Caught by the River

Circle of Light (Original electronic soundtrack recording)

18th July 2016

A new record highlighted on last week’s newsletter from Jonny Trunk had me heading straight to Ye Olde Trunk Shoppe. To understand why I bought a copy immediately you just need to read Jonny’s blurb below. A second copy went straight up to Chris Watson whose enthusiastic response can be found further down the page.

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“So, this new release starts back in 1972 with an independent art film collector / producer / director who owned the Art Film Centre off Piccadilly. His name – Anthony Roland. One evening he met Pamela Bone, a photographer who made unusual and very beautiful multi layered art slides. She preferred to see them projected instead of printed.

So taken with the slides, Roland decided to make a short art film exploring them: Circle Of Light was the result. Rather than accompany the film with poetry Pamela Bone had written, he wanted something more unusual, more challenging. So he commissioned recent aquaintances Delia Derbyshire and artist Elsa Stansfield to produce a soundrack.

At 32 minutes I believe it’s the longest work Derbyshire’s was involved with. Together with Stansfield (who at the time was exploring and obsessing about natural sounds) they produced a peculiar and unique ambient score which fuses sound design, tape manipulation and environmental recordings, such as birdsong. It has never been released before. (JT)

Chris Watson writes:

I knew I was going to like this as soon as I heard the 50z hum which instantly reminded me of Philip Jeck’s turntable work at his finest.

Whooper swans, the Geysir and bold Aeolian tones took me back to a part of Iceland I’ve only ever dreamt about. Circle Of Light is the soundtrack of that dream, recorded with a unique microphone array designed by Delia Derbyshire and Elsa Stansfield rigged by the crater on Snæfellsjökull. The volcanic lava tubes on the mountain appear to act as acoustic resonators which connect and conduct a mosaic of seductive collages from around the world; Mt Fuji, Pinatubo, Krakatau and Stromboli.

Like a cut up of Simon Puxley’s Roxy Music first album sleeve notes from the same era, this record is a fabulous realworld/dreamworld of high flying vortices, mixed/fixed/sifted and lifted into gyrating, parabolic, tantalising, twisted chunks of pure electronic wow.

Curated and released by the fabulous Jonny Trunk this is quite simply one of the best records I have ever heard.

Inspiring and essential listening.

Buy a copy here.