Back in August, we had the privilege of premiering Lake, a new video from experimental free-folk collective Lost Harbours who are based between Riga, Latvia and Southend-On-Sea, UK. That track gave us a brief but fascinating glimpse of their forthcoming Towers of Silence album via Liminal Noise Tapes (6th October 2017) which you can now listen to in full below.
The project was originally launched by singer/guitarist Richard Thompson, joined by Emma Reed on flute, clarinet and guitar, and for their new album, Towers of Silence, Diana Collier (The Owl Service, Greanvine) and Sabine Moore joined with additional vocals. Currently, the live band is Richard with Sabine on vocals, violin and electronics. Towers of Silence is a mixture of original compositions by the ensemble, and a couple of well-known folk traditional songs. It features deft fingerpicking guitar work, mantric vocals and sprawling, sometimes caustic sound worlds. On the subject of what inspired the album’s title, and simultaneously encapsulating the dark subtexts of the band’s output, Richard says “A Tower of Silence is a place for ritualistic sky burial, a platform upon which the body is laid in order for it to be picked apart by carrion eaters”.
On his choice of traditional songs to tackle, Richard explains “Black is the Colour and Idumea were two songs that haunted me for a few years. Idumea I heard first on the Current 93 release ‘Black Ships Ate the Sky’, it followed me ever since”. With the original compositions, Lake is based on the Selkie myths which Richard read as a child, that tell the stories of seal-like creatures that can adopt human form. Two Suns was directly influenced by Richard’s move to Latvia, it was quickly written after a camping trip there, as he poetically explains he “saw two days come together as one, occluding the night, leaving the moon a faded and forgotten image in the blue sky”. Richard and Emma wrote Elegy and Waking whilst in their rehearsal studio in Essex, and the lyrical narratives were inspired by the Essex landscape. As Richard says “ those tracks were inspired by the marching lines of pylons from town to town, by the behaviour of shrikes, the haunting calls of nightjars shrieking like lost souls, of lost ritual practises, the ever-present noise of humanity that covers the Essex countryside, the encroaching slurry of concrete rolling over fields and woods”. The album is shot through with themes of haunted beauty, echoing terror and the destruction of the natural world.
Richard gives the major references/musical inspirations for their work as a mix between great British folk acts such as The Incredible String Band and John Martyn, as well as all sorts of artists from the drone/noise/sound art worlds such as Coil, Richard Youngs, Jandek, Espers, Six Organs of Admittance, Wolf Eyes and Brian Eno.
Since 2008 they have regularly toured throughout Europe, supported the likes of Mirrorring, Goodiepal, Nadja, Jessica Bailiff and Boduf Songs, and played a number of festivals including the Leigh Folk Festival (UK), Tinderbox (UK), Culture Dust (EE), Shorelines (UK), SPILL Festival of Contemporary Art (UK) and the Kukemuru Ambient Festival (EE).
In 2013 they soundtracked the documentary Lead / Light and worked in collaboration with Scanner and the writer Justin Hopper to create music for Public Record: Estuary, a specially commissioned piece for the Shorelines Literary festival.
Find out more here: http://www.lostharbours.com/
LN012 – Lost Harbours – Towers of Silence
Vinyl edition of Lost Harbours third album – Limited to 300.
Mushroom Grey cassettes in clear cases – Limited to 50 copies.
Available from: https://liminalnoiserecords.bandcamp.com/