Good news this week from both the past and the future. First to the future, and please enjoy this video, the soundtrack of which may ring a bell – albeit the tolling of a particularly lonesome and desolate one:
Yes, we’re very excited to announce a new Howlround composition (although those of you who follow me on Soundcloud might find it familiar) is to be included on The Delaware Road, a brand new compilation scheduled for an early 2015 release on Alan Gubby’s Buried Treasure imprint – indeed you might remember their excellent Rare Psyche, Moogs and Brass LP of library obscurities from earlier this year. We’re decidedly chuffed to have been asked, and to be sharing the stage with such luminaries as Ian Helliwell, The Dandelion Set, Monoslapper et al. Your choice of vinyl, CD or DL and more details will follow in due course, but in the meantime I can reveal that this new work has been created entirely from the sound of a squeaky microphone cradle in a New Broadcasting House studio. You can even follow this very studio on Twitter, if that doesn’t feel like too ridiculous a pastime, and perhaps send it a congratulatory message or two for possessing such inordinately musical properties.
Now for the past. In an absurdly coincidental piece of good-timing, we’re equally chuffed to announce that this aforementioned new composition, as well as a couple of choice selections from Howlround’s growing back catalogue, were used to add a little chilly gravitas to BBC Radio 3’s Sunday feature ‘The Supernatural North’ last week. Presented by “New Generation Thinker” Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough and produced by Philippa Ritchie, the programme ‘journeys to Arctic Norway in search of the supernatural world that haunts the imagination of writers such as Philip Pullman, A.S. Byatt, C.S. Lewis, Hans Christian Andersen and the authors of the medieval Icelandic sagas’.
As the dark winter nights draw in, our thoughts turn to all things Northern – roaring fires and woolly jumpers, snow, ice, and the faint jingle of Father Christmas’s sleigh. But across the centuries, a weirder, wilder North has lurked in the imaginative shadows: a North populated by mountain trolls, demons and direwolves, white witches and white walkers, snow queens and Sámi shamans. Following the trail of a 9th century Norseman called Ohthere, who travelled along the northern coast of Norway and down to the White Sea in Russia, Eleanor sets out from the coastal city of Tromsø in northern Norway. But whereas Ohthere wanted to survey the land and acquire walrus ivory, reindeer and exotic furs, Eleanor is looking for a stranger North – a place inhabited by mountain trolls, witches and giants.
I don’t know about you, but they had me at ‘dark winter nights’. Plus there’s an intriguing moment involving the penis-bone of a Walrus for added measure, surely something no self-respecting documentary can do without nowadays. At the time of writing, ‘The Supernatural North’ is still available here for your listening pleasure, but the BBC does have some funny ideas about just how long such material should be made available for general consumption; so you’re advised to dig in while you still can. And anyone else working on investigations into direwolves, white witches and the like that will require sound-tracking is warmly encouraged to get in touch. I think you’ll find our rates most competitive.
Oh, and Happy Christmas, Everyone! Festive tidings to you and your kin from the happy hearth here at Fog Towers. Hope your Christmas is restful and jolly and entirely free of televised Forsythian light-ent dancing atrocities. We can but hope…