Friday 2 June 2017

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Industrial Folklore Tapes

Folklore is most often associated with the romance of rural life, but this new series of releases explores ‘Industrial Folklore’, born from the hardship and daily toil of workers in mills, mines and foundries in the north of England. The Industrial Folklore series sets out to explore a recent past, embedded in family histories and still in living memory, yet for the most part a forgotten bygone era, that appears to have little connection to our present existence. It is no coincidence that the artists who begin this series are all based in and around Lancashire, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, a landscape silently haunted by the tangible remains of once thriving noisy industries. Mary Stark, 2017

Monday 1 May 2017

Museum of Witchcraft and Magic - Cursing Conference May 6th

Featuring a performance by: David Chatton Barker / Mary Stark / Sam McLoughlin / Bridget Hayden

Saturday 16 January 2016

Black Dog Traditions of England

Black Dog Traditions of England
Ian Humberstone, David Chatton Barker, et al.

  • 12” LP featuring acousmatic sound compositions, site-specific field-recordings and original audio of local storytellers spinning out black dog yarns.
  • DVD containing a 10-minute film by David Chatton Barker, hand-treated using haunted materials and distressed in rust, accompanied by a special mix of the project’s audio.
  • Full-colour, 80-page book by Ian Humberstone, containing original articles focussed on each tale covered by the project, as well as photography taken on-site during fieldwork.
  • Riso printed poster of Dob Park Lodge and Troller’s Gill—two locations featured in the project.
  • All contents captured in an embossed, hand-numbered and hand-stamped box.
  • Edition of 500 with first 100 copies containing an additional cassette version of the project audio. Available to pre-order here from Monday 18.01.16

What is a black dog? Well, that is a question more easily asked than answered. Listen close and I will tell you all that I know.

A black dog is a nocturnal terror, a prowling and ill-omened animation of the witching-hour. Whether plying its trade as a ghost or goblin, a demon or devil, its principle description remains—it is a horrid thing of prodigious size, black and shaggy-haired, in the rough shape of a dog (though greater in stature than any natural breed), with glowing eyes as large as tea saucers that glitter and gleam in the murk. Its recurrent associations are with death, misfortune and the darker shades to human endeavour.

These are dread-makers that lurk in the forgotten, twilit corners of this world: the lanes, crossroads and graveyards of isolated villages; the tumuli, ruins and ravines of the open moors; the site at which a gibbet stood or murder was committed in more populous places. They are wont to wander. Those associated with a particular road or lane are often said to patrol a certain stretch or ‘beat’ along it, while those that once haunted a specific site have frequently expanded their activities to a surrounding locale, as their story waxes in its retelling.

These are unholy-hounds that stalk their sorrowful haunts at dusk or midnight—those liminal hours when the darkling night might shelter their fetid furs. A black dog may appear or disappear instantaneously, mutate at will, shrink or swell in size, emit a sulphurous stench, even trail a great clanking chain behind it as it goes. It may howl and yowl, or roar and rumble, shrieking and screeching through the squally night. Or it may be silent, save for the unpropitious padding of its giant paws upon the ground behind.

How long, exactly, these deliria have tottered along in mankind’s wake is uncertain. In their most basic construction—black, ill-defined, malevolent creatures of the beyond—they are likely as ancient as human fear itself. Yet each generation has added to the image, creating a shifting, legendary mongrel-breed, charged with myth and story.

Black Dog Traditions of England tells the tales eight spectre-hounds in an expansive, multi-disciplinary box-set. It is the product of extensive fieldwork conducted by Ian and David throughout 2015, as well as Ian’s own researches into black dog folklore dating back to 2007.

The LP features acousmatic sound compositions, site-specific field-recordings and original audio of local storytellers spinning out their black dog yarns. The hand-treated and rust-degraded film contained on the DVD incorporates materials gathered in the field, such as ashes from the fireplace at Dob Park Lodge (above) and scorched waterweed from Troller’s Gill. The project book is notable in its own right—a detailed, original study tracing the history of each black dog story from its earliest textual source to the present day. The book also includes a map and full-colour photographs from the project’s many expeditions. An embossed, hand-numbered and hand-stamped box holds the contents firm.

The box-set is a reliquary of objects, stories and sounds centuries, if not millennia, in the making. These are resonances of the never-was: artworks informed by those long-forgotten who, out lurking in the half-light of a country lane, saw shapes somehow darker than the surrounding night that preyed upon their idle minds.

LP Tracklisting
  • Black Dog Summons
  • The Barguest of Dob Park Lodge 
  • The Black Dog of Uplyme 
  • The Legend of Black Vaughan 
  • The Procession at Black Dog Village 
  • Tales of Black Shuck 
  • The Barguest of Troller’s Gill 
  • The Black Dog of Newgate 
  • Watchdogs of the Wambarrows

Black Dog Traditions of England - The Barguest of Troller's Gill from Folklore Tapes on Vimeo.

Thursday 3 December 2015

FTCCIII: Mid-winter Rites and Revelries

Image of Folklore Tapes Calendar Customs Vol.III Mid-Winter Rites & Revelries

Folklore Tapes Calendar Customs Vol.III: Mid-Winter Rites & Revelries
Artists: Various
Format: Embossed cassette box including printed green cassette. screen printed sleeve, research booklet, essay, evergreen bough, poster, download code.
Release Date: 04/12/15
Edition: 250

Arianne Churchman - Fourth Solo Cutty Wren Ritual
Dean McPhee - The Devil's Knell
Rob St John - Fire Rites
David Chatton Barker - Wheel of Life
Sam McLoughlin - Tangerines in Socks
Magpahi - The Lady of the Mountain
Mary Stark - Holly & Ivy
Ian Humberstone - Carrying the Clavie Fire
Carl Turney & Brian Campbell - lo Saturnalia!
Mary & David - Wassailing

Mid-winter is the low ebb of the year, the heart of the lifeless season when the sun describes a wearily flattened arc across the sky: its luminosity dimmed and wan, its passage brief. Shadows lengthen, branches grow bare and bony, temperatures drop and darkness prevails. There is a need for cheer, for hope and conviviality, for reminders of Spring’s renewal to come. Old mid-winter rites and rituals, centring around Christmastide observances and celebrations, bring a little warmth and light to this chill time of scarcity and spiritual despond. And it is these rites to which Folklore Tapes turn their collective eye in this the fourth season of the solar year.

The artists contributing to this limited edition cassette compilation have each researched a particular mid-winter ritual and, informed by their findings, conjured a sound piece in response. The movements take their listener on an audiological journey around the old ways of winter, with acousmatic carolling, text-sound collage, composed music and augmented field-recording. These are playful retellings of long-forgotten observances: library sounds, carried on a wisp of smoke from the bonfires of winters past.

The cassette comes housed in a hand-numbered and stamped box, accompanied by a detailed booklet and essay focussing on the customs and rituals covered. Also inside is a poster and evergreen bough to cheer the peruser through the long, dank night. So come gather round the ceremonial fire as Folklore Tapes toll the Devil’s knell, hunt the sacred wren, light the Yule Log and enact saturnalic mischief in the deepest depths of winter’s long night.

Available from the Folklore Tapes shop.

Friday 11 September 2015

Folklore Tapes at the Arnolfini, Bristol, September 12th

Tomorrow, at the Arnolfini in Bristol, Folklore Tapes present a full evening of acts, including a one-off performance focusing on the stone circle at Stanton Drew, as well as spectral projections, tape manipulations, storytelling and light puppetry.