Monday, 16 December 2019


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Love is everything.

Okay, but what else did you learn?

No - you must not have heard me; it's everything!

                                                                           Michael Pollan


There’s obscure, and then there’s Axe, or possibly Axe Music, or possibly Crystalline, a short-lived psych-prog outfit from Northampton, fronted by the mesmerising Countess Vivienne (a stage name, but nevertheless, an enticing one). The band recorded only twelve acetate copies of an album in 1969, which, had it been released, would have been called MUSIC or possibly AXE MUSIC – it's this sort of thing that made them obscure. Alas, the album remained unreleased until 1991 by which time the band had long since been lost to ye olde psychedelic mysts of tyme, revealing an album of progressive folk broadly at home to Jefferson Airplane and none the worse for that – Countess Vivienne’s vocals soar and the band remain one of the great lost acts of the 70s, of which, let’s face it, there are many. 


Released as one of four tracks on EVOLVER, a free sampler EP for the pioneering and forward-thinking psych label, Mega Dodo records in 2014, Museum Of My Mind, showcases the lysergic sensibilities of the fancifully named Icarus Peel, frontman for West Country psychedelicists The Honey Pot, and The Crystal Jacqueline Band. The track features a distinctly atmospheric laden psychedelic opening sequence that settles into something decidedly strange. Rather fittingly, given the title, I think Sigmund Freud gets a mention.


Who would have ever have imagined that one of the most highly tripped out albums of the classic psychedelic period would have come from Israel? Released in 1968, their debut album CHERCHILIM (or צ'רצ'ילים, if you will), is heavily influenced by both West Coast psychedelia and late-'60s British hard rock with a garage-Doors vibe going on. Following the success of this album they moved to England and changed their name to Jericho Jones, and then Jericho, to pursue a heavier sound that I can’t really be doing with.


The debut album from Kaleidoscope, SIDE TRIPS, released in 1967, plays like a mind-boggling combination of Summer of Love acid-rock, goodtime saloon music and a Middle Eastern jam session – in fact, they performed in so many different styles, including folk and jazz,  that they were arguably one of the progenitors of World Music. When they entertained the wide-eyed customers of San Francisco's Fillmore and Avalon Ballrooms and Los Angeles' Ash Grove, they frequently employed flamenco and belly dancers onstage. Not to be confused with the English psychedelic band who were performing at the same time with the same name, the American Kaleidoscope contributed two songs to Michelangelo Antonioni's ‘Zabriskie Point’, and supported Cream on their American farewell tour, but split up soon afterwards.


This sublimely lovely track is, in fact, comprised of the original recording that appears on their 1968 masterpiece, IN SEARCH OF THE LOST CHORD, segued onto an instrumental version of the same track that became available with the 50th anniversary reissue of the album last year, and I did this because I enjoyed it so much I wanted it to last just a little bit longer. The vocal version is a simple affair, pretty much consisting of a flute riff and softly picked acoustic, but the instrumental version includes the use of sitar which adds a suitably exotic vibe to a song that’s already pretty far out. Lovely stuff. The Moody Blues were so under-rated, but their run of late sixties albums, of which this is the second, are almost transcendentally trippy.


I’ve recently come to rediscover The Move, and have enjoyed listening to lost little psychedelic classics hidden away on the b-sides of their singles. Walk Upon The Water can be found on the b-side to their killer 1968 single Fire Brigade as well as appearing on their debut album MOVE. The album never quite holds together, incorporating too many styles, but when they focussed on producing colourful kaleidoscopic psych-pop (instead of the Eddie Cochran covers, say) they burnt with an intensity that was white-hot.


A marvellous psych-pop treat, Treacle Toffee World was the b-side to the equally fine Father’s Name Is Dad, their debut single released in 1968. Treacle Toffee World exemplifies the playful, toy-town nature of British psychedelia, a genre of music at home to Edward Lear, Alice in Wonderland, Listen With Mother, Kenneth Grahame, The Goons, Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter, Lord Kitchener and his valet, and, of course, fairy cakes and ginger beer for tea. The band went on to produce a concept album based upon the whimsical children’s bedtime story ‘The Magic Shoemaker’ but by 1970 people, in the shape of the record buying public, had very much turned against this sort of thing and it tanked on release. Nowadays, of course, it’s a much sought-after curio.


An enjoyable, psych-infused cover of the Eden Ahbez classic Nature Boy, recorded in 1968 by Gandalf for their only album, an eponymous affair, which featured nice baroque-speckled flourishes but which was largely sabotaged by their record company who released the album in 1969 with the wrong record in the sleeve. The band, understandably failed to recover from this mishap.


Propulsive, mesmerising beats from The Transpersonals, who’s 2011 release, KISS GOODBYE TO FREEWILL (THE PERILS OF CHEERLEADING) is a lysergic mix of euphoric psychedelia. Their cosmically tripped out sound owes as much to Terrence McKenna and Daniel Pinchbeck as it does The Pixies, or The Doors, but their sound transcends their influences, resulting in a giddy rush of kaleidoscopic goodness to the head.


San Francisco psychedelic folk-rock band It’s A Beautiful Day never found the fame accorded their contemporaries Jefferson Airplane or the Grateful Dead, and they missed out playing Woodstock to Santana on the flip of a coin, but they nevertheless enjoyed their day in the (Californian) sunshine with the haunting FM radio staple White Bird, in 1969. Their only album, a self-titled affair, was a combination of San Francisco Bay Area psychedelia, folk, classical and jazz, but they were doomed to be a foot-note to the West Coast psychedelic era.


A groovy little instrumental piece from The Dandelion, which manages to capture something at the heart of the underground psychedelic experience with their mix of musical spells. With a sound like seeds turning into flowers they bring gifts for the Goddess of magical powers, and their 2015 release, the aptly named SEEDS, FLOWERS AND MAGICAL POWERS OF THE DANDELIONS, is a lysergic mix of  kaleidoscopic sounds projecting images of galactic space travel, pagan witchcraft, love, ethereal energies and a blend of East meets West rhythms and melodies.


Possibly the oddest track on this evening’s show, Cree folk-singer Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Poppies is taken from her 1969 release ILLUMINATIONS, the one in which she eschewed the folk stylings of her previous albums and, instead, tried something truly experimental, replacing the more familiar acoustic adornments of her earlier work with voice-based electronics, tubular bells, and an early Buchla synthesizer which weaves mesmerising otherworldly sounds throughout an album which breaks down the barriers between folk music, rock, pop, European avant-garde music and Native American styles. Poppies (For Mr. Allerton) is one of the most tripped out, operatic, druggily beautiful medieval ballads ever psychedelically sung. Despite being one of the most ground-breaking albums ever made – it was also the first to contain quadrophonic vocals - the album sunk without a trace. These days, of course, it’s considered a classic, a unique journey into a world of magic and mystery, chilling and haunted, mythic and ecstatic. God is alive…magic is afoot indeed.


For their third release, HOT MOTION, Temples have pretty much made an album that sits as an amalgamation of their first two – a combination of psych-rock, prog-rock and art-rock that’s as home as much to Tame Impala as it is that difficult patch Pink Floyd inhabited before finding their way post-Syd. The cinematic title track boasts chunky riffs and catchy hooks and enjoys a gloriously technicolour feel, but the album still feels a little safe – I'm still waiting to see where they'll go next.


I dug out Gorky’s BARAFUNDLE album the other day and was blown away at how mesmerizingly inventive it still sounds. The full-on electric crunch of Meirion Wyllt sits alongside tender pastoral psych and medieval left turns. Even though this was to be their major label debut, released in 1997 at the height of Brit-Pop, you never get the impression that the magic mushrooms were too far away.


The city and the country both have distinct, vibrant energies - but there’s something happening in between, too. For their debut album, HOW TO LIVE, Modern Nature explore the weird mix of urban and rural as factories give way to fields, and highways drift into gravelly roads - think of the way a nuclear power station sits next to open grasslands, or the cover of Rob Young's account of England's visionary folk scene, Electric Eden, and you’ll get this album’s reference points. Plaintive cello strains melt into motorik beats, pastoral field recordings drift through looping guitar figures. Turbulence is the album’s most fragile moment, a lilting melody not unlike John Lennon’s Julia, plaintive and reflective – elsewhere the album is all elegance and charm, the dissonance of city sounds married to the breathier tones of the countryside. Quite lovely.


