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.