Folklore Tapes Calendar Customs Vol.III: Mid-Winter Rites & Revelries
Format: Embossed cassette box including printed green cassette. screen printed sleeve, research cards, essay by Jez Winship, evergreen bough, download code.
Arianne Churchman - Fourth Solo Cutty Wren Ritual
Dean McPhee - The Devil's Knell
Rob St John - Fire Rites
David Chatton Barker - Wheel of Life
Sam McLoughlin - Tangerines in Socks
Magpahi - The Lady of the Mountain
Mary Stark - Holly & Ivy
Ian Humberstone - Carrying the Clavie Fire
Carl Turney & Brian Campbell - lo Saturnalia!
Mary & David - Wassailing
Mid-winter is the low ebb of the year, the heart of the lifeless season when the sun describes a wearily flattened arc across the sky: its luminosity dimmed and wan, its passage brief. Shadows lengthen, branches grow bare and bony, temperatures drop and darkness prevails. There is a need for cheer, for hope and conviviality, for reminders of Spring’s renewal to come. Old mid-winter rites and rituals, centring around Christmastide observances and celebrations, bring a little warmth and light to this chill time of scarcity and spiritual despond. And it is these rites to which Folklore Tapes turn their collective eye in this the fourth season of the solar year.
The artists contributing to this limited edition cassette compilation have each researched a particular mid-winter ritual and, informed by their findings, conjured a sound piece in response. The movements take their listener on an audiological journey around the old ways of winter, with acousmatic carolling, text-sound collage, composed music and augmented field-recording. These are playful retellings of long-forgotten observances: library sounds, carried on a wisp of smoke from the bonfires of winters past.
The cassette comes housed in a hand-numbered and stamped box, accompanied by a detailed booklet and essay focussing on the customs and rituals covered. Also inside is a poster and evergreen bough to cheer the peruser through the long, dank night. So come gather round the ceremonial fire as Folklore Tapes toll the Devil’s knell, hunt the sacred wren, light the Yule Log and enact saturnalic mischief in the deepest depths of winter’s long night.