For it’s most recent, and final, release of the year A YEAR IN THE COUNTRY has released THE QUIETENED JOURNEY, an exploration of abandoned and former railways, railway stations and roads; a reflection on them as locations filled with the history, ghosts and spectres of once busy vibrant times - the journeys taken via them, the stories of the lives of those who travelled, built and worked on them.

Nature is slowly reclaiming, or has already reclaimed, much of this infrastructure, with these testaments to industry and “the age of the train” being often left to quietly crumble and decay.

THE QUIETENED JOURNEY is both a celebration and a lament for these now faded links across the land, of the grand dreams and determination which created them and their layered histories that - as these asphalt ribbons, steel lines and stone built roads once prominently were - are threaded throughout the twentieth century and even back to Roman times.

The Séance – St. Etienne’s Pete Wiggs and fellow radio host James Papademetrie – offer up a hauntological treat, something suitably decaying and abandoned.


For his new release, CAVITY SLABS, Ian Hodgson’s Moon Wiring Club are exploring the eerily wonky world of Northern Edwardian-Neo-Elizabethan Psychedelic Hallucinatory Occult Landscape Breakbeat, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the album, except to add that this is rave music to be enjoyed in a haunted manor house.


Given that it’s the time of year when people make lists and proclamations of one sort or another, this seems as good a time as any to note that Vanishing Twin’s AGE OF IMMUNOLOGY is pretty much my album of the year. It is an album perfectly at home to its reference points - Brazilian psych-jazz, narcotic northern soul, Krautrock, Sun Ra, Ennio Morricone and Serge Gainsbourg can all be found here, but the album transcends these influences to inhabit the psych-pop soundscapes explored by Broadcast. This isn’t a lazy comparison – Vanishing Twin are the natural successors to Broadcast’s legacy, effortlessly weaving their style through multiple mediums. You Are Not An Island is a serene and beautiful meditational odyssey beamed in from a future we never really experienced.


I only came across this last week, the recording having received a mention in Mick Houghton’s epic account of his years as a publicist to just about all my favourite bands, ‘Fried and Justified’. It seems that in 1993, some time after walking away from the music industry, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty felt compelled to release the track as a limited edition single in Israel and Palestine in acknowledgement of the brave steps taken by the then Israeli Government and the PLO to search for some middle ground by which they might come together. Up until that point, the track had been recorded but wasn’t scheduled to be released until world peace was established (i.e. never), but they thought that the two historically antagonistic parties coming together in the spirit of peace was deserving of some kind of recognition (you couldn’t imagine anything like this happening nowadays under the current Israeli administration, say). Featuring The Red Army Choir, there were plans to broadcast the track from the main stage of the 1993 Glastonbury Festival at the beginning and end of every day, but these were scuppered by festival organiser Michael Eavis because, in his words, the record was "simply dreadful".
I think it enjoys a certain something, though.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019


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“In a sense, a record really is a ghost: it’s a trace of a musician’s body, the after-imprint of breath and a spectre, a recorded musician is at once present and absent”
                                                                            Simon Reynolds


For an album that deals exclusively with the occult, Satan, black magic, demons, secret spells and things of that nature in general, the most remarkable thing about SACRIFICE, released in 1970, is how nice it sounds; one would almost call it polite. Flutes and organs abound, in a 70s prog fashion, and they’re not afraid to inject some strings for a bit of symphonic atmosphere. Despite this, their early use of satanic imagery (which included the symbolic sacrifice of a nude virgin on stage), inevitably drew parallels with Black Sabbath, but I think Black Sabbath were a little less melodic and went at it a bit harder. In truth, there was a lot of this sort of thing going on as the 60s drew to a close. Occult bookshops were selling Crowley alongside Tolkein; the Tarot, I Ching, astrology, kabbala, yogis, UFOs, the Tibetan Book of the Dead and witchcraft became common currency as the counter-culture searched for alternative goings-on to mainstream society. It was a magical revolution. I wish I’d been there.


You’ll no doubt be surprised to discover that the makers of this scorching garage work-out were, in fact, a band of Franciscan monks. I know that I was. They managed to release two singles until, I should think, the head Abbott found out about it and requested that they get back to doing whatever it is that monks actually do - I’ve always fondly imagined that it has something to do with tending a humble herb garden, or producing over-priced tonic wine. Ghost Power,  a whacked-out bit of spooky psych-rock, evokes the rawness of the garage band era of 1966 but was, in fact, released in 1970.


