2017 December 

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Skylark by Jonathon Heron made number for out of 25 in Psychedelic waves top 25 albums of 2017

4. Jonathan Heron - Skylark
The alter ego of Jon Chinn of Darkships creates an amazing and distinctive brew of folk music, experimental and Krautrock tunes that explore the psychogeography of the English countryside.

See it here

Hiraeth By Darkships  made the top 25 Albums of 2016 in psychedelic waves  too see that here

Sept 2017

Losing tomorow

Mark Barton – Losing tomorrow – the Sunday experience ….

Hopefully we’ll be grabbing downloads of this one shortly, for now, two brief teaser videos showcasing the arrival of ‘Skylark’ by Jonathon Heron. Appearing to arrive from a similar sound space as Dan Haywood’s New Hawks’ debut from 2010, ‘Skylark’ refuses easy categorization, a good thing by our reckoning, for the best part from what we’ve had the pleasure of hearing, wiggy and fried psych folk is what’s on offer, opening two tracks ‘theme for to the wilderness’ and ‘heron pool’ freefalling sumptuously each carving out for themselves a time, a place and a style that deeply contrasts from its neighbour, the former a beardy and woozy acid fried proggy trip pill that had we not known better, would have surmised was some secret studio conspiracy hatched upon by a gathering of Cranium Pie and Sendelica types. The latter mentioned, had us much recalling the quick fingered willowy rustics of a certain Scott William Urquhart and with that Messrs Rose and Fahey, yet which somewhere mid-way through takes a curious turn going all hazily lazy eyed and village green pastorally with a genteel nod or two to a maypole gathering of Owl Service, XTC, Wicker Man and Freed Unit types.


The active listener log web

October 2017

Heron Pool from "Skylark" by Jonathon Heron was included on The Active listener sampler  avaiable here  Go there here


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October 2017

JONATHON HERON Skylark CDR (Wishing Chair)
Jonathon Heron is an alter-ego of Jon Chinn, who releases a variety of music under different names via his Wishing Chair imprint. The other of his projects that I'm most familiar with is Darkships, who have featured in these pages a while back. Jon has also played guest lead guitar with the important psych/trance band Astralasia, and has appeared on recent releases of theirs on Fruits de Mer and Talking Elephant Records. Skylark is a bespoke handmade release; the edition I have comprises a CDR, 44-page colour photocopied booklet and hand-printed Wishing Chair logo card within a DVD case with homemade artwork, but there are also several other versions to choose from. A download edition is also available for those who prefer that format. The music takes its inspiration from Craddock Moor in South East Cornwall, as well as being "a very personal look at the marks we leave, death and our relationship with the landscape that we never really leave". The booklet includes GPS references for various places that inspired the music, so that listeners can visit in person. There are many nature photographs, as well as writings that convey a spiritual understanding of nature in an often poetic manner, with references to folklore and mythology alongside archaeology and botany.
The album is characterised in the most part by a brand of psych-folk that is delicate and contemplative yet also often celebratory, whilst detours are taken to encompass the heady and intense spacerock of Theme from 'To the Wilderness', the hypnotic mix of vintage synths and birdsong that is Skylark, the ambient psych-rock of 4 Tree Grove, the musically whimsical yet lyrically heartbreaking folk-pop of Conversation with a Pony, and the raw, thrilling, psych-tinged garage rock of Land of the Living. There are also a couple of tracks, Gold Diggings and Cut Me Down, which are unafraid to explore harsher realities such as suicide. This is a superb album, the excellent music accompanied by a complete artistic package prepared with care and attention to detail. It deserves to reach a wider audience than the very limited nature of this release will provide. It's good to know that Jonathon Heron is working on a sequel which applies a similar approach to the urban landscape. In the meantime, Skylark is available at

