Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Wittenham Clumps

Last Saturday we had a show in Oxford so we made a short detour on the way to the Wittenham Clumps, the much beloved Beech-capped chalk hills 10 miles south of the dreaming spires.

The Wittenham Clumps are also locally called Mother Dunch's Buttocks, no comment!

Dead Sheep Please?

On the top of the middle clump, aka Castle hill (due to it's ancient hill fort origins), you can find 2/3rds of Bomber Jackets and a tree with a poem carved around it's trunk engaging with the hidden, quasi-mystical origins of the clumps.

Someone had left an offering at the poem tree in the form of some scattered tulips, from this vantage point we could see the first clump, hiding a barrow under it's stark cluster of trees.

Walking around Castle hill, we come full circle and head down the bank over to Round hill, looking every bit like the mysterious clumps captured in so many of Paul Nash's paintings from the area throughout his life. It's 100 years since Paul Nash first visited the Wittenham Clumps and sketched their strange shapes for the first time. They certainly add a surreal air to this largely flat yet serene landscape.

As we walk anti-clockwise around Round hill we come across a keen group of remote control glider enthusiasts who seem transfixed in their graceful, slow-motion world.

As the glider's tap the thermals rushing up from the side of the steep hill we notice a Red Kite using the same thermal elevator and wonder at what it makes of today's huge benign birds answering to the flat-capped ants below.

Please note - If you're in Dorchester (probably post-Ploughman's, necking a cold beverage outside their Co-Op) and you've found a small black necklace of round stone beads, there is a reward going!

In Oxford, Adventures Close To Home kindly set up a show for Way Through and Bomber Jackets in the basement of the Modern Art Oxford gallery which was a lot of fun. Upstairs there's a brilliant exhibition curated by George Shaw of more Graham Sutherland paintings than we've ever seen. Perfect.

After the show we drove via Aylesbury homewards, stopping off occasionally to toast stomping grounds of old and a number of past schools, under the cover of darkness.

A play about a man with a desire to acquire a personalised numberplate fills our heads courtesy of Radio 4.

No red lights until Dalston.

Sunday morning.


Tuesday, 28 February 2012


One week today we start our short tour with FUTURE ISLANDS, very exciting! Here's where we'll be playing...

Tuesday 6 March - LONDON - The Scala
Wednesday 7 March - GLASGOW - Captain's Rest
Thursday 8 March - NEWCASTLE - Cluny 2
Friday 9 March - BRIGHTON - The Haunt

Also on Friday, we just found out we're going to be doing a special 2 hour performance at Tate Britain on April 13th, probably starting around 8pm and for our backdrop we have these to keep us company!!!

... oh yes, did we mention it's free? Plus, Patrick Keiller is concluding his Robinson narrative with a new installation in the Duveen gallery too. More soon!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Between 1826-1835, Romantic artist, Samuel Palmer lived in the small village of Shoreham in Kent. During this time, through his sketchbooks and paintings, Palmer discovered in Shoreham a visionary landscape, a new jerulsalem, a paradise near Seven Oaks. Mysterious moons hang heavy in the vaulted skies above lush fields of corn in the rural idyll of his artwork, populated with sleeping shepherds and reclining readers. This January, we made a Way Through pilgrimage to Shoreham in order to find our own version of this visionary landscape, only updated through the quotidien wreckage of the 21st century. We made a number of sketches and drawings of the village whilst we were there and these have come together in our 'Shoreham Revisited' project with sees our dawbings gracing a t-shirt and companion zine. 'Shoreham Revisited' is available from us at shows, from Rough Trade or from Upset The Rhythm's webshop here.

Thursday, 16 February 2012


Wharram Percy is a Deserted Medieval Village (there are over 3,000 DMVs in Britain) nestled in a valley of the Yorkshire wolds. Largely wiped out by the Black Death but finally abandoned when local farm wages sunk drastically in 1500, Wharram Percy today is a curious echo of a once village. A ruined Church (as much outside within due to its lack of a roof) stands at one end of the settlement, next to a recreated fishpond and graveyard. Up on the overlooking plateau the remains of paths, crofts and building walls can be traced, whilst hares gamble over weathered stones and forgotten pasts.


When we were on tour last week, we made a special trip to rural Cheshire to visit the oldest tree in England. Here's a photograph of us standing inside the sessile Oak tree, a visual metaphor that also actually happened. The tree is situated at the end of a driveway in Marton, linking with Oak Lane. It has produced acorns every one of its. approx. 1600 years of life, and now has let the weather split the trunk into discrete portions, which all cast their shadow across a nearby saloon car and garage. Inside the Oak you can shelter from the snow and consider the metal owl someone has left as a companion for the ancient timber.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


We had a brilliant time on tour with our friends Peepholes and Gentle Friendly!! To read all about it whilst looking at many photographic records, click on us with the Rudston Megalith above! x

Monday, 6 February 2012


Not far south from Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor lies Dozmary Pool, the reported dwelling place of The Lady In The Lake and the plate of water where Excalibur was returned to by Bedivere after King Arthur's fatal wounding at the battle of Camlann. Dozmary Pool is claimed also as the site where a particularly mean-spirited Cornish magistrate called Jan Tregeagle made a Faustian pact with the Devil for unrivaled power and wealth, upon his death the openly-disliked Tregeagle was summoned to the depths of Dozmary Pool for an eternity of torment. Today, Dozmary Pool is a creepily desolate place, birds flock silently across the horizon, weathered posts sink into the glooping mud, for all appearances the lake resembles a leaden mirror, still and melancholic, all too quiet and unpopulated, engaging and wild.


Wistman's Wood is a prehistoric copse of stunted penduculate oak trees in the centre of Dartmoor. It's an isolated throwback from a past landscape, the ancient trees are distortions, creeping out between a terrain of mossy granite boulders resembling miniature barrows, perhaps the resting places for the hellhounds of the Wild Hunt who legend has it reside here. Rotting leaves, curtains of lichen and gnarly branches make for a completely intriguing ambience. Wistman's Wood either derives its name from the druids (or wise men) who may have originally planted its acorns or from the Devon dialect term for haunted and uncanny, "wisht", and in fact its pack of eerie canine persuers are also known as wish-hounds.

If you'd like to visit Wistman's Wood, set off from the layby of the disused quarry opposite the hotel at Two Bridges, follow the footpath past the farm, then take to the crumbling stone steps until they degrade into moorland. Follow the West Dart river along the valley for 20 minutes and you'll soon see the other-worldly dwarfed woodland cowering on the slopes of the east bank.


Here's some photographs we took last week at Barbara Hepworth's studio and sculpture garden in St Ives! It was a very special place; serene, composed and breathtakingly peaceful, hidden behind high walls, nestled on the top of the hill in the sand-sweeped town.

Friday, 3 February 2012


We're about to hit the road for...



Friday 3 – BRIGHTON – Green Door Store / 7pm / £6
Saturday 4 – MANCHESTER – Kraak Gallery / 8pm / £5
Sunday 5 – CARDIFF – Undertone / 7.30pm / £5
Tuesday 7 – LONDON – CafĂ© Oto / 7.30pm / £5
Wednesday 8 – LEEDS – Brudenell Social Club / 8pm / £5
Thursday 9 – NEWCASTLE – Teasy Does It / 8pm / £3
Friday 10 – GLASGOW – Nice N Sleazy / 8pm / £5
Saturday 11 – LEAMINGTON SPA – Leamington Assembly / £5
Sunday 12 – CAMBRIDGE – The Portland / 8pm / £5.50

Over the last eight years Upset The Rhythm have inexhaustibly sought out the best underground sounds from all over the world. With fifty releases under their belt and their inspired series of YES WAY festivals they continually focus the spotlight on the UK’s own idiosyncratic DIY music. February 2012 sees the label hit the road with three incredibly inventive bands from their native soil to bring their pastoral punk, junked rhythms and tribal synth dance parties to the near and far of the United Kingdom. Upset The Rhythm’s Kingdom Tour sees GENTLE FRIENDLY, WAY THROUGH and PEEPHOLES team up to present a revolving lineup that resonates deep within landscape, drawing on forgotten pasts and remembered futures in equal measure.
Here’s a more in depth look at all the UTR artists featured on the tour…

GENTLE FRIENDLY are a duo from London, comprised of David Morris and Richard Manber, who have a penchant for circular melodies, tidal fuzz and rapid junked rhythms. With an austere setup of Casio keyboard, vocals and drums (sometimