Monday, 19 January 2015

HORRIBLE MONDAYS - A Year in the Country

While doing a google image search, I came across the most amazing thing, unfortunately, as with most things in life, I was a day late and a dollar short in finding it. A Year in the Country was a multi-media art project that featured photography, recordings and some excellent writing. There was a blog for it, and a bandcamp page. I can tell already that it will take much longer than a year to sift through everything on hand here.

Treasure trove? Goldmine? What is A Year in the Country exactly?
A Year In The Country is a year long journey through and searching for an expression of an underlying unsettledness to the English bucolic countryside dream; an exploration of an otherly pastoralism, the patterns beneath the plough, pylons and amongst the edgelands… it is a wandering about and through the trails of things that have influenced, inspired and intrigued me along the way, which will quite possibly take in the further flung reaches of work with its roots in folkloric concerns and what has been labelled hauntological culture.
I've already discovered several awesome things on the blog, including this short video:

It's loaded with little things like this, little images and links, I have barely even begun my blogaeologic dig, but I already feel like (an uncursed) Howard Carter.

The website was updated every day all of 2014 with observations, pictures, links and other recordings about the author's reflections on the countryside, in what seems to me to be a prolonged attempt to capture an unsettling feeling that comes with being there. The watched feeling that Stephen King so eloquently described as "He-Who-Walks-Behind-the-Rows". It's folk art with a big emphasis on folk music from the late 1960's British psychedelic scene. I only had to search the site for Comus to bring up results that featured United States of America and a UK folk group I'd completely forgotten about called Forest and the Gather in the Mushrooms compilation, among other things. The site is loaded with references big and small with links to many incredible things I've never had an inkling of before.  But aside from the things that take you away from the site, there are plenty of things which hook you in.

View gallery here.
The site is loaded with folk art and pictures that look ripped directly from the walls of Rustin Cohle's storage unit. This is the Wicker Man and True Detective writ large, scrawled with a stick through the wet sands of a sprawling private beach.

One of the most captivating things that I found here, so far is something that just shouldn't be. It's a recording. It's not musical, it's a recording of a practical object in motion with the sound manipulated. It's the last thing you'd expect but 'Torridon Gate' (see player below) is captivating and even a little unsettling. According to the artist, "All of the music on this album was created from a single recording of a front garden gate on Torridon Road in Hither Green, London. These sounds were captured using a contact microphone and processed, looped and edited on three reel - to - reel tape machines with all electronic effects or artificial reverb strictly forbidden."

There are six other recordings up on bandcamp that I`ll have to go through, if any of them are as unusual, interesting or spooky as this one I'll consider myself lucky.

If it does nothing else, it reminds me that horror isn't necessarily horror all the time, it can be a more subtle thing and be as, if not more effective.

Here's the link for the site
Here's a link to the site index so you can easily navigate from the beginning, starting with day 1 of 365.

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