Something of a dirge in the otherwise pretty Strawberry Alarm Clock oeuvre, The Curse Of The Witches focuses upon the woeful tale of the narrator who relates the tragic tale of his life: a mother accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake; a young daughter who suffers a similar fate, and a wife who dies of a broken heart: all, essentially, attributable to the hands of a vengeful puritanical mob - you know, Christians (can’t live with ‘em - can’t throw them to the lions). The orchestration includes a xylophone which can usually be relied upon to cheer things up, but in this case, it simply adds to the discordant nature of the song. Things don’t get any more cheery from here on out either - having lost his last friend in the world, he finds that “the love I had for the town had completely turned to hate”, and turning his back on God and his religion, he awaits a blissful release from his travails, probably by suicide. Dense and repetitive, it’s not what you’d call a cheerful song, then. You can find it on the band’s second album, WAKE UP...IT’S TOMORROW, released in 1968, a record otherwise characterised by melodic vocal harmonies and gentle, sun-dappled psychedelia.


Although Mind De-Coder takes no responsibility for the veracity of the spells included in the show, here’s a ‘harmless’ love spell (Buffy fans may well be reminded that your ‘harmless’ love spell may have unintended consequences) from Gundella, a green witch of Scottish descent, part of a Detroit area coven, and author of multiple books and a newspaper column which sought to solve everyday problems from a Wiccan perspective. On her ridiculously obscure album, THE HOUR OF THE WITCH, released in 1971, Gundella helps you test your psychic powers, make ritualistic candles, and mold wax dolls. She  also defines witchcraft and magic (it appears to help if you’re green-fingered and handy in the kitchen), and teaches you how to cast spells to not only make somebody love you, but also how to discourage an unwanted suitor, all accompanied by a perfectly atmospheric and esoteric soundscape created by her son, James Mulleague (on the recent re-release of the album her daughter provides copious notes - a family affair, then). Just remember what happened to Xander, that’s all I’m saying.


Carolanne Pegg learned her chops playing fiddle with dark acid-folksters Mr. Fox, but it is with her one solo album, 1973’s self-titled affair, that she really came into her own. The album is a sublime example of acid-tinged progressive folk-rock that manages to combine the edgy theatricality of Kate Bush with a warm bucolic sensibility that evokes a lost dark-folk world that never was. You’d have to be a  hard-hearted villain of almost Shakespearian qualities to not find A Witches Guide To The Underground charming, but the rest of the album is as equally alluring.


Taken from their classic 1968 release, THE HANGMAN’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER, The Witches Hat presents The Incredible String Band in all their minstrel-like, unmelodic, but otherwise pastoral, glory.


A vignette or interlude or, indeed, episode from the album THE BOOK OF THE LOST, released in 2014, the result of a year-long collaboration by Emily Jones and The Rowan Amber Mill, inspired by a love of 60s and 70s cheap British horror movies, and the folk horror genre in particular. The album is a complete soundtrack to a set of imaginary folk horror films and an accompanying TV series, THE BOOK OF THE LOST. With the likes of The Wicker Man, Witchfinder General, Blood on Satan's Claw and Psychomania
 as reference points, they constructed a number of their own cult horror movies, complete with synopsis, cast , crew and production companies, and then created a soundtrack with dialogue pieces of which Back I Command You, is but one example - based on these imaginary films. To tie up their dark gathering of lost movies they used the device of a decidedly low budget television series called 'The Book Of The Lost' which would play these films (fittingly) in the graveyard slot - the sort of film you would set the timer on your video for and watch the next day. The album took its name from this imaginary series.


