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What is psych folk...?

theleveller 05 Oct 10 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,Ed 05 Oct 10 - 08:43 AM
theleveller 05 Oct 10 - 08:10 AM
GUEST 05 Oct 10 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 05 Oct 10 - 07:41 AM
GUEST,Ed 05 Oct 10 - 06:53 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 05 Oct 10 - 06:49 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 05 Oct 10 - 06:36 AM
Ruth Archer 05 Oct 10 - 05:21 AM
Jack Blandiver 05 Oct 10 - 05:02 AM
GUEST,glumman 05 Oct 10 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 05 Oct 10 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,glumman 05 Oct 10 - 04:25 AM
Ruth Archer 05 Oct 10 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 05 Oct 10 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,gloomman 05 Oct 10 - 04:14 AM
theleveller 05 Oct 10 - 04:13 AM
Ruth Archer 05 Oct 10 - 03:57 AM
Ruth Archer 05 Oct 10 - 03:56 AM
LesB 05 Oct 10 - 03:49 AM
theleveller 05 Oct 10 - 03:43 AM
Continuity Jones 05 Oct 10 - 03:41 AM
theleveller 05 Oct 10 - 03:23 AM
Ruth Archer 05 Oct 10 - 03:11 AM
Ralphie 05 Oct 10 - 02:56 AM
GUEST,john miles of smiles 04 Oct 10 - 08:16 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Oct 10 - 05:37 PM
Continuity Jones 04 Oct 10 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 04 Oct 10 - 03:58 PM
Richard Bridge 04 Oct 10 - 03:38 PM
brezhnev 04 Oct 10 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Oct 10 - 11:01 AM
SophFFS 04 Oct 10 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 04 Oct 10 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,John Miles of Smiles 04 Oct 10 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,glueman 04 Oct 10 - 08:41 AM
theleveller 04 Oct 10 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 04 Oct 10 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 04 Oct 10 - 07:46 AM
theleveller 04 Oct 10 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,glueman 04 Oct 10 - 07:12 AM
theleveller 04 Oct 10 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,glueman 04 Oct 10 - 06:32 AM
theleveller 04 Oct 10 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 04 Oct 10 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 04 Oct 10 - 06:15 AM
theleveller 04 Oct 10 - 06:11 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 04 Oct 10 - 06:08 AM
Jack Blandiver 04 Oct 10 - 05:27 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 04 Oct 10 - 04:22 AM
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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 08:52 AM

Usual mindless unpleasantness - it was only a matter of time.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 08:43 AM

Pretentious? Moi?

Yawn! I no longer need to explain 'hackneyed' to my visiting German friends, so thanks for that.

You'll be telling me how good a session they're having in Heaven next....


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 08:10 AM

"Do you have to be pretentious to post here?"

Pretentious? Moi?


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:52 AM

Plenty of psychfolk (and psyche everything else) here: www.hcmf.co.uk


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 07:41 AM

Rapunzel's slowly turning me around to Nick Drake - I enjoyed what I heard on the recent TV documentary & his mother's songs were a revelation. It takes me all my time get across the class divide however, which is a problem I have with Hippiedom as a whole, much less Psychedlic Folk as a whole which is far more conservative with respect of its own aesthetic than it is dissident of another. As for shadows and the abyss, at times it's as if the whole thing has been scripted by Mark Gatis, the self-appointed curator of The Strange in terms of media slickness, but at this time of year I'm always open to that anyway - be it Nigel Kneale or MR James, though in musical terms so much of it comes out sounding just a little too mannered - unlike Jim Eldon (see link below) who is genuinely frightening in such matters. When it comes to Psych Horror Darkness, then Folk has a long way to go to get to the likes of Jawbone and the Air Rifle or The Impression of J Temperence, though I reckon Jim Eldon could over them both with aplomb.

Ed - Psych Folk is more about aproach than genre; it is being open to sonic possibility in terms of expansion rather than self-indulgence per se (which is critical short-hand for saying I give up, I need help). At the end of the day though, process outweighs product, and as Tony Bennet so beautifully sang, the best is always yet to come. BTW - if pushed I call what I do Proxial Indo-European No-Age Exotica, although I see someone's pinched No-Age which is a pain. I'm closing the Folk Door now and going back to Bitches Brew.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:53 AM

Do you have to be pretentious to post here?

Probably, I guess

I like a lot of the music that Sean Breadin posts on youtube and myspace, and I also think that he talks a good deal of drivel.

That's fair enough, I can only manage the latter.

Whether his music is 'psych folk' or not is questionable, but as I couldn't define it, what's the point?

It does seem that some people have mistakenly regarded the term 'psych' as meaning psychological rather than psychedelic

Anyhow, each to their own, and lets throw away some of the stylistic boxes that we like to force people into.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:49 AM

Fair point about 'orses for courses above, Suibhne, but how could anyone fail to be moved by this?

River Man


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 06:36 AM

Ah, my dear, Ruth! I cherish the rare owld times before e'er this bad blood came between us when we billed & cooed in sweet accord over WAV's interminable thread-bare rhetoric or else delighted in a mutual appreciation of Frances de la Tour. Where did it all go wrong, eh? Ah yes - Jim Causley's Rolling of the Stones which did make me feel slightly queazy, but only as an indication to the extent which such music has come adrift from The Tradition it claims to be representing. But that wasn't a personal attack (as I openly acknowledged when the man himself did enter the fray) merely an expression of a personal reaction to a particular approach which I personally find a little too wistful, or else mawkishly elfish for my tastes, but which is no doubt ideal for its intended audience who are, in any case, very welcome to it Likewise Shirley & Dolly Collins, Trembling Bells, Nick Drake, Current 93, Jim Eldon, or any of the music touched upon here - if you like it, fine, if you don't that's fine too.

Love what you love; love what you are.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:21 AM

Well, your obnoxious turn of phrase in slagging off other musicians - saying that listening to their CDs made you want to throw up - was certainly what inspired me to new heights. You do have an exceptionally high regard for both your own music and your own tastes - the evidence is spread over Mudcat for anyone who cares to look. I can't help finding it kind of funny that anyone who thinks your music is, for want of a better phrase, acres of self-regarding wank, must, by your own criteria, simply be too parochial or thick-eared to "understand" it.

So do feel free to simply write me off, dear Spinachy O'Popeye. I am clearly inhabiting a lesser musical plane than yourself, but am quite happy to wallow down here with the other sad, limited and misinformed parochials. Have fun with the elves.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 05:02 AM

I like Tam Lin in theory, but it rarely works out in practise. That said, a singer called Roger (whose second name I do not know; he dances with Hexham Morris and has at least one beautiful daughter who is a fine singer too) made it come alive in The Cumberland Arms, Byker last October - and I recall being similarly thrilled by Mike Waterson's version but it must be 20 years since I last heard it.

My favourite spooky ballad right now (for the season, natch) is Child #79; Jim Eldon's variant is especially worthy of note:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFsakSeVZV4

*

I think that's one I reserve specially for you.

On a point of accuracy, Ruth, it's actually one you reserve specially for me when slagging me off to other Mudcatters in PMs, but we'll let that pass. Indebted to your obnoxious turn of phrase otherwise, I've used it as a title for a piece I did back in February for bass guitar, kaossilator & 5-string violin. Though I like it as a whole, it gets really good after the 11.20 mark.

Acres of Self-Regarding Wank


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glumman
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:40 AM

Aye, and all folkies are beardie geography teachers.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:39 AM

Of course, in the realms of Nietzchean abyssal consciousness the serendipity of aimless thought is counterpoised by the gyroscopically inclined planes of moving artifacts. Oppose that with Jungian feelings of aimless loss and the mediocrity of integral calculus and you're getting close to the very essence of Psych Folk - whatever that is ... ?


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glumman
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:25 AM

I always liked Tam Lin.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:24 AM

"acres of self-regarding wank"

I think that's one I reserve specially for you.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:20 AM

though I still fail to see what it has to do with Shirley Collins

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iDacljhKv4

Otherwise - steady on there Ruth, you've almost exhausted your stock of derogatory cliches in three posts. All we need now is acres of self-regarding wank and we've got the set.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,gloomman
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:14 AM

Keepin it Real or Elf Shit. Cromwell would be proud. What happened to just digging a noise?


