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Review from Andy Megalithic as part of tha recent competiton to win copies of Skylark + links to Megalithic portal pages and photos of locations on the Moor that Sklark is based . Some sites are commited, sensitive or both so I've not put specific locations for these ( Nanny state - whatever !) but they can be found with a bit of research !  As with all sites the balance between active monitoring and erosion is critical . Make part of the  routine yet revered. Knowledge is safety !

Win one of 5 copies of 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 locations. 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 practioner 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 withm “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 groove 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 next:

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.

Location: About 40m from Craddock Moor embanked avenue Heron Pool (N50°31.337' W4°28.674') = SX 2445 7210

Skylark

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 beaks)

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 that.Location: Craddock Moor circle (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

Lament

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 GroveAB: 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

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 download)

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 inthe row, it is obvious that it was on purpose.

(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 moretime 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 twointo one truly confounds your expectations and makes for something unique andrather unsettling. Perhaps not JH's style but I would like to hear more
naturalistic outdoor recording in a future geo-tied release.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 orRide - 'for fans of' as your average music mag might say.

Ref: Christopher Tilley
(2010)
Interpreting Landscapes - Explorations in Landscape Phenomenology 3

Ref: Ian McNeil Cooke (1996) Journey to the Stones

If you would like the chance of winning a Limited Edition copy of Skylark by Jonathon Heron - please say if you are a TMP contributory member as there is priority for
members - but as we have five slightly different variants all with CDs and artwork to give away you are in with a good chance either way.We have to ask a question so it's not a prize draw or something - so please answer this question: Which moor is Jonathon Heron exploring? Email Andy B at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Closing Date: End of 22nd October 2017

JblissaquamarineONATHON 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 jonathonheron.bandcamp.com Kim Harten

 The Sunday experience 24th Sept 2017

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. https://jonathonheron.bandcamp.com/album/skylark  Mark Barton

 

 

 

Darkships are making an hour long program for Free radio Brooklyn in New York. Fake news agenda, sound tracks for films that were never made, cross boarder harmony all feature. This likely to be available to all at some point in 2018.

The Track "The Other Path" from the Album Skylark by Skylark was played on BBC Radio Cornwall on the 26th August

 

Tracks from Hiraeth by Darkships and Skylark By Jonathon Heron have featured on the Bushwick Garage , Free Radio Brooklyn - New York over the last few weeks. Free radio Brooklyn is a very well though of Arts based Community radio set up and wishing chair are pleased to be involved with them .

Free Radio Brooklyn  

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