Hawthonn is the real deal. Equally adept at transcribing crow calls
into musical scales as they are at creating horizon melting
atmospheres, Red Goddess raises the bar for musicians interested in
composing straight from the creative imagination. For fans of Jocelyn
Godwin, John Dee and Folk Horror as much as the darker spectrum of
British music, this is a record of staggering breadth.

– Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance)

I am pleased to say that we can finally announce the new Hawthonn album, Red Goddess (of this men shall know nothing), which will be released on 23rd of March on Ba Da Bing! Records. We premiered ‘Eden’, the first single, on The Quietus last week – you can read more about the track there, or listen below.

Pre-orders, and more info on the album, can be found here! For those in the UK/EU, Layla and I will handle the postage in order to cut out the prohibitive transatlantic shipping fees. If you are interested in ordering a copy, email us at hawthonnband@gmail.com. Prices are £20 LP and £10 CD, plus P&P (LP: £4.50 UK/£7.20 EU; CD: £2.50 UK/£4.50 EU). You can also order direct from us via Bandcamp!

The LP also comes in a burlap-textured sleeve (- like the first pressing of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures! -) and has an insert with a short essay thereon. Norman Records, Piccadilly Records and many others will be also carrying the album!

This is a far bigger release than we’re used to, and the label – who Ben Chasny introduced us to – have been wonderful to work with. Thank you, Ben Goldberg, Katie von Schleicher and the other staff at Ba Da Bing! for all your hard work, and enthusiasm for this album! I’ll post more about the themes of the album in the future – and also a short piece on the tortuous process of getting the cover art done (- thanks to Narikka Photo for finally helping us with that puzzle piece!)

Speaking of Ben Chasny, I’m also very proud to say that Hexadic III was released on Friday. This is an incredibly diverse album of artists applying the Hexadic System to their own styles of music-making, and I’m honoured to be numbered alongside Moon Duo, Richard Youngs, Meg Baird & Charlie Saufley, Tashi Dorji, Jenks Miller, and Stephen O’Malley, Tim Wyskida & Marc Urselli. You can hear some previews on the Drag City page – and various reviews are also floating about.

My piece, Zoa Pastorale, is another Hexadic keyboard piece – but in a more improvisatory style than the more formal compositions of Sorath. You can read my notes on the piece below:

Phil Legard – Zoa Pastorale
For Layla.
Recorded in the Cloister of Exquisite Melancholy, April 2017.

As with my other Hexadic keyboard adaptations, Zoa Pastorale makes a couple of alterations to Ben’s core system. The most important of these is that the notes in each Hexadic field can be played in two octaves in order to allow for a wider compass and more idiomatic intervals between the tones. The second alteration is the abandonment of timing – I allow myself to traverse the Hexadic figure as each piece demands (although often this is at a steady rate, measured in bars or number of notes played). I will also usually plot out a maximum of six moves on the Hexadic figure and use these as a sort of continuum: when the sixth field in the series has been played, I return to the first – an approach I borrowed from the compositional style of Josef Hauer – a Viennese composer who developed a form of mystical dodecaphonic music whose aesthetic prefigures minimalism, but which was ultimately eclipsed by Schoenberg’s more rigorous serialistic approach. The term ‘Zoa’ in the track title comes from the work of the English witch Andrew Chumbley, who associates it with the principle of life and the constellation of Ursa Major. I felt the music seemed to embody both the enchanted and pastoral, and the dark – most often sinister – qualities that I often discern in his body of work.

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