REALM OF PERFUME AND LIGHTS, Anna Peaker

I’m not even in my body yet today, so here’s eighteen minutes of deep, resonant, sonically complex drone from Anna Peaker, which to me today is the sound of old England in winter. Beautiful and sonorous.

The piece was developed around recordings exploring registration and extended tones using the church organ at the Old Seacroft Methodist Chapel in Leeds. My aim was to explore the physical effects of the sonority of the instrument and somehow translate that. A heaviness and unease, then eventual lift.

DESIRE, Miss Machine

This is immense. A beautiful stormblown warzone. The song of machines in the desert. I’ve listened to it three times in a row.

Daniel Johnston

This was the first Daniel Johnston song I ever heard, played to me by Marie Javins, who knew him. This was way back in the 90s, you understand. Daniel Johnston, who in many ways was the most perfect pop song writer of our generation, died last night.

And, to prove that point about Johnston as a pop song writer, here’s one of his songs arranged and performed by M Ward.

SING AS THE CROW FLIES, Laura Cannell & Polly Wright

This is absolutely exquisite.

SING AS THE CROW FLIES is the debut vocal album by composer/performers Laura Cannell and Polly Wright. Re-voicing the voices of the lost, forgotten and hidden people who have lived, worked and loved through the centuries, through the seasons, through the air and in the Marshlands. 

Sing as the Crow Flies is a set of nine vocal tracks re-voicing the rural landscape, surrounding reed beds and marshes on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. Growing up either side of the River Yare, with a common love of the area, Laura Cannell & Polly Wright are musicians, composers and creators with deep roots in the marshes and traditions of this rural area…

Frustrated by the lack of women’s voices in the rural landscape writings of East Anglia and further afield the duo decided that if they can’t unearth the voices of the past they can take now as a starting point and add their own voices, the voices and experiences of living and working in rural surroundings in the 21st century, not always harking back but being present now. 

It is entirely improvised, and immediately put me in mind of both plainsong and the modern looped vocal cascades of Julianna Barwick. It is strikingly beautiful. And, as an Essex boy, it seems to me to fit precisely the atmosphere of the borderlands north of me.

My day has been relentless already. This slowed it right down, and made me sit in place and watch the clouds as they drift along the coast from here to there. I am so happy to have found this.