Friday, 5 November 2010

Anworth Kirk

A new chance to investigate witch cults of the digital age, but who are (or is) the mysterious Anworth Kirk? The name, for starters, is of a location used in ‘The Wicker Man’. Word is that there’s some affiliation with Demdike Stare, but it’s all very hush-hush. And how to describe this music? The format is vinyl, it’s lasts around 22mins, plays at 45rpm and each track segues into the next. So what does it sound like? It reminds me of The Focus Group in parts, but from another angle, one which plunders obscure soundtracks and samples for a sonic collage utilising delicate electronica alongside acoustic flavours such as a Free Jazz(?) drum solo snippet with Africa percussion, a harp, and violin. The A-Side contains a simple electric guitar riff which provides the melodic hook. Also on the A (I haven’t bothered working out the track titles yet), there’s some advice about how to get answers to your problems by singing to the moon, which has to be done whilst sitting in a rocking chair, and that’s useful, I’m sure you’ll agree.
   There’s further advice on the B-Side as to how a girl can get a boy to love her, which involves making a paste out of his hair, spit, blood and nails, then...well, you’ll have to buy the record, and really, with tips like these included, how can you resist? Whacky samples do not a great record make, as you’ll know from many an average breakbeat or hip-hop tune, but twinned with the kind of musical imagination displayed here, they greatly enhance its charm as integral components rather than gimmicky add-ons. Yes, it’s part horror soundtrack too, but never overplays that clich├ęd source of inspiration. There are evocations (?) in Latin, and the kind of breathy terror Morricone might use, even the squawk of a crow somewhere in the background, but such commonly-used signifiers of fear are very restrained. Talking of restraint, the use of a double bass is also superb. All-in-all, an astounding record.

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