Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Willows - Belbury Poly (#4, 2004)

If films have taught me one thing, it's that a British childhood is creepy and malevolent. Based on the albums from Belbury Poly and Ghost Box labelmates, I assume this is all because of music from public radio and television programming. Swerving between rinky-dink fragility and outright menace, Belbury Poly takes the warped remembrance of formative audio wallpaper and explores a dream world of haunted rainy days spent indoors. Or so I've read... I didn't actually grow up English under the influence of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. But here's a Pitchfork article on the Ghost Box aesthetic.

"Wildspot" from The Willows (2004)

"The Willows" from The Willows (2004)

The opening two sort of define the borders, with the short intro-esque "Wildspot" taking the more plinky side. There's actually more of this style on the last Belbury outing (#17, 2009) than here on The Willows. The title track is darker, although not fully as dark as it gets - check out the "Insect Prospectus" trilogy video later. (I'm not doing every track. Check out the Lala link towards the bottom to hear other scary stuff like "Caermaen.")

"A Thin Place" from The Willows (2004)

There's also the The Belbury Parish Magazine, which will keep you up to date with actual goings on and the fictional township of Belbury. Just sayin'... The title "A Thin Place" reminds me of H.P. Lovecraft for some reason, and the staticky interference looming behind obscured dimensions is not inconsistent with that. "The Farmer's Angle" is more upbeat and pleasant, which works well to offset the freak-outs. But obviously I prefer the freakiness.

"Insect Prospectus/A Warning/Thorn" from The Willows (2004)

I could maybe do videos for this whole album, Pong-style, with enough free British govt films. And there are plenty out there! I thought these tunes, three of my favorites, went well together. And this simultaneously mundane and weird documentary fit the general Belbury Poly style nicely. I only chopped it up a lil' bit...

"The Absolute Everything" from The Willows (2004)

This is a good middle-ground, almost default Belbury tune. Not as striking as something like "Thorn," not as peppy as "Wildspot." But a good sound and not like a lot of other stuff I hear much. Now I need to get the 2nd album, The Owl's Map (2006). O yeah, and here's a Ghost Box film: Phenomena and Occurrences: Belbury and Froun Area. Just in case!!

The Willows

Genre - Hauntological Electro-Experimental
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Belbury, UK

Review - Stylus Magazine
Download - Greedbag, iTunes
Lala - The Willows
Purchase - Greedbag (looks like cd's are sold out)

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