Friday, 1 January 2016

Take a trip down The Delaware Road

And we begin...
Reading Town Centre - A dark damp Saturday in November 

The fireworks are exploding around me in time with the mundane tunes of the now. 
I push past the gawping hordes looking out at the Oracle, illuminated by exploding gunpowder expense in this empty ritual to vacuity and excess.
South Street Arts Centre calls. 
Warm red brick.
The old Labour Exchange playing host to ghosts of an imagined past.
The launch of The Delaware Road.
These are not your eyes.

He sits at a table.
Face furrowed in concentration.
This is how it happened.
The lights dim. 
Words weave. 
Tongue and teeth. 
Spit and fury.
Magic and drama. 
Poetry and song. 
Tape and video. 
Valve, magnet, beep, button, loop, moog. 
Sine waves. Liminal waves. Waves of half remembered nostalgia.
We are dragged under the waves into the deep, into and down the Delaware Road.

This unique event was a mesmerizing mix of film, music and poetry. A piece of ritual that at times captured the essence of the UFO gigs with the psychedelic oil projections, dry ice and beautifully weird music.

Surrounded by Smarties they flew their ship onward.

The album that this ritual launched has been in constant use in my house since the gig. Calling up the electric spirits of the 70's, moving me from synthesised ecstasy to mystic knowing to utter joy with each track.The Delaware Road is the brainchild of Alan Gubby, the curator of Buried Treasure, a relatively new but achingly successful record label based in Berkshire.

Hold, hold bare up thy rapture.

The album straddles various genres but is held together by a sense of displaced nostalgia. The title itself is unsettlingly familiar. The Delaware Road, I have been there, I know it.

After several attempts Loose Capacitor make the line go wiggly.

At various stops on the Delaware Road we visit the world of synthesisers, loops and electronica - from the beauty of The Twelve Hour Foundation with Hundreds Twelves and Units; the aural poetry of Ian Helliwell's Water Gardens (his manipulation of ancient sound boxes was a joy to watch); the unsettling joy of Trouble and Strife's The Shag (an instrumental paean to the glories of the thump of glam rock); the electric 80's film noir of Robin LeeAsterion's Que; the freakish mix of sweet loops and demonic possessions in Monoslapper's Twit to the toe-tapping brilliance of  Loose Capacitor with their superb "Theme to Robins Nest".

A watcher in the darkness.
 The road was navigated by Dolly Dolly, his account of this lost aural ritual punctuating the acts. An extract of this poem is on the album. This little snatch of brilliance makes me long for a full length version.

Some people are able to pronounce Revbjelde. I am not one of them.
 The album also plays host to the incredible Revbjelde. This mix of occult chants, didgeridoo, voodoo beats, scratches, mandolin and strings at times seemed like the lovechild of Beats Antique  and the instrumental adventures of the Beastie Boys on Ill Communication  (Tidworth Drum) but it was something far more unique. If I were to sum up the experience of listening to Revbjelde in one word, that word would be: lovelushsmokylicious.

Joining the haunting sounds of Revbjelde is the sublime Howlround's  Cradle Cheat (with their tape hanging all over the shop).  We are also joined by the wonderful Dandelion Set who deliver music that matches their clothes (see above).

The man with long hair escaped the screen four minutes and thirty seven seconds after this picture was taken.

The other houses on the Delware Road are populated by Folk Horror - the Rowan Amber Mill's Buzzard and the Nightingale is a haunting piece of music with harp and vocal used to conjure a dream of mist and heather, whilst the brass of Tongues of Fire is the sort of thing that wouldn't be out of place on the narrow streets of Summerisle.

I will never forget this gig.
It was eye and ear opening.
The album is a joy.
Delaware Road is a place I will be visiting again and again.

Buy it!