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.

Wayside and Woodland Gig // This Friday

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Wayside and Woodland Recordings presents :

Field Harmonics + Component#4 + Charles Vaughan plus DJs
at Centrala, Digbeth, Birmingham
on Friday 15th May 2015
£2 OTD (with a free download card upon entry)
Doors at 8pm.

Field Harmonics will be launching their latest single, ‘Girls’, at a special evening being hosted by the fine folks down at Centrala in Digbeth.

The night will also be the first opportunity to see the video for the single, directed by Angela Slater.

Also playing will be Component#4 with a live drummer, as well as the mysterious Charles Vaughan.

Facebook Event : https://www.facebook.com/events/799537090115377/