2016 May

Review for Hiraeth and See the summercolt from Bliss aquamarine    

DARKSHIPS Hiraeth and See How the Summer Colt Rides CDRs (Wishing Chair) Two new albums from Darkships, available as downloads or limited edition CDRs in handmade fold-out paper hiraethcoverblissaquamarinesleeves. Darkships is the project of Jon Chinn, also featuring various collaborators including Marc Swordfish of Astralasia. Hiraeth brings a diverse set of influences together into a coherent whole. Play the Light is a liquid, hypnotic psych track bookended by experimental soundscaping comprising whooshing and pulsating electronics and found sounds. To You, From Where? is a very inventive piece of song-based yet experimental electronica, incorporating electronically processed voice and atmospheric use of trumpet. Because of the Sun is an instrumental piece that blurs the lines between experimental, prog and spacerock, and is well worth investigating if you enjoy the more experimental sounds to come out of the Stone Premonitions stable. The Westward Path melds funk and jazz with heavy prog rock and vintage style electronica. Jon describes See How the Summer Colt Rides as "a nod to my post-punk/psych roots". It's certainly that, but not without Darkships' usual willingness to experiment and venture beyond the norm. Silver Fishes is a mix of dark and angular post-punk and experimental electronica. Speak to the Mountain is intense psych-rock with experimental undercurrents. Go Deeper is a kind of ambient/world fusion, with atmospheric vocals from guest singer Phoebe. Out My Tree combines melodic punk and noisy indiepop aspects with inventive use of electronics and even a homage to The Beatles' She Loves You. Fire Wheel is brooding post-punk with hints of dark folk adding to the ominous atmosphere. Counting Sheep mixes post-punk with ethereal electronic accompaniment. Eclectic, innovative, boundary-busting sounds - visit Download these and other Darkships music here

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Skylark by Jonathon Heron submitted by Andy B

Win one of a very limited edition of the geo-questing new album Skylark by Jonathon Heron, each with different custom artwork and booklets. Jonathon's music is deeply rooted in the landscape and appreciation of ancient places,I've reviewed the album track by track, tied in with links to some of the key

Jonathon - who is perhaps better known in psych-rock circles as his alter ego
Darkships - wanted to support our work by offering some of his own, and we were
very happy to accept - barter being such an ancient form of trade of course.

So we have limited edition CDs, prints and art booklets from the new album for
you to enjoy - some versions now sold out I think. In real money it's about £80
worth of stuff so don't look a gift horse (hungry pony?) in the mouth.

If you would like to win one please see the bottom of this page - the first of
two competitions on the Megalithic Portal this month - exciting!

Jonathon writes: I am a practicer of phenomenology and landscape interpretation
- Skylark focuses on Craddock Moor, which is part of Bodmin Moor (Cornwall). I
am interested in giving identities and significance to features in the
landscape. We are the landscape, energy contained within our physical outline.
As flicker of light on a mountainside, between two eternities. The wilderness
isn’t a place to be afraid of. It is freedom. A place for magic and
enchantment. Enter the wilderness to find yourself.

I have imprinted my own layer on the landscape of the moor. My narrative.
Walked the paths. Visited and returned to places described here. Sat and
watched the ebb and flow of cloud and light. Location as trigger. Sat with
“ghosts” of 1000s. Their own moment of light. Granite worn smooth with the
touch of hand or lanolin stained from the scratch itch relief of animals.

So what is it all about? Here's my review:

Psychedelic acoustic shoegaze spacerock - no none of these limited labels seems
quite right - this is pretty unique stuff. I'll take you through the tracks
with my thoughts, and Jonathon's as well.

Theme for to the Wilderness

AB: Sets the scene with a good bit of 70s woo woo synth grooove and
doubletracked guitar. On a subsequent listen I felt this would work better
later on in the running order as I want to get on to the story. Which is coming

Heron Pool AB: A tone of intrigue (or is that a ton of intrigue?) -
bright sounding multi-layered acoustic guitars - don't sleep by the pool!