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 04:13 AM

The music that we now loosely term 'folk' has always been largely dissident, in that it was conceived and performed outside the 'establishment'. The fact that folk now has its own (at times reactionary) establishment is something I find rather saddening. So, for me, anything that gets the label 'dissident' is at least worth a listen - personal preferences and critical faculties must then come into play. To dismiss it out of hand is, I think, the same as saying that classical music or jazz is crap.

"I was pretty much over Tolkien (and all the attendant whimsy) by age 13."

Ruth, I assume you mean Lord of the Rings - his work on Early and Middle English language and literature, especially Beowulf, is seminal.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:57 AM

By the way - does Nick Drake make the "psych-folk" cut? He was bloody irritating as well.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:56 AM

leveller: I do know the difference between them. I may have been THINKING "pretentious" as well, but to be honest, considering some of the over-weening navel-gazing on this thread, I don't think that would have been inappropriate either. If others wish to wallow in the elf shit, all power to them (though I still fail to see what it has to do with Shirley Collins). I was pretty much over Tolkien (and all the attendant whimsy) by age 13.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: LesB
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:49 AM

I'm with Ralphie on this one. Never heard the term before. Has it just been invented for this thread?
Cheers
Les


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:43 AM

"Usually this kind of portentious, self-regarding bollocks is intensely irritating"

I think 'portentious' is EXACTLY the right word to describe psych folk. Thank goodness you didn't say 'pretentious' - now that would have been contentious.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:41 AM

Thanks Jon Miles Of Smiles - I didn't consider it trolling, I was merely questioning why something which in your words could have put hairs on our chests became the same-old-same-old - however very good 2 of the 3 same-olds are. But you've answered the question - it was a compromise. Fine. Consensus, sorry. May I ask, who were Shirley's suggestions?


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:23 AM

John, thanks for the heads-up on Black Flowers - not heard them before (nice soundtrack to the gothic garden we're planning!).


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 03:11 AM

"...will have stared directly into the shadows that still cling in the corners..."

"Despite the clear recent acceleration of Ali's search for the source..."

"...come down to one of our December shows if you want to contemplate the abyss directly!"


Usually this kind of portentious, self-regarding bollocks is intensely irritating, but happily on this occasion it just made me laugh. Keep 'em coming!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Ralphie
Date: 05 Oct 10 - 02:56 AM

What on earth are you all talking about?
I play music.
I accompany singers.
I don't have a label.
It really dosen't matter.
Psych Folk?
Get a life......(Try Lidl or Morrisons)


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,john miles of smiles
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 08:16 PM

Hmm, against my better judgement when responding to gentle trolling - I hope I did a fair job of justifying the dissident tag above. Many of Shirley's suggestions were a long way outside the trad continuum, but the bands that were selected were the ones that both parties had included on their original lists. Consensus brought us to a line-up that we're really happy with, and which suits the aims that I mentioned.

It's your prerogative to dislike Trembling Bells, but anyone who has heard Death & The Lady, Appendix Out, Black Flowers or Directing Hand will have stared directly into the shadows that still cling in the corners, bringing additional tension and depth to all three acts.

Despite the clear recent acceleration of Ali's search for the source, personally I'm still baffled when people claim him a traditionalist. Even those who have only heard recent output or seen his more accessible shows should be able to sense the subtle-but-acute modernism of his guitar work, let alone his original lyrics.

I don't know what your preferred sonic tipple is, but come down to one of our December shows if you want to contemplate the abyss directly!

Besides, I'd rather not dwell on my own gigs - more opinions on psych folk please, people!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 05:37 PM

Rising Damp

Dear God, but wasn't that sit-com perfection? The working title (and stage play from which it derived) was The Banana Box which I've always thought a giood name for a band. I watch the ITV3 re-runs in a state of near hysterical reverence; for those of us without religion watching Rossiter, De La Tour, Beckinsale and Warrington is as close to the divine as it gets.


The Good Life

As often as they repeat it, the last ever episode has only ever been shown once...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Continuity Jones
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 05:21 PM

Question for John Miles-of-Smiles

You say

"We've been corresponding with her (Shirley Collins) about this show for a while, and some of her proposed picks would've put hair on people's chests, for sure"

Just curious why you chose such an obvious and alopecic line-up then? Who were her proposed picks?

