le Joyaux de la Princesse. If you recall, he’s the guy who reads all the English translated French poetry to weird atmospheric remixes of gramophone records. Oh yeah, he gets better. Truly.

So here we are at his third studio album, Born Again. Michael Moynahan menaces his way through 12 tracks of moroseness. Great stuff. Of course you’ll only really appreciate how good when people tell you that the music you’re listening to is a racket and can you please turn it off. Which happens everytime with Born Again. I love it! Possibly not as much as his first studio effort, Gospel of Inhumanity but not that far off.

Comments Off on Born Again – Blood Axis [#211]

The Blood of My Lady – Unto Ashes (#202)

The Blood of my Lady - Unto AshesThe Blood of My Lady – Unto Ashes

Having gained an interest in the neofolk genre following the acquisition of the Looking for Europe compilation I came upon Unto Ashes via the wonders of the Aural Apocalypse podcast. I miss Aural Apocalypse.

This is the band’s sixth album and was released in 2009. Unto Ashes are one of those rare bands that actually use hurdy gurdys, dulcimers and other obscure instruments. Much like a really folky version of Dead Can Dance but with less wailing and more singing. Similar also to Brillig whose Red Coats album will feature on this project in a couple of years. So it makes sense that I would like Unto Ashes too.

This is one of the reasons I love the internet. Without the internet my music collection would still have been compiled of popular generalist stuff from visits to HMV or Virgin Mega Store. The internet helped me discovered bands that I would never have heard otherwise. A goal I hope to achieve by completing this music project. If I can, by writing this project, influence just one person to become a fan of band they would never have heard without it, I will feel accomplished.

 

Comments Off on The Blood of My Lady – Unto Ashes (#202)

Annwyn, Beneath the Waves – Faith and the Muse [Album #76]

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 13.11.55Annwyn, Beneath the Waves – Faith and the Muse

Until the last decade I had shamefully only heard of Faith and the Muse in rumours and student bedroom wall posters. Faith and the Muse have a similar style to Ordo Equitum Solis. Much like OES, Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance, Faith and the Muse are popular amongst the dark clothe wearing goth fraternity. Dark in style with mediaeval tones, Faith and the Muse mix open atmospheric chords with wailing floaty dressed female vocals and, in some tracks, militaristic drumming.

I had only listened to Annwyn once before. I’m not sure I would choose them for a car mix tape or to accompany a dinner party. Unless I was trying to be some sort of hipster goth or impress some Twiglet (sic) obsessed teenagers on their first forays into the dark.

I don’t know why I find this kind of music enjoyable. Perhaps it is the mental images of  dark and wet rainy streets that it conjures. In all, if your folk is too cheery, this is what you want. In a room. With joss sticks and pentagrams.

 

1 Comment »

Album #75 – Animi Aegritudo – Ordo Equitum Solis

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 12.40.53Animi Aegritudo – Ordo Equitum Solis

Neo-folk? Goth? Both? Not entirely sure.

There seems to be a lot of dark wave European bands with latin names. Ordo Equitum Solis, or Empire of the Sun are one such example . OES have a similar sound to Dead Can Dance only without the wailing Lisa Gerrard or weird avante-gard revivalist instruments. There are no sackbuts or crumbhorns here.

Animi Aegritudo (or Mind Illness) gives you that haunting mediaeval feeling, like you should be in some sort of red candle lit cellar in Italy, just before red cassocked hooded monks come into the room and sacrifice you to some dark entity.

I really like them (OES that is, not weird demon summoning monks).  I could quite happily sit in a cellar somewhere and listen to their haunting songs while supping red wine from golden jewel encrusted goblets. Of course most of their stuff was released a long time ago although they have recently had a bit of a come back.

I was really lucky to discover OES whilst on a Usenet music harvesting excersise in the early noughties. Of course, at the time, none of their stuff was available to buy legitimately in the UK. Sure you could buy imports but the last time I did that I ended up with a large credit card bill for porn and internal flights in the USA, which, of course, I have no recollection of buying. Anyway, you can buy their stuff now through Amazon and CDBaby if you’re really interested. I suggest giving them ago. They grow on you . Like moss. On a red candle lit cellar wall.

 

 

 

Comments Off on Album #75 – Animi Aegritudo – Ordo Equitum Solis

%d bloggers like this: