Mikroakustički aforizmi: bariton, harfa, elektronički derviši...
“We find the whole world in tiny things.”
With Spoicke, United Bible Studies continues its examination of textured improvised stillness, or what Simon Cummings referred to as a “loose weave tapestry, where broad gestures sit comfortably beside more intricate, filigree passages.” Recorded for the 2009 VPRO festival in Amsterdam, Spoicke introduces baritone Scarborough-Fair minstrelsy and whirling electronic dervishes in the same breath. Billowing curtains of harp and voice are incised with guitar, percussion and lyrical aphorisms. Not so much inventive as it is self-inventing, and not so much electroacoustic as it is dreamscaped and CTRL+Shifted, this deceptively complex composing ethic will reach out to the acoustic purists and the electron snipers in almost equal measures. And don’t even say the word genre out loud.
If it occurred to us, we could assemble the ghosts-nay, the magicians-of acoustic guitar, lap steel guitar, piano, harp, harmonica, electronics and drum, then stir in some Amsterdam mythology to taste, and our results might come close to Spoicke. But that is what makes United Bible Studies so extraordinary: it would never have occurred to us. Fluid Audio presents Spoicke in a limited edition CD run of 77 for the world, with letter-pressed CD cover, homemade sewn fabric pouch, 300gsm double sided luxury postcard, handmade Larch Elder Futhark rune that has had the symbol burnt into it and finished with natural beeswax, mini card, printed insert with download code, black envelope, all stamped, numbered and sealed. Oh yes and of course some fire resin incense.
The cover design…
The design is variants of the same composition, but the details are different – the idea is that they represent alchemical concepts of the unity of opposites. Day and night (front and back cover) scenery also represent life and death of the magician, who’s ghost Doppelgänger haunted the city after his death.
The symbols represent Three Principles, Four Elements, planets and metals. The fact that the title hero was from Amsterdam was truly helpful and inspiring, allowing us to include all four elements/representations in the scenery: air (sky), earth (ground and buildings), fire (sun) and water (river). - www.fluid-radio.co.uk/
The 77 hard copies of Spoicke sold out swiftly, and it would be cruel of us to go on about Fluid’s exquisite packaging, so we won’t; we will, however, tell you that you really need to be on the Fluid Audio mailing list so you won’t miss out next time. Photos of the release can be found by clicking the link below. Fortunately, this evocative release is about much more than the physical presentation, and if you like them on Facebook, United Bible Studies might be generous enough to send you a free download. If it follows the pattern of other limited editions from the band, Spoicke may eventually be available on Bandcamp as well.
I Am Providence (2012) streamingRecorded in one day in Providence, Rhode Island on their 2008 US tour, I Am Providence is utterly unique even in the discography of United Bible Studies. The band performed a musicial ritual at HP Lovecraft's graveside then an a capella house show that evening with locals Alec K Redfearn, Orion Rigel Dommisse, Manbeard and their touring companion Sharron Kraus.
"All I remember from that day in Swan Point Cemetary ….
My several thousand miles of dad rock-beaten ears were looking forward to the silent tranquillity of a graveyard. How unrealistic. We were more than 2 weeks into the tour. It was 2008. It was hot. With some help we found Lovecraft’s grave. I was never the greatest fan, so I took the opportunity to wander off, find some shade, and lounge (which is prohibited at Swan Point Cemetery, although 5 Europeans singing or dancing around a grave seems to be okay). It wasn’t long into my illicit lounging that I started to hear the music, drifting. The music was not clear to me, more undulating, like a warped tape. This was better than silent tranquillity. I am Providence.
At Chris and Sandra's house that night, UBS performed a very special show, improvised and without any instruments. That day in Providence was a particular highlight of the tour, and these two recordings capture why."
- Michael Lawrence, October 2012
United Bible Studies & Jozef van Wissem, Downland (2011) streaming
Improv Lutist and outer-fringes collaborator extraordinaire Wissem here joins hands with cult Irish types United Bible Studies. From the off this is a lush sounding record, title track 'Downland' sounding a little like James Blackshaw gone all cosmic and that with whooshing astral noises & an ominous drone being the undercurrent beneath some sweet thoughtful guitar. UBS vocalist Alison O' Donell pops up with her wide-eyed theatrical tones on the second track 'Seven Tears', a song imbued with meandering psych-rock elements under the jaunty acoustic guitar. Side one ends with a piece of stuttering, stumbling de-tuned experimentation that remains largely listenable due to its use of field recordings, intimate acoustics & blatant drunken charm. The opening track of side two sounds quite demented in a barking acid folk pixie way. Has me thinking of Comus or Gong in spirit. It's certainly a wide-eyed cyclic, gibbering sprite of a tune. Like the space invader noise throughout. You can never have too many space invader noises on a record. On the subsequent tune Wissem's feminine vocals are found fleshing-out an impassioned piece of haughty folk minimalism. The penultimate track is a more challenging, difficult beast that folds both ethereal, medieval & discordant rock elements. One for fans of Trembling Bells & the more esoteric end of Appendix Out, the closer is a magical dream-like folk-rock piece with choral vocals, chiming acoustic interplay and there's even what sounds like a hurdy gurdy in there. A cracking conclusion to a most interesting and diverse collection. - Brian, www.normanrecords.com
As much as you try to deny it, we as human are so impacted by the weather: we choose where we live based on it, we choose what we do based on it, and finally, we choose to what we listen. As much as I love Radulescu, his string quartets just do not sit well with me on a sunny and sixty Saturday morning. So when I went around today saying, "How about that weather on Sunday, am I right?" intimately connected with that sentiment is fond remembrances of lazing in the grass listening to Huntly Town, ignoring any and all responsibilities. The melodies are simple, the guitar work seldom exceeds stock folk, but the atmosphere is undeniable; the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This Dublin group demands days drenched in vitamin D, and brisk, sweater nights. Let United Bible Studies proselytize the good book of springtime. - killed in cars