Don't get me wrong, I love Shirley Collins & Alasdair Roberts' music, but don't see them in any way dissident. Trembling Bells are more challenging, but simply in the way I'd find it a challenge to sit through their album again without dropping-off to sleep and dreaming of Rising Damp, flared trousers and The Good Life.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 03:58 PM

For this reason John Barleycorn Reborn is a far purer a statement of musical authenticity than anything tailored for the folk mainstream

I'm thinking purely in terms of musical creativity; unfettered according to the pastoral aesthetic which might hint at the received spectral dark, but is in no way bound by it despite journalistic tendancies to round things off. Few of us are so single minded to take things that seriously - however so seriously we take our music, we don't take ourselves seriously.

Now, it's off to Rosslyn Chapel on BBC4!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 03:38 PM

It appears to be an auditory precursor to vague modern "paganism".


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: brezhnev
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 03:34 PM

brilliant defence of dissident folk. looking forward to the Kirsty Wark in-depth analysis on newsnight review. shame the efdss don't use the d word in their advert for the gig, though. that would have made it perfect.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 11:01 AM

I can't think of any psych-folk right now, but I do think that present-day commercial country has turned into psych-country. What little I hear of it sounds like somebody reporting on their latest session with a therapist.

The only example I can provide is pretty old. May have been the first in the trend, but it shows what I mean -


Night is dragging her feet
I wait alone in the heat.
I know, know that you'll have your way
When you have to go home
No's a word I can't say.
'Cause it gets me nowhere
to tell you 'no'.
And it gets me nowhere
to make you go.
Will a little more love
make you start depending?
Will a little more love bring us a happy ending?
Will a little more love make it right?

Ugh!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: SophFFS
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 10:17 AM

This is quite a nice current band who are frequently labelled psych folk: http://www.myspace.com/thestealsmusic


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 09:03 AM

Thanks, John. I was playing devil's advocate to some extent - as a long-term reader of the Wire, I do get a little weary of seeing terms like "dissidence" bandied about. Anyway, yours is an excellent response and one that I think hits the nail on the head. It makes me wonder (and this is a point that has been made before by others) whether if "Death and the Lady", for instance, was a new album, it would be seen as too exploratory for mainstream folk radio? I think it probably would.

That Black Flowers album you reference is really very good, by the way. I hope it's not a one-off collaboration - I'd like to hear more from them.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,John Miles of Smiles
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 08:50 AM

Fair enough to ask about dissidence, but I hope it's not too unreasonable to apply the term to all of the artists involved!

The point of the show was to put together a line-up that speaks to (but pushes the envelope for) traditionalists whilst attracting WIRE-schooled fans of lysergic folk to investigate cornerstones of the folk establishment (eg Cecil Sharp House and the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & Archive). We're hoping for cross-pollination of audiences as well as musicians, and have been trying to reach out to trad promoters like The Goose is Out and Pull Up the Roots as much as our traditional promoting peers like Upset the Rhythm, Colour Ride and Knom (which has morphed into The Local in recent times). If you have a look at our past shows at Cecil Sharp House hopefully this impulse will be clear there too! http://www.milesofsmiles.co.uk/past_events.html

In terms of this bill - Shirley, despite being the President of EFDSS, is a maverick voice sitting largely outside of and sometimes at odds with prevailing orthodoxies. We've been corresponding with her about this show for a while, and some of her proposed picks would've put hair on people's chests, for sure. In terms of her own music also, I think some of the wilder collaborations with Dolly and with Davey earn the epithet 'dissident'.

Alasdair has always had good trad credentials, but anyone with half an ear can hear in his guitar style as much from early 90's post-rock and what was originally termed 'emo' (a label that's shifted a long way in the water over time! I mean Rites of Spring, Joan of Arc, etc) as from traditional players. Anyone who's seen him live will be aware of his willingness to subject his material to savage extrapolations, feedback squalls and furious free drumming. He's collaborated widely with artists across the spectrum outside folk from Will Oldham and Jason Molina to Richard Youngs and Alex Neilson, with whom he plays (alongside Lavinia Blackwall and Mick Flower from Vibracathedral Orchestra) in Black Flowers.

