Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Hauntology Parish Mōdraniht Newsletter : The Most Unusual Cat in the Village

 New Moon Wiring Club matter ahoy!

A bumper package, this season - not just an LP, but a vinyl 7-inch single too... and a hardback book, and a calendar! 

The LP is one of Ian Hodgson's best for a while -  while I enjoyed the beat-oriented short 'n' sweet bite-size focus of the recent runny of release, I do ultimately favor the foggy marshland vibe. The Most Unusual Cat In the Village is nicely portioned out as four long tracks all in the 10-minute range, enabling you to sink into a mood. But it's not completely wraithscape ambience - there are beats, but their gait is peculiar and halting. Insistent but frustrated, like feet trying to make headway through soggy ground. 

The book-of-the-album is gorgeous to fondle and peruse. Hardback but without a dust jacket, the cover images printed directly onto the cardboard, like a twilight-zone version of a school textbook... inside it's full-colour illustrated on every page... the effect hovering somewhere between a book of images with large captions and a comic book story without panels or speech bubbles. 


I quizzed Ian H about the sound procedures and narrative thematics involved this time around:

"The main ‘beat’ idea was to start off with something minimal, and see how much you could stretch out of it. So rather than multiprogramming 38 different snare patterns, it was taking something like a 1960s easy listening LP sample (of about 4 seconds) and seeing if you could loop that for ages, applying different filters and effects (hellooooo reverbbbbbbbbb) without it being just an experiment. (Alvin Lucier's I Am Sitting in a Room is the main inspiration here ~ I don’t listen to it often, but I think about it all the time). 

"I did a few (loads) of these extended loops (beats / melody / vocal / environmental / etc) and then overlaid the different parts in various combinations.... 'Spiritwave Communication' was the beat loop I liked the best ~ I see it as a solid flan-base you can keep adding ingredients to. The more jelly / fruit / cream dolloped on, the more the base beings to sag, but the more tasty it sonically becomes. It collapses almost completely at some points, then re-solidifies at the end. 

"The 4 x 10 minute LP format was a good way of structuring the music ~ long enough to allow everything room to breathe (whilst being different to the more standard 10-14 tunes you can fit onto a 40 minute LP) but short enough to prevent things from degenerating into slog-fest tedium.... 

"Thematically, I’ve had an idea for many years of an ARGO-style LP cover where a pop-folk singer was also a vampire. It was (for me) a really strong visual that never went away, but I couldn’t quite figure out what to do with it, or how the music would sound.... Roll on January 2020... a medieval plague appeared....  Being a pedestrian in lockdown meant there was no public transport, and where I live it takes about 20 minutes by foot to get to somewhere interesting. So on my daily 2020 walks of up to three hours I couldn’t ever quite escape the distinctly claustrophobic feeling of being permanently walled-in. After a while it began to feel like a mundane horror-film, a bit like the 70s Amicus ‘present-day’ Portmanteaus where daft things happen to slumming character actors. 

"Vampires traditionally appear during plague years so after a while it became clear 2020 was unquestionably the purrrfect time for that long-contemplated MWC 'Vampire Folk Singer on the Cover’ LP. If you had to sum the LP up quickly I’d say ‘Attempted Escape from Claustrophobic Village’ would do the trick. 

"I also quite like the slightly ‘trashy’ horror aspect ~ it stops things getting overly antiseptic and neatly formatted. I was pleased with how the cover turned out ~ it’s pretty much exactly the image that was in my head all these years. Like something safe had gone wrong. Which, you could argue, for a lot of people might sum up 2020. 

"There was so much stuff going around and clogging up my mind, that I thought you could even write a novel about it. 

"Generally speaking, you could either do something creative this year that offered a means of escape, or reflected in someway what was going on around you. The conclusion I personally came to, was as there was no means of escape, creating something that actually reflected this ~ 'escape from claustrophobic village' ~ was the only fulfilling course of action." 

"The Jass of Thun ‘festive single’ seemed like a good companion piece. The idea presented itself when I was experimenting with reverse bell loop sound that accidentally sounded like sleigh-bells, and it all snowballed (ho ho ho) from there." 


Visit the gift shop at the new Moon Wiring Club website and pick up these choice items. 

Release rationale #1a

The Most Unusual Cat in the Village (GEpH014LP) features 4 long-form compositions that elongate beat-loopery into a fragmented-demented dreame-language, coax easy-listening ultra-paste possessed possession collages into hallucinatory dreamscape wanderings, fuse phantom-light exotic artistic endeavours into a beyond the grave reverie and Collapse sunken-dreame-ship winebar musicke into a multi-temporal reality incantation escape wave-loop ritual. 

Release rationale #1b

This delightful matt laminated A5 Hardbound book features 92 pages of full colour 200gsm MWC photo-collage-illustration with an unusual, dreamlike narrative-wandering text that could quite possibly eerily echo the claustrophobic implausibility of 1596 / 1898 / 2020.

Release rationale #2

JASS OF THUN is a jaunty-step classic MWC ritualistic concoction that deftly conjures alpine-deity seasonal activities with a spicy abundance of irresistibly-curdled melodic offerings and off-piste aural manifestations! AWARD THYSELF and (possible) future generations this FESTIVE TREAT / FESTERING THREAT

Release rationale #3

Professionally manufactured and ring-bound, this full colour A3 170gsm silk calendar will provide a hypnotic, unearthly focal-point for blank space reinvigoration and illuminate even the most subdued Billiard Room support-wall / executive crypt.