You get the impression that Coven were the real thing, unlike Black Widow, say, who, by comparison, were merely dabbling. Coven, also, featured a bassist called “Oz” Osbourne and the opening track on their debut album, WITCHCRAFT DESTROYS MINDS AND STEALS SOULS, released in 1969, was called Black Sabbath a full year before Ozzy Osbourne’s Black Sabbath became a thing (although, in fairness, Black Sabbath’s monolithic title track is way better than anything Coven ever came up with) and were possibly the first band to feature occult and Satanic imagery on stage, including the introduction of that whole devil horns thing. Formed in 1968 around singer Jinx Dawson (cool name, which is why I mention it) their debut album spawned a diffuse mix of psychedelic prog rock and pop under a veritable catalogue of deeply occult lyrics which also contained a now-infamous poster depicting a Black Mass, where band members and associates dressed in monks' robes hoisted torches and upside-down crosses over a naked Dawson, who herself served as the object of their human sacrifice.The album was withdrawn by the record company following the Manson murders after which things of a hippie-occultish nature swiftly fell out of fashion. The band never really recovered from this set-back and split up shortly thereafter, but almost any band since then that trades on Satanic imagery has Coven to thank for instigating the whole thing. Satanic Mass, of course, isn’t a song so much as a performance piece, and you probably never need to hear it more than once, but here’s the thing...I’m not a betting man, but I’d be prepared to gamble $5 that this track is where Butthole Surfers found their “Satan! Satan! Satan!” sample at the beginning of Sweat Loaf.

(many thanks to my Auntie Shirley and her husband Ted for their unsolicited contribution)


Icarus were pretty much a couple of session musicians who released this as a single in 1968 to cash in on the publicity surrounding Hammer’s production of Dennis Wheatley’s diabolic masterpiece ‘The Devil Rides Out’. Despite the publicity surrounding the film, the single wasn't a hit, but the track was blasted out over the PA at the film premiere, despite not actually featuring in the film.


Sinister garage vibes featuring reverbed guitars, echoed vocals and a very eerie organ riff do justice to another track inspired by a spooky novel - in this case, Washington Irving’s “The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow”. Released in 1966 by The Last Word, a band about which I know next to nothing (and, in fairness, neither does anyone else - unless YOU know better).


As is sadly the case with this band. The Troubled Mind originated in Napier before moving to Auckland in 1967 and released 3 singles, of which this isn’t one. I think The Devil Is A Woman was recorded for a radio spot round about this time and seems to owe a little something to cult UFO house band, and Mind De-Coder favourites, Tomorrow. You can find it on the revelatory compilation A DAY IN MY MIND’S MIND, a round-up of New Zealand’s psychedelic music scene between 1966 and 1971, released in 2005 and well worth five bob of your pocket money.


In 2018, the wonderful  A Year In The Country  website released THE CORN MOTHER, in which various artists of a hauntological/pastoral bent provide the soundtrack for an imaginary film of the same name, namely an early 1970s folk horror-esque screenplay which supposedly made the rounds of the film industry but remained unmade until 1982... In this alternate reality the film was completed but was never released and knowledge of the whereabouts of the footage became lost, though subsequent rumours suggest that it may even have been deliberately destroyed...

Or so the story goes.

The Pulselovers provide Beat her Down, a song which  revolves around the folklore of the “corn mother” - where the last row of the corn harvest is beaten to the ground by the reapers as they shout “There she is! Knock her into the ground, don’t let her get away!”, in an attempt to drive the spirit of the corn mother back into the earth for next year’s sowing. Spooky and foreboding, it sits somewhere between Paul Giovanni’s soundtrack for ‘The Wicker Man’ Marc Wilkinson’s OST for ‘the Blood On Satan’s Claw’, or, to bring it right up to date, Bobby Krlic’s score for Ari Aster’s ‘Midsommar’, more of which later.

(On an entirely incidental note - I spend my whole life worrying that one day I'll be innocently walking down the street only to be confronted by a mob of people shouting: "There he is! Quick! Get him! Don't let him get away!")


The Eccentronic Research Council are a self-styled collective of artists, sound designers, experimental pop performers, writers and poets, led primarily by Sheffield musicians Adrian Flanagan and Dean Honer - formerly of The All Seeing I. For their 2016 release, 1612 OVERTURE, they conjured up a beguiling brew of elektronische, keyboard-led psych, synth-pop and analogue ambient to act as the musical accompaniment to a prose poem. The narration – mainly carried out by the brilliant Maxine Peake – is based around a (part fictional) account of a psychogeographical trip taken by a priest and a nun from Salford to Pendle to learn more about the town's most notorious daughters, murdered by the state exactly 400 years ago. This scaled back British road trip (undertaken in a Hillman Minx) also takes in a Visitor's Centre, complete with audio guide by Dr. Who and, in From The Grave To The Freshcoes Late, the graveyard in which Alice Nutter, one of the 12 women accused and hanged as a result of the Pendle witch hunt, is buried.