Trembling Bells owe a strong debt to Pentangle, Fairport Convention and the like but Lavinia's early music roots bring the band into proximity with Nico's The Marble Index or modern Hildegaard von Bingen devotees like Fursaxa and Valet. Alex's credentials are the most 'out there' of all, right down to ongoing collabs with Jandek and Ashtray Navigations.

Sorry to rant, and I hope that explains adequately. In short, over 35s are not only welcome, but – if they aren't there – then the guiding philosophy of the event will have been confounded!


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 08:41 AM

Not sure what's meant by psychfolk and I don't think anyone else is. I imagine it's the inheritor of the soft folk jazz rock of bands like Pentangle. There's a sense in which the iconoclasts who found deviousness in polyphony and seduction in statuary still find moral corruption in unmotivated repetition and musical tropes.
Unfortunately the visionary impulse is too readily branded as dungeons and dragons and there's little chance of escaping that cliche with roundheads like Richard Dawkins or the musical and artistic establishment Thou Shalt'ing from the inside of the Groucho club.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 08:08 AM

"the other side of the coin is having to plough through a lot of self-indulgent shite to get to the diamonds"

LOL! Certainly it doesn't mean that critical faculties should be suspended. BTW - know what you mean about Heron. 40-odd tracks on the double CD has left the mind seriously numbed.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 07:48 AM

Sorry, that's a "healthy" scepticism. "Health" scepticism is what Mrs Cringe has when I say I have the flu.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 07:46 AM

True, Glueman, but the other side of the coin is having to plough through a lot of self-indulgent shite to get to the diamonds. Have you had the pleasure of listening to some of the alleged skewed pastoralists of the neo-folk scene? Here's a bit of Current 93. I actually don't mind a bit of Current 93 in small doses, but it's sobering to think that by far they are one of the best groups operating in the "neo-folk" arena... And at least they're not Sol Invictus...

The other side of the coin of the "roundhead" mentality is the unquestioning acceptance of anything labelled esoteric. There is also a long tradition of gentle enquiry leavened by a health scepticism. For example though I may want to believe that modern Wiccans are the present-day inheritors of an ancient and unbroken native tradition, I am also aware that they are adherents of an invented 20th century religion ("The Triumph of the Moon" by Ronald Hutton is essential reading on this).


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 07:31 AM

True, but as O'Shaughnessy puts it:

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 07:12 AM

The rush to attribute airy-fairyness and outsider status to anything that isn't literal, or 'realistic' - WTF ever that might be - is, if not uniquely English, certainly a speciality of our's. There's certainly a mistrust of expression that isn't prescribed or strictly generic. We trust in The Word and all other forms are relegated.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:57 AM

I think that's right, Glueman. The tradition runs from pre-Christian traditions that were given a more formal shape (and recorded) by Celtic Christianity (including the 'christianising' of sacred sites such as my local Rudston Monolith) then, post Synod of Whitby, by the Roman Catholic church. The dilution began after the Reformation and especially with the Presbyterian influences (with its insistence on the work ethic – see Tawney's 'Religion and the Rise of Capitalism). According to Ackroyd, England has always been the land of dreamers and visionaries, but in a unique 'down-to-earth' way. The renewed interest in paganism, pantheism etc. goes hand in hand with a resurgence in interest in psych folk (or is that just happening in my mind?)

Wow! This is turning into a really interesting thread.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:32 AM

Skewed pastorialism, if that means Blake, Palmer and the New Visionaries has never sat comfortably in the domestic canon. It demands we embrace whimsy, portentiousness, theatricality and a host of stuff the roundheads tried to remove (and continue to try) from the national DNA.
The best of psychfolk is a glimpse of what we've been missing.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:27 AM

Spleen, I read it before I started Ackroyd's book - excellent stuff.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:19 AM

Rob Young's excellent "Electric Eden" touches on some of the same themes, Lev, and is well worth reading.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:15 AM

I'm with you on skewed pastoralism, by the way. This is at the heart of the best folk, psych folk etc. Just that I don't here much of it in a lot of the post-industrial/neo-folk stuff I've listened to, that is in my opinion overrepresented on JBR. It feels more like bedsit music with too many cheap drugs, not enough sunlight and too much time reading about Manson and Crowley.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: theleveller
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:11 AM

"a far purer a statement of musical authenticity than anything tailored for the folk mainstream"

