A circle in 12 parts: Aries

March was to be the start of a year long series of improvisations exploring parallels between creative and ritual practice, the symbolic power of the circle, the zodiac, repetition and magic.  Working with musician friend Jay, we were planning a monthly live webcast performance from my studio, me playing records, Jay taking a feed from the desk, sampling and treating with Ableton and sending it back into the mix.

We have been talking about this for a while now and rehearsing since January.
It’s been a fantastic listening exercise, trying to find balance between the analogue and digital and working out ways of creating structure within the performances based on some fundamental astrological ideas i.e signs, houses, modes, elements and decans.

In choosing records, I was inspired to seek out spoken word astrology ones having found a copy of ‘Tetley take you Stargazing with Maurice Woodruff: Aries’, in the Ty Hafan charity shop in Cardigan some time ago.  Thanks to Ebay and Discogs I almost have the whole zodiac by a number of different astrologers.  2020-03-20 11.29.08

2020-03-20 11.28.54

There are also a number of musical interpetations of the zodiac signs and several copies of Holst’s planets.

Mixing in with those are a few tracks refering to magic in different ways.  So far the only one thats made it into the mix has been A Kind of Magic by Queen, I have a few others in mind which will no doubt make later mixes.

Given the current Covid-19 restrictions we are unable to start the project as planned and im still not quite sure what this will mean for it.  While we are finding a few extracts from our Aries rehearsals to post soon and work out how to proceed, I am posting this video of a vinyl only mix to be going on with.
The overlay is a sketch created in After Effects exploring wrapping a few circular images around a sphere.  The images are photos of my mother’s crystal ball in the sunset light from the studio window and a version of my birthchart drawn by my mother back in 1996.

More Party Leftovers

A mix of records leftover from a Zoom party where people chose vinyl from my databases and I played their requests – like a slow, unreliable, shit jukebox.

Ambrose & his Orchestra; 5000 Welsh Voices; Frankie Laine; Blondie; The Pentangle; Bois Y Felin; The Maple Leaf Four; The Dubliners; Max Boyce; Neal Hefti; Dire Straits; Dean Martin

The Maple Leaf Four - Home on the Range

Ambrose and His Orchestra - Champagne Cocktail

The Pentangle - Pentangling

Blondie - Parallel lines

Dire Straits - Money for Nothing

Neal Hefti - Batman Theme

Bois y Felin

A Nation Sings - 5000 Voices

The Best of Frankie Laine

Dean Martin - Dean of Music

It's the Dubliners

Remembering Llanina

Local musicians and local recordings combine with localised vinyl to explore Llanina on a sonic meander through place, memories and music, personal and collective combine to drift on the soundwaves of Cardigan Bay. 

Beginning with field recordings of the river Llethi flowing through Llanina woods, combining with the gentle playing of Ceri’s harp and Elsa’s ethereal, fragile vocal layer, we moved slowly into the churchyard, through the gate delayed by the sound of crickets, the sea washing the sound of children on the beach towards us.  The crows repeat, we move downstream towards the sea.

A voice from the waters, from 1988, familiar and reassuring suggests we are on the right path.  Moving through time and to the sea, another voice, another tide, sings to us from the past, a lullaby of memory drifting from somewhere near, holding something precious.

Ar lan y mor we hear the waves continue as the past becomes present and the present becomes everything.  The variations are pebbles on the shore, beautiful and perfect they emerge and disappear until ar for dymestl appears as a beacon in the waves.

Barrel organs from the seaside and safety signals, combine with layers of magical harp and voices of the imagined and the real, the past and the present.  A submerged bell rises from the waters, clychau Llanina emerges with fiddle and harp, tides subside we hear birdsong too before the waves return to take the bells once more.

Industrial, kinetic we move along the coast framing pictures on a tide of memory, finding pearls in the noise of shellfish, the clatter of boats leading us out into Cardigan Bay, where Wales and whales become one ar hyd y nos.

Anfon Nico, a duet, refuses to play.  This is the end.

The video above is the audio recording of the live performance in Llanina Church, the video is made from photos of the performance and other clips shown there.

Audio contributions from – Ailsa Mair Hughes; Lou Laurens; Elsa Davies; Ceri Owen Jones; Jacob Whittaker; Deri Morgan; Bill Hamblett; Liz Whittaker; Winston Evans.

Vinyl includes -Adar Tydfor; Picture Frame Seduction; BBC Wildlife of Wales; Vernon a Gwynfor; Eleanor Dwyryd; Doreen Lewis; Aled Lloyd Davies; Gwynne James

There’s another post about this performance here