It all sounds a bit much but it is, in fact, a hugely enjoyable listen. The album finishes with a witch's curse on, what was at the time, Cameron's Britain which, what with one thing and another, seems to have come to fruition.


Another how-to album, this one from Barbara, The Gray Witch (‘Witchcraft has never looked better’) who shares the secrets of her craft over a double album, released in 1968. Featuring discussions on the history of modern witchcraft, incantations and a song or two accompanied by experimental electronica of a musique concrete nature, this album is a fascinating artifact from the period.  There’s not much more to be said about it as it is something of an obscurity in a show of obscurities, but Witches Love Song is as weird and a pretty as anything I’ve ever played on Mind De-Coder and I consider this album a bit of a find. A quick Google search reveals that Barbara is still practicing as a psychic in Portland.


Children Of The Stones, of course, is one of your classic cult children’s productions from the 1970s, a linchpin in your hauntological circles and arguably the scariest programme ever made for children. Much of this is due to composer Sidney Sagar’s eerie choral score performed so memorably by the Ambrosian Singers. This track is possibly the most haunting on the show.


Justin Hopper, an American writer, is a wyrd anglophile with an esoteric fascination with Chanctonbury Ring, a prehistoric hillfort atop Chanctonbury Hill on the West Sussex Downs. His album, CHANCTONBURY RING, is a spoken word and music collaboration with folk musician Sharron Kraus, and Ghost Box’s Belbury Poly. Based on live performances of Hopper’s 2017 book The Old Weird Albion, it’s a poetical, autobiographical and psychogeographical account of his experiences at Chanctonbury Ring blending folk, electronic music, poetry, prose and environmental sound. Kraus’s electro-acoustic soundscapes and songs interweave with Hopper’s rich, intimate narration, ae evidenced on this eerie track, Breath, in which Hopper seems to suggest that ghosts are a lot more commonplace than you might think. One of my favourite albums of the year.


Named after Japanese vampire demons, Rokurokubi are a kaleidoscopic acid-folk group based in Brighton, gathered around singer-songwriter Rose Dutton. Their debut album, SATURN IN PISCES, is a mesmerising dark fairy-tale bound together by lush instrumentals, flute trills, and string melodies laced with references to the macabre. Little Lamb tells the tale of a soul led astray - elsewhere obsession, damnation, sex, death and dark magic set the imagination a-trembling.


Dom Cooper’s What’s Been Uncovered Is Evil is taken from the most recent release by A Year In The Country, ECHOES AND REVERBERATIONS, a field recording based mapping of real and imaginary film and television locations. It is in part an exploration of their fictional counterparts’ themes - from apocalyptic tales to never-were documentaries and phantasmagorical government-commissioned instructional films via stories of conflicting mystical forces of the past and present, scientific experiments gone wrong and unleashed on the world, the discovery of buried ancient objects and the reawakening of their malignant alien influence, progressive struggles in a world of hidebound rural tradition and the once optimism of post-war new town modernism.
Dom Cooper contribution is influenced by the classic broadcast ‘Quatermass and the Pit’, which appears to have made an indelible impression upon him (and many others in your hauntological circles). Inspired by Tristram Cary, who made electronic pieces for the series, Cooper visited the graveyard in Powells Walk, Chiswick (a Quatermass location) where he recorded ambient sounds and then manipulated them like tape; slowing them down and mixing in primitive electronics to create what can only be described as an eerie atmosphere.


So what’s the most nightmarish film you’ve seen this year? For me, Ari Aster’s ‘Midsommar’ has caused a few sleepless nights, and Bobby Krlic's ominous, transfixing score played some part in scaring off the sheep. Comparisons to The Wicker Man are not without foundation, and Midsommar certainly fits in with any definition of folk-horror you might wish to offer, but Krlic’s soundtrack is a thing apart, by turns gorgeous and terrifying, pastoral and deranged. Bobby Krlic is better known as The Haxan Cloak, an experimental electronic composer who, for Midsommar, has produced a foreboding score that groans and screeches, reflecting the film’s moments of panic, shock and surprise. Entirely immersive and overwhelmingly unnerving. Enjoy.


Now this comes with a story.
Movement The Third comes from Beausoleil’s soundtrack to Kenneth Anger’s occult classic ‘Lucifer Rising’ and was recorded by Beausoleil and his band, The Freedom Orchestra, which consisted of fellow inmates from Deuel Vocational Institution (also known as Tracy Prison), where Beausoleil was serving life for the murder of his friend Gary Hinman. Beausoleil was one of Manson’s Family and it is thought that Hinman’s murder was the first committed by the Family that set in motion the Helter Skelter scenario that Manson envisioned and preached would happen in the near future in America.
The film follows the story of Lucifer awakening in his pit of despair, rekindling his torch, and rising like a phoenix from the ashes of his own unmaking to begin his long journey from the dark recesses of the underworld — shedding his pride along the way in his uncompromising desire to regain the Beloved. Beausoleil drew on his own life experiences to  create  dark and sinister sounding music that gradually evolves to a brighter and more uplifting finale, demonstrated, I think, in the mystical beauty of this Movement which sits somewhere between Pink Floyd and Debussy. Although the film was released in 1972, Beausoleil’s soundtrack didn’t actually emerge until 1980 and is a whole other story in itself.
Sentenced in 1970, I believe he was up for parole earlier this year but, just like the other 18 times in the past 49 years, the recommendation was denied by the Governor of California. This may have had something to do with Beausoleil’s declaration in court whereupon he said: I'm at war with everybody in this courtroom. It's nothing personal but... you better pray I never get out”, which is possibly scarier than anything else in the show.


Hen Ogledd (which is the Welsh name for 'The Old North', the region covering southern Scotland and northern England in the early Middle Ages, fact fans!) have produced in MOGIC, released earlier this year, an album that pretty much does what it says on the label - the label being, in this instance, a mixture of ‘magic’ and ‘logic’. The playfully funky Tiny Witch Hunter is a discombobulating pop prayer on an album which experiments with sonic collage and curious effects, exploring artificial intelligence, witches, nanotechnology, pre-medieval history, robots, romance, computer games and waterfalls.


The Heartwood Institute is Jonathan Sharp, a sound designer and composer of library music, whose third album, SECRET RITES, released last year,  combines kosmische krautrock grooves with a series of 70’s folk horror soundtracks, trailers and occult documentaries from the late sixties and early seventies. I think Witchcraft ‘70 samples the trailer of the film ‘Witchcraft 70’, an exploitation B-movie which claims to show black magic rites across the globe in such satanic hot-spots as New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, California and, of course, Southampton. This is the sound of hauntronica from the heart of the English Lake District.


She Rocola’s Burn The Witch, a hallucinatory and haunting piece of folk noir, exists as a sort of aural equivalent  to a Hammer Horror film condensed into two minutes and twenty seconds. Released by the A Year In The Country website as part of its occasional audiological case studies series in 2014, it’s a track inspired by childhood memories of late-night folk-horror films from in front of and behind the sofa.


Comus represented the other side of the hippie pastoral idyll - while other acid-folk artists were getting high in sun-dappled meadows and skipping through fields of (Berkshire) poppies, Comus released
one of the most potentially disturbing and terrifying albums ever recorded.  Unleashed upon an unsuspecting London that was still swinging like a pendulum do in 1971, FIRST UTTERANCE featured a particularly singular vision of bacchanalian excess, one which celebrated tales of woodland murder, rape, paganism, violence, madness, and the macabre. The sales, as you might imagine, were quite weak, but over the years the album has garnered a cult like following and is now rightly considered the dark classic that lies at the hidden heart of your acid-folk genre. One to put on when you want everyone to leave.


Wolves Of The Sun exist as one of the various artists invented by Psychic TV for their album JACK THE TAB/TEKNO ACID BEAT back in 1990. It was possibly Britain’s first acid house album, but one filled with interesting interludes of which Last Night is one.


And just to prove that the devil really does have all the best tunes, here’s Princess Ramona, The Cherokee Princess, incapable of not yodeling when it comes to praising the Lord and what have you. Daughter of Chief Standing Horse, Princess Ramona has traveled the globe singing, yodeling and spreading the Gospel to enthusiastic audiences, from paupers to kings, around the globe for more than 50 years. Just imagine that for a moment. Her album YODELING PRAISES UNTO THE LORD is so obscure no one actually knows when it was remains a timeless curiosity.

Then I start To Yodel is sadly cut short by a quick evisceration. It’s a good word, isn’t it? Evisceration….