On Process: Corpsing // Field Harmonics // February 2018

In November last year we compiled a zine for the Indie Label Market, here’s a piece written by Rob Glover about his forthcoming release on Wayside & Woodland.

‘Corpsing’ is out on 23rd Feb, 2018 on Cassette + digital. A decontruction of the pop sensibilities from 2016’s ‘Corners’, a reimaginging revealing beauty from decay.

Corpsing by Rob Glover (Field Harmonics)
4.05pm…20th​ ​November​ ​2017. I​ ​made​ ​the​ ​decision​ ​to​ ​leave​ ​the​ ​house​ ​some​ ​30​ ​minutes​ ​ago,​ ​as​ ​I’m​ ​still​ ​rushing​ ​to​ ​get​ ​mix​ ​downs finished​ ​and​ ​exported​ ​before​ ​the​ ​light​ ​fades​ ​any​ ​further​ ​and​ ​darkness​ ​fully​ ​envelops​ ​the​ ​footpaths​ ​near​ ​my house.​ ​After​ ​a​ ​rain-filled​ ​afternoon,​ ​the​ ​heavy​ ​clouds​ ​have​ ​lifted,​ ​adding​ ​urgency​ ​to​ ​my​ ​escape​ ​into​ ​the half-light​ ​of​ ​the​ ​evening.​ ​I​ ​hastily​ ​grab​ ​my​ ​headphones,​ ​notebook​ ​and​ ​coat​ ​-​ ​and​ ​close​ ​the​ ​door​ ​behind me.​ ​The​ ​street​ ​lights​ ​have​ ​yet​ ​to​ ​flood​ ​the​ ​pavements​ ​with​ ​their​ ​dim​ ​orange​ ​glow​ ​and​ ​within​ ​a​ ​few​ ​minutes I​ ​approach​ ​the​ ​rain-soaked​ ​towpath​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Staffs​ ​and​ ​Worcester​ ​canal.​ ​The​ ​traffic​ ​noise​ ​fades​ ​behind​ ​me as​ ​I​ ​make​ ​my​ ​way​ ​cautiously​ ​down​ ​the​ ​path,​ ​the​ ​last​ ​of​ ​the​ ​year’s​ ​leaves​ ​clinging​ ​to​ ​the​ ​silhouetted branches,​ ​and​ ​my​ ​route​ ​ahead​ ​illuminated​ ​by​ ​the​ ​puddles​ ​reflecting​ ​the​ ​steely​ ​sky​ ​above.​ ​A​ ​short​ ​time later​ ​I​ ​emerge​ ​from​ ​the​ ​towpath​ ​and​ ​bear​ ​left​ ​at​ ​the​ ​junction​ ​towards​ ​my​ ​destination​ ​–​ ​The​ ​Swan​ ​Inn.​ ​I push​ ​open​ ​the​ ​door​ ​to​ ​the​ ​snug,​ ​and​ ​immediately​ ​spot​ ​an​ ​empty​ ​table​ ​in​ ​the​ ​corner​ ​to​ ​bunker​ ​down​ ​in. The​ ​open​ ​fire​ ​is​ ​crackling​ ​away,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​room​ ​is​ ​otherwise​ ​quiet,​ ​save​ ​for​ ​a​ ​few​ ​elderly​ ​gentlemen​ ​nursing locally​ ​brewed​ ​ales​ ​and​ ​poring​ ​over​ ​the​ ​day’s​ ​newspapers​ ​in​ ​silence.​ ​I​ ​purchase​ ​a​ ​pint​ ​of​ ​Banks’s​ ​Bitter and​ ​settle​ ​down​ ​into​ ​my​ ​spot,​ ​taking​ ​a​ ​few​ ​minutes​ ​to​ ​acclimatise​ ​to​ ​my​ ​surroundings.

The​ ​main​ ​cause​ ​for​ ​leaving​ ​the​ ​house​ ​and​ ​reaching​ ​this​ ​quiet​ ​corner​ ​was​ ​to​ ​listen​ ​to​ ​and​ ​reflect​ ​upon​ ​my recently​ ​completed​ ​Field​ ​Harmonics​ ​record​ ​’Corpsing’,​ ​away​ ​from​ ​the​ ​glare​ ​of​ ​a​ ​computer​ ​screen.​ ​The roots​ ​of​ ​this​ ​release​ ​can​ ​be​ ​traced​ ​back​ ​to​ ​the​ ​start​ ​of​ ​2016​ ​when​ ​my​ ​then​ ​co-collaborator​ ​Bryony​ ​and​ ​I started​ ​to​ ​develop​ ​ideas​ ​for​ ​our​ ​next​ ​album,​ ​following​ ​the​ ​completion​ ​of​ ​the​ ​’Corners’​ ​LP​ ​at​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the previous​ ​year.​ ​The​ ​new​ ​songs​ ​were​ ​coming​ ​together​ ​quickly,​ ​with​ ​an​ ​even​ ​bolder​ ​pop​ ​sensibility​ ​than​ ​we had​ ​touched​ ​upon​ ​before.​ ​As​ ​spring​ ​gave​ ​way​ ​to​ ​summer,​ ​we​ ​had​ ​nearly​ ​an​ ​album’s​ ​worth​ ​of​ ​material that​ ​we​ ​were​ ​working​ ​on​ ​-​ ​layering,​ ​reconfiguring​ ​and​ ​remixing​ ​as​ ​we​ ​went.​ ​But​ ​by​ ​June​ ​something​ ​had started​ ​to​ ​shift​ ​in​ ​my​ ​head.​ ​Then​ ​Brexit​ ​happened.​ ​Looking​ ​back,​ ​this​ ​is​ ​the​ ​point​ ​where​ ​things​ ​really changed​ ​for​ ​me.​ ​Within​ ​a​ ​few​ ​weeks​ ​I​ ​realised​ ​that​ ​I​ ​no​ ​longer​ ​wished​ ​to​ ​work​ ​on​ ​this​ ​material​ ​for numerous​ ​reasons​ ​and​ ​felt​ ​compelled​ ​to​ ​return​ ​to​ ​something​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​closer​ ​and​ ​truer​ ​to​ ​my​ ​heart,​ ​and escape​ ​the​ ​4/4​ ​pop-orientated​ ​corner​ ​I’d​ ​backed​ ​myself​ ​into.​ ​We​ ​played​ ​our​ ​final​ ​gig​ ​as​ ​a​ ​band​ ​towards the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​2016​ ​and​ ​that​ ​was​ ​it.​ ​I​ ​didn’t​ ​even​ ​look​ ​at​ ​any​ ​of​ ​those​ ​projects​ ​for​ ​another​ ​8​ ​months.​ ​Whilst​ ​I certainly​ ​wasn’t​ ​inactive​ ​during​ ​this​ ​period,​ ​the​ ​idea​ ​of​ ​working​ ​on​ ​something​ ​pop-driven​ ​had​ ​left​ ​me fatigued​ ​and​ ​uninspired.​ ​Returning​ ​to​ ​this​ ​material​ ​was​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the​ ​question.​ ​Nearly​ ​a​ ​year’s​ ​work​ ​- shelved.

Then​ ​as​ ​spring​ ​rolled​ ​round,​ ​I​ ​lost​ ​someone​ ​very​ ​close​ ​to​ ​me.​ ​Around​ ​this​ ​time​ ​the​ ​seed​ ​of​ ​an​ ​idea​ ​started to​ ​quietly​ ​take​ ​root​ ​in​ ​my​ ​head.​ ​Could​ ​I​ ​re-explore​ ​this​ ​material​ ​in​ ​a​ ​wholly​ ​different​ ​way?​ ​Strip​ ​away​ ​the countless​ ​layers​ ​and​ ​rhythms​ ​to​ ​reveal​ ​the​ ​beauty​ ​of​ ​a​ ​vocal,​ ​synth​ ​line​ ​or​ ​texture​ ​-​ ​otherwise​ ​buried beneath​ ​the​ ​multi-layered​ ​production?​ ​Reconfigure​ ​these​ ​sounds​ ​through​ ​spatial,​ ​granular​ ​and distortion-based​ ​processing​ ​and​ ​eschew​ ​any​ ​locked​ ​BPM​ ​or​ ​gridded​ ​structure?​ ​Produce​ ​something​ ​more abstracted,​ ​fluid​ ​and​ ​immediate?​ ​Process​ ​the​ ​vocals​ ​and​ ​synth​ ​melodies​ ​to​ ​become​ ​distant,​ ​ghostified versions​ ​of​ ​their​ ​former​ ​selves​ ​–​ ​the​ ​suggestion​ ​of​ ​a​ ​pop​ ​song​ ​set​ ​against​ ​more​ ​saturated​ ​and​ ​immersive soundscapes?​ ​Even​ ​looking​ ​at​ ​these​ ​projects​ ​still​ ​filled​ ​me​ ​with​ ​trepidation,​ ​but​ ​in​ ​July​ ​I​ ​had​ ​a​ ​gap​ ​in​ ​my work​ ​schedule​ ​and​ ​put​ ​aside​ ​a​ ​few​ ​days​ ​to​ ​see​ ​what​ ​I​ ​could​ ​gather​ ​from​ ​these​ ​initial​ ​ideas.​ ​My​ ​process was​ ​clear​ ​–​ ​don’t​ ​listen​ ​to​ ​the​ ​last​ ​full​ ​mix​ ​of​ ​the​ ​material,​ ​resolutely​ ​strip​ ​away​ ​any​ ​extraneous​ ​elements​ ​- then​ ​reconfigure,​ ​finding​ ​new​ ​forms​ ​and​ ​structures.​ ​Working​ ​quickly​ ​over​ ​the​ ​next​ ​few​ ​weeks,​ ​often​ ​late into​ ​the​ ​night,​ ​I​ ​found​ ​myself​ ​with​ ​11​ ​tracks​ ​that​ ​summed​ ​up​ ​what​ ​I’d​ ​set​ ​out​ ​to​ ​achieve.​ ​It​ ​was rejuvenating,​ ​liberating,​ ​exciting.​ ​The​ ​immediacy​ ​was​ ​important,​ ​set​ ​against​ ​previous​ ​months​ ​of​ ​labouring over​ ​vocal,​ ​hi-hat​ ​and​ ​snare​ ​sounds.​ ​​ ​I​ ​quickly​ ​drew​ ​a​ ​line​ ​under​ ​the​ ​project,​ ​sent​ ​the​ ​tracks​ ​to​ ​close friends,​ ​and​ ​was​ ​met​ ​with​ ​immediate,​ ​pleasing​ ​responses.​ ​Until​ ​this​ ​point,​ ​only​ ​my​ ​partner​ ​had​ ​any​ ​idea​ ​of what​ ​I​ ​was​ ​doing​ ​with​ ​this​ ​material​ ​as​ ​it​ ​had​ ​been​ ​a​ ​private,​ ​personal​ ​exercise​ ​in​ ​escape​ ​from​ ​the self-imposed​ ​confines​ ​of​ ​working​ ​on​ ​material​ ​within​ ​a​ ​premeditated​ ​structure.

Its​ ​5.45pm​ ​and​ ​night​ ​has​ ​fully​ ​veiled​ ​the​ ​day.​ ​​ ​I​ ​must​ ​leave​ ​this​ ​cosy​ ​corner​ ​and​ ​once​ ​again​ ​hit​ ​the towpath.​ ​I​ ​know​ ​the​ ​contours​ ​and​ ​bends​ ​of​ ​this​ ​stretch​ ​well​ ​so​ ​with​ ​a​ ​quiet​ ​unease​ ​I​ ​leave​ ​the​ ​road​ ​and am​ ​plunged​ ​into​ ​near​ ​darkness​ ​at​ ​the​ ​water’s​ ​edge.​ ​As​ ​my​ ​eyes​ ​adjust​ ​to​ ​the​ ​crepuscular​ ​environment​ ​of the​ ​Midlands​ ​canal​ ​network,​ ​I’m​ ​glad​ ​that​ ​I​ ​took​ ​the​ ​autumnal​ ​waterway​ ​in​ ​favour​ ​of​ ​the​ ​less​ ​appealing rush-hour​ ​clogged​ ​main​ ​roads.​ ​In​ ​doing​ ​so,​ ​I’m​ ​reminded​ ​that​ ​sometimes​ ​it​ ​can​ ​be​ ​far​ ​more​ ​rewarding​ ​to step​ ​outside​ ​of​ ​your​ ​comfort​ ​zone​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​taking​ ​more​ ​predetermined​ ​routes​ ​-​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​reconnect with​ ​a​ ​place​ ​you​ ​hold​ ​dear.

New Release // Charles Vaughan’s Pylon Reveries

This weekend saw the release of Pylon Reveries by Charles Vaughan, the keen eyed will note this album has been in the works for a good few years.

The album is presented on CD, with an accompanying cassette tape of exclusive works you’ll not hear anywhere else.

The release is an exclusive to the Wayside & Woodland store, you won’t hear this online anytime soon.

“From an early age, I had a fascination with pylons. The public information films of my childhood did little to quell this creeping sense of unease. Over the years, this preoccupation has informed my work, inspiring many pieces of music. Some of it found its way onto the ‘Substation Index’ release, a mini CDr I left at any substation I came across on my travels. It was free, you just had to find it. 

This collection was harvested from the many tapes and hard drives that have been slowly filling up over the years. I hope it makes some sense.” – Charles Vaughan

Press

Some of our favourite online mags have reviewed this release see Monolith Cocktail and [sic]Magazine, as well as being included in the spring review over on a closer listen.