I'm currently reading Peter Ackroyd's 'Albion – The Origins of the English Imagination' and it strikes me that the resonances that are endemic and enduring in the creativity of English prose and poetry are exactly those that are being tapped into, consciously or unconsciously, by psych folk, especially the supernatural, riddle songs and earth magic. It certainly surprised me just how much of it there is in my own songs. So I think S O'P's statement is correct. We can plot a tradition here that stems from (for example) Ted Hughes, back through the Romantic Poets, Mathew Arnold, Milton, Shakespeare, the Metaphysical Poets, Chaucer, Piers the Plowman and across the silence of the dark ages to Beowulf and beyond.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 06:08 AM

You're contributions to JBR were amongst the good stuff on that album, Suibhne. I'm a firm fan of the well-placed noodle myself, it's the portentiousness of some of this stuff that gets me. I can't help feeling with the purveyors of some of the neo-folk outpourings that 1) they take themselves far too seriuosly and 2) the sense of contrived doom-mongering and old-europe schlock gets the better of them. One minute you're listening to some vaguely interesting and the next minute some bleeder's trying to sell you an album of military style ur-folk bombast by a bunch of spotty oiks from Belaurus with a penchant for neo-nazi imagery and a fistful of third hand sub-pagan, quasi-occultist philosophising. It all seems a little dark, you know, and not in the sense that the magical folk ballads and historical muder ballads are. Makes me right queasy, so it does, which in turn brings about an unstoppable desire to be flippant. Whenever I hear Sol Invictus, I want to shout, "It's BEHIND you!"...


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 05:27 AM

Back in 1988 we recorded the Masstishaddhu / Shekinah album for United Dairies which came out with Current 93's Earth Covers Earth, an album which strikes me as being a bit of a watershed for Psych Folk in general. Weird thing was I had no idea C93 were working on an album of folk songs, nor yet that UD would be symapthetic to such a thing, so having recorded several supernatural ballads (Child #32 and Child #6 amongst them as I recall) by way of demos for the session, we jettisoned them for two side-long instrumentals instead. Although I often wonder how the album would have fared with the ballads, the music is nevertheless entirely acoustic improvised folk music using crwth, cello, hurdy gurdy, assorted flutes, voices, hand drums & percussion and remains inspirational in certain quarters to this day. Both the vinyl & the 2000 CD issue (on Psychedelic Pig) sold out fairly swiftly, but for the curious you can get the album gratis HERE.

Psych Folk is indicative of far wider (and generaly darker) folk sympathies & sensitivities than might ever be hinted at by what happens in clubs, fora, and festivals. For this reason John Barleycorn Reborn is a far purer a statement of musical authenticity than anything tailored for the folk mainstream which must forever be compromised to appeal to an ageing demographic who still reckon Steeleye Span somehow played good music - or else a younger generation rediscovering Steeleye Span (as evidenced by certain comments on my YouTube presentation of a very feral take on Long Lankin).

Psych Folk dares to go out there & as such there can't be enough portentious noodling as far as I'm concerned. Mind you, as I sit here writing this I'm listening to Tangerine Dream's Ricochet reflecting on a skewed pastoralism which is the main reason I dig folk anyway - from Harry Cox to Psych Folk and beyond.


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Subject: RE: What is psych folk...?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Oct 10 - 04:22 AM

Never really got the whole Current 93/Coil/Sol Invictus thing. I enjoyed about half of John Barleycorn Reborn, but there is a tendency towards portentious noodling...

There a mention of the Fruits gig on another board. The question was asked, what is meant by "dissident folk"? Fancy elaborating on that one, John? The gig has a wonderful line up, but I'm struggling to understand in what way a gig featuring the grande dame of the UK folk revival (and president of the EFDSS to boot), the son of a folk revival player and purveyor of traditional songs and new songs in a tradition-inspired vein and a band with at least one foot in the 70s folk-rock camp and deeply inspired at least in part by traditional music and early music, is dissident. I'm sure it will be great, featuring as it does three of my favourites, but dissident? It could be suggest that the use of the word in the blurb is a) simply a way of discouraging anyone over 35 to turn up and b) an attempt to rail against a percieved folk orthodoxy... I'n not having a go, just curious.


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