ECHOES AND REVERBERATIONS / ARTIST: VARIOUS / LABEL: A YEAR IN THE COUNTRY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW / WHERE TO BUY: BANDCAMP
A Year in the Country began as a blog, with weekly entries dedicated to exploring a pastoral (with the emphasis on past) theme; this is a furrow ploughed by fellow travellers Ghost Box, Clay Pipe Music, and the accidental spokesman for what’s become known as the “haunted generation”, Bob Fischer. Think The Wicker Man and Threads, Quatermass and Children of the Stones, public information films and the Children’s Film Foundation; A Year in the Country resides squarely in the centre of this most hauntological hamlet, which is seemingly deserted, of course.
Over the past four years, A Year in the Country has released various “Artifacts”: books, art prints and music recordings, all designed to collect reflections on a half-remembered world, less concerned with what’s solid and tangible, and more bothered with filling in the gaps with feelings, evocations, and embellishments.
Echoes and Reverberations is their latest expedition into that lost time and space, and the ten tracks curated here take their inspiration from some of the standards of the hauntological genre as well as some of its lesser-known morsels. Amongst the hypnotic electronica from Grey Frequency, Listening Center and The Heartwood Institute are recreations of the atmospheres of Penda’s Fen, Survivors and No Blade of Grass, as well as pieces inspired by the scripts and soundtracks of imaginary films. The music is enhanced by field recordings from the length and breadth of our sceptred isles - from a suspension bridge in Herefordshire, a church in Worcestershire, a graveyard in Chiswick and a viaduct in the Lake District – and the end result is bewitching and enthralling, transporting you from wherever you’re hiding out the current hellscape to more comfortable, if apocalyptic, times and places.
For those of us of a certain age – that haunted generation – the rise of these thoughtful evocations, in hand with the re-release of long-thought-forgotten TV and film from our youth, is filling in a gap. Those older than us were seldom bothered with the popular culture from their youth, and those younger have it all laid out for them on YouTube. Echoes and Reverberations is many things, then: time capsule, sonic curation, therapy. It just also happens to be really, really good.