Urthona's short but intense set at Chalkwell Hall last Saturday was part of Metal's Feelgood Cafe exhibition/series of events curated by Colette Bailey (Metal's managing director), Simon Poulter (UK artist and curator) and Justin Hopper (US writer and curator) - it runs until 12th December 2014.
This gig was perfect as it corresponded with me concluding my work on The Book of Thoth and beginning a new page - literally - with The Right Place, a novel set in Dorset and heavily inspired by and rooted in its landscape and history.
Urthona belongs to its very own genre, Heavy Rural. Sounds good to me! (the name of the project comes from William Blake's mythological writings).
Instead of focussing on portraying the countryside as something a bit twee populated by blond people who look like they've just escaped from a hipster-approved pseudo-folk video, Urthona's music expresses the dark side, the mystery and the fury of the natural world and passes on the echoes of the ancient civilisations that once populated our land. We hear it all in the saturated guitar, the alien electronic sounds and the plaintive sounds of the flute and pipes. It's all here: the extreme weather, the furious waves, the howling winds, the rushing, flowing water of the rivers, the bubbling lava burrowed deep underneath the surface, the brooding moors where you can easily lose your sense of direction. It's an uncompromising landscape thankfully deprived of any human presence; this is music that listens to the memory of our ancient past etched onto the natural environment; it reveres the spirit of the earth.
Behind the three musicians (Neil Mortimer on guitar, Mark Pilkington - editor of Strange Attractor - on analogue electronics, Michael J York on flute and pipes), we are treated to projections showing proud dolmens and ancient stones, foggy moors and trees with their bark all cracked by the passing centuries but still refusing to give up.
Wonderfully atmospheric and evocative.
Unfortunately, the light was very low and therefore my pictures are not exactly very good...
I think therefore I write.
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