Some recent bits of news:
Andy Paciorek, illustrator and instigator of the Folk Horror Revival forum, has recently edited a 498-page book of writing and interviews around the idea of ‘folk horror’.
Contributors include Adam Scovell, John Coulthart (writing on David Rudkin), Sharron Kraus, Gary Lachman (on WIlson’s The Outsider, and also interviewed himself), Grey Malkin, Chris Lambert, and more. There are also interviews with Kim Newman, Philip Pullman, Drew Mulholland… so, if you like pagan things, landscapes, the uncanny et al, take a look. It’s quite cheap and any profits will be donated to environmental, wildlife and community projects undertaken by The Wildlife Trusts!
I have a piece included called The Haunted Fields of England: Diabolical Landscapes and the Genii Locorum, which uses the idea of the diabolisation of pagan landscape features to trace the development of the genius loci from semi-benevolent tutelar daimons of Antiquity, to the ghouls and monsters of the Anglo-Saxon imagination and the treasure-guarding demons of Medieval and Tudor magic!
You can order Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies here.
I was pleased to be approached by Dale Lloyd of the and/OAR label with regard to participating in his Search Ensembles project. Search Ensembles looks at two takes on the idea of ‘sonic archaeology’, and involves re-contextualising old/unreleased recordings, as well as new ones to create “a collection of inexplicable field recordings pointing toward a mysterious ancient past.” The participants in the first search ensemble are Alan Courtis, Cedric Peyronnet, Cyril Herry, Dale Lloyd, David Tobin, Jani Hirvonen, Jon Tulchin, Katerina Nejepsova, Loren Chasse, Michael Northam, Petr ‘Pedro’ Tuzar, Slavek Kwi, Stuart Arentzen, and myself. More information here.
and/OAR have also re-released their tribute to Andrei Tarkovsky, Another Kind of Language, in an expanded edition spanning three CDs! I contribute flute to one track in collaboration with Dale Lloyd.
Hawthonn received a great review by Russell Cuzner in The Quietus. Other reviews can be found here, here and here! To celebrate, Aetheric Anomalies have uploaded the entire ‘Hawthonn movie’ to Youtube. The playlist is here – the video for Thanatopsis is particularly mesmerising.
Finally, I’m finishing up my piece for the Sunday morning panel at Exploring the Extraordinary VII. It’s been a challenging piece: initially I set out to write about the magical experiences of Humphrey Gilbert and John Davis, but as the research deepened I began to concentrate more on the performance of speech in Gilbert & Davis’ rituals and how it works to provoke certain types of psychological effect, drawing on some ideas from recent work of Egil Asprem (with Ann Taves), Edward Bever and others in cognitive science as it applies to religion, magic and esotericism. I’ve always been ambivalent about overtly reductive stances to magic, esotericism and gnosis such as evolutionary approach of reducing such experiences and practices to ‘just’ the side-effects of evolved cognitive systems, which implicitly seem to be interpreted by some as deprecating the powerful, affective, vivid and personal quality of such encounters. I’m hoping that the interdisciplinary approaches implied by ‘verticalised’ approaches that involve both conventional historiographic and philological methods, complemented with approaches from cognitive science, could also address the ‘problem’ of where practice-based and experiential research might also ‘fit’ with with regard to studying such strange hinterlands of culture and consciousness…