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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, July 22, 2006
    A right carryon
    Listening to the frenzy of found English folk sounds which is Visionary Landscapes the listener is affected in, I imagine, a similar way to that person allowing themselves to be spun at the centre of a boozy village hall hornpipe dance. Or spending let's say two months on English back roads listening to the English back story as delivered by people who've never been more than five miles from their rustic sheds.

    It's the work of Jem Finer and Andrew Kotting, the soundtrack to a three-screen projection of outtakes from Kotting's film, Gallivant performed at a gathering of 'diverse voices and perspectives on representations of English landscape and folk culture' held at Cecil Sharp House, the home of the English Folk Dance and Song Society in 2003 [previously mentioned on this site here].

    My reawakened interest in Kotting's work prompted me to put my order in for the album and this afternoon (after brief tears of joy seeing Johann Cruyff grace a football pitch again) I revisited the film. The music stands alone, though, as an engrossing and lovely expression of Englishness in all its extraordinary ordinariness...

    "Cut-ups and smidgeons abound. Jem Finer and Andrew K├Âtting have assembled a veritable bricolage of things folk laureate. Voices from a bygone zeitgeist weave their way throughout the beautifully constructed soundscapes. Elegaic, beguiling and always haunting the compositions mend their merry way. Hurdy Gurdies, Zithers, Melodicas and Harmoniums transport the listener to places they have not been before. Contemplative sonic landscaping at its very best. A right carryon."