JH: The strong south westerly wind compressed all surface matter, living or
otherwise, towards the eastern shore of the pool. It sent the living to seek
shelter within the water crows foot that grew at the margins. The only free
standing water in the local area. A focus point. Read More

Location: About 40m from Craddock Moor embanked avenue

Heron Pool (N50°31.337' W4°28.674') = SX 2445 7210


AB: As billed, very pleasant skylark birdsong with phasey looped synth - birding binoculars at
the ready! (and that's not a bad pun - skylarks don't have bills they have

The other path

AB: Jolly electric piano groove, mellow guitar - a bit much voice reverb - I
would have preferred more of an outdoor feel - 'I can't help wondering where
the other path would lead me' - profound

Conversation with a pony at Caradon Circle

AB: The story of a hungry abandoned pony - playful and jolly, but the mood
changes abruptly like the weather on a windy moor into...

Because of the Sun

AB: 'We are where we are because of the sun' - well indeed - what can I add to

Location: Craddock Moor
(N50°31.205' W4° 28.304')
= SX 2488 7184

Again a mood change into Hill of Swallows - lots of interest here.

JH: Supernatural stones and places create mythology that I think ultimately
protects wildness areas by naming them and giving them value. There are indeed
faces in the rocks around Sharp Tor, its orientation north east south west and
proximity to Stowe hill must have made it significant to the locals. It's an
excellent summer solstice location too.

Faces on Sharp tor (N50°32.222' W4°27.411') = SX 2599 7369

Solution Pool

AB: JH has introduced me to the wonders of solution pools - can you literally
search for solutions?

JH says: Solution pools, or basins, are formed on the tallest rock outcrops on
the moor, a product of normal erosion on the hardest granite. Small
indentations become progressively bigger as the granite dissolves over
thousands of years, quartz crystals form a layer at the bottom of the hollow.
Christopher Tilly (See Ref) asserted that these basins, eroded into each other,
interconnected, must have been seen as works of “antiquity” by Neolithic
cultures. Ian Cooke considers the central holed stone at Men-an- tol is almost
certainly a repositioned Tor top stone, the hole being an eroded through
solution pool. (See Ref)

​Sharp Tor solution pool (N50°32.226' W4°27.474')
= SX 2592 7370


AB: A dark, deep guitar lament - ends on a note of despair (Extra track on CD)

Cut me down

AB: I was wondering if I should I give the story away but the song title rather
does - 'Cut me down' leads on to 'lay my body on the stone' - and another wild
mood change half way though to hit you with a double-Hendrix psychedelic wall
and very nice layered guitar work. Julian Cope fans should appreciate this one
too. As the mood lifts do I interpret this to be just resting not dying - or is
the mood lift the lift into the afterlife? It's all getting a bit much for your
humble reviewer

Gold Diggin's

AB: very bleak and again I didn't follow the story fully. Lovely intricately
finger picked guitar parts with unusual interactions between instruments

4 Tree Grove

AB: Ambient with drones and bubbling - yes I was getting bubbling - I like it

JH: Four Hawthorns in a grove. A rare haven.

(N50°31.447' W4°28.523') = SX 2463 7230


I am landscape


AB: More wooo wooo 70s influences - feels circular like a lot of this album -
head spinny

Pools of light

AB: Comes in like a catchy 'single' style acoustic track but 20 seconds in
dissolves to swirling guitar and synth which remains for the rest of the track
- you're playing with my head Jonathon!

(N50°31.576'; W4°28.638') = SX 2451 7254

Pic (Left): Bronn Wennili ( Hill of swallows) hvélsveg himins – swallower of
the wheel of heaven [the sun] lino print

Land of the Living

AB: Back to stripped guitar and vocal which builds with fuzzy and intertwining
guitar parts - Like it

JH: ​Embanked avenue: (N50°31.329'
W4°28.739') = SX 2437272087

Theme from my Pagan Head

AB: Lots of intertwining guitars and buzzy synth - mmmm

(The following are Extra tracks on CD)

What lives under Stone 23?

AB: Immediate set up with a pan-dimensional rabbit guarding this stone - JH is
aware of the strangeness but the strangeness carries on regardless - the rabbit
says "get out of my home"

JH: People who visit this place are committed. This isn’t an easy find - no
visitor’s car park, no 50-yard walk – this is a tricky spot. As usual though as
soon as you see a couple of stones in the row, it is obvious that it was on

(N50°31.405' W4° 28.997') = SX 2407 7224 approx

I am the Wilderness

AB: Circular vocoder style vocalisation - going a bit acid - help!

JH: As I get older, I spend more time on the moor. I like the space. I like the
clarity and the familiarity. It’s a head state. Awareness of the weather,
visibility, shadows and the saturation of colour. I return to it when I need to
as we will all return to the landscape eventually.

Stride Out

AB: The Skylark is back but seems to be sounding an alarm - guitars going a bit
Mogwai, then going for take-off - beam me up!

Summing up: All in all I found the circularity starting to mess with my head -
I feel it could work as two albums - a more acoustic storytelling one and a moody
droney one. Combining these two into one truly confounds your expectations and
makes for something unique and rather unsettling. Perhaps not JH's style but I
would like to hear more naturalistic outdoor recording in a future geo-tied

If you like Julian Cope's music I think you will like this - not to suggest
over-similarity - there's plenty of psychedelic water between JC and JH. Other
echoes were to me of a more acoustic and stripped back tripped out Mogwai or
Ride - 'for fans of' as your average music mag might say.



November 2017 rumbles

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2017 November Rumbles

Jonathon Heron –      Skylark  Ltd CD ( with 44 page booklet)/ download. There are also a series of limited prints and photographs available from Wishing Chair.

    John Heron is the pseudonym of guitarist singer- songwriter Jon Chinn, and Skylark is his first album bearing this particular moniker.  This is an album informed by Craddock Moor and its environs, deep in Cornwall and comes with poems, photographs, maps and even GPS location references, so you can land on the coordinates of the song.

     Taking its cue from the recent Robert MacFarlane novels, plus greatly informed by standing stones, cairns, bogs, and the general landscape around that area, and also by the writings of William Blake and Percy Shelly, amongst the many more inspirations and suggested readings all listed in the extensive 44 page booklet.  Split in to two parts (Jon is currently recording part 2) with the second instalment having more of an urban theme, this one is defiantly rural, oh yes! 

     The record begins with some windblown synthesiser, acoustic rhythm guitar and searing lead guitar bursts, a driving bass and drum pattern, we are introduced to “Theme from ‘To The Wilderness’” which sets us firmly in prog territory.  Things turn a little more acoustic and pagan, with “Heron Pond”.  The sound of Skylarks singing accompanies the synth infested title track “Skylark” which burbles merrily along.

     As the record progresses, we are introduced to conversations with ponies, we take in standing stones and walk on wild paths, and we also meet strange trees and gaze into pools of light.  There are some lovely moments throughout this never less than interesting record.  Of particular note is “Because of the Sun” / “Hill of Swallows” where we are taken up to the summit of Brown Willie, the highest point in Cornwall.

 The raw electric spiralling of “Lament” works well, as does the following song “A tree grove” this floydlike song segues nicely into the decidedly wonky “I am Landscape”.  Closing out the record “Theme from ’My Pagan Head’” has more of the corrosive blistering lead guitar, that Jon deploys to great effect throughout the record

 2016 October rumbles have put out a new record by Darkships 'Hiraeth'. Darkships is essentially the work of Jon Chinn, who uses loops and found sound to build foundations for him and other musicians to add to. Starting with the Krautrock flavoured 'Play The Light' which segues via seagulls and sparrows into 'To You, From Where', a quite straightforward electro pop song with lots of nice taught brass, next 'Silver Wheel' continues in a similar vein, it's a dreamy, lush slow song with oodles of space and plenty of organ. 'Because The Sun' is a classy psych rock tune which slowly builds into a dense melange of sounds. The albums centrepiece is the epic ten minute plus 'The Westward Path' , this starts with drums and trumpets before the Robert Frippesque guitar joins in, accompanied by synthesizer reminiscent of Tangerine Dream, it builds and builds into flowing spacerock territory with plenty of fluid lead guitar, turning quite funky towards the end, fans of Teeth Of The Sea will find much to admire here.

'Hireath' the title track is reminiscent of 70's kraftwerk, while'242 Was The Number ' adds piano and is quite Jazzy and continues the seventies feel in a jazz rock way. 'Reflection' is the final song and it takes us back down with a piano based tune accompanied by the sound of rolling waves crashing onto some lonely Cornish beach, which is indeed where Jon resides...lovely and highly recommended.


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Hiraeth By Darkships

 Darkships is the brainchild of UK musician Jon Chinn. Chinn uses loops and found sounds to build a framework for him and other musicians to add too, creating rich, textured and quite varied psychedelic music. Hiraeth draws in part from previously released works by Darkships, while adding new parts and material to create a collection of pieces that flow together naturally, despite their eclectic nature.

The opening track, Play the Light, shifts from electronic drone to mesmeric Krautrock to drifting ambient sections, all while remaining highly listenable. To You. From Where? Is a vaguely unsettling, off-kilter electronic pop song, with a bit of an early 80’s vibe to it. Similarly, Silver Wheel capitalizes on that early 80’s atmosphere with lush organ, eccentric basslines and processed vocals. This dreamy number builds slowly into a spacey wall of noise, full of energy and ancient choirs.

Chinn seems to enjoy that slow burn as he utilizes it on a number of the songs on Hiraeth. Because of the Sun, for example, begins as a brooding, atmospheric guitar meditation and then deliberately builds over evolving rhythms before taking on a triumphant 60’s psychedelia flavour towards the end. The central piece, and standout track on the album is the mind-blowing The Weatward path, which over its 10 ½ minute length goes from a mélange of late night jazz, Tangerine Dreamish electronic sequences and Frippian guitar meanderings to a stunning spaced out freak funk jam that really tears the roof off. The title track, on the other hand, with its motorik rhythms and robotic voices has a slight bit of Kraftwerk sensibility to it, but yet is something much more complex, almost industrial in nature, without ever getting too harsh, giving it more of a space rock vibe. 242 was the number begins with some jazzy solo piano, and slowly evolves into a laidback, 70’s style jazz-rock piece with deep, spacey organ, horns and bluesy guitar squalls. The album concludes with the brief, piano based reflection, set to the sound of rolling waves.

While listening to Hiraeth, I was often reminded of some of the eclectic works of 80’s artists like Bill Nelson, Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Sylvian, but with an added influence from 70’s jazz and Krautrock. The eclectic nature of the album is not a detriment but an amazing strength. How Chinn manages to make all this work together is nothing short of breathtaking, making Hiraeth must listening for fans of any of the kinds of music mentioned here in the review.


We sit where the Sun rises By Darkships

We Sit where the Sun rises comprises two 22+ minute long tracks, stitched together from shorter tracks on two earlier Darkships albums, Phase 1 and Phase 2, with additional sections of found sounds to tie it all together. The idea, I think, was that by removing gaps between individual songs and presenting it in this continuous manner, it would be a much more deeply immersive headphone experience. And that is something where it succeeds at admirably.

Chinn has created two vast landscapes full of life and sound, a psychoacoustic world blended with psychedelic jazz, funk, bluesy rock, tribal percussion, electronic Krautrock and ambient elements for a total sonic experience quite like no other. Many of the sections are taken from live studio jams, so they have a loose and organic feel and flow so naturally into one another, that if I had not known there was editing involved, I surely would have thought it had always been one continuous piece of music. It flows as if it was, feeling natural in its ups and downs, in its faster and slower moments, and its build to a conclusion that feels refreshing and satisfying. It may all sound very experimental from the way I’ve described it, and in a sense it is, but it is also very accessible. It strikes a nice balance between cerebral sonic territory and just an easy and pleasurable listening experience.

With the headphones on, in a dark room, it’s easy to get totally lost in this music, because it creates its own world that the mind has no trouble at all filling with visual images, from rushing cityscapes to leisurely oceanside amblings; from strolls through fields of ancient standing stones to climbs up the sides of mighty mountains, this brilliant music can conjure up almost anything or any place your mind wants to take you.

For more info and to purchase the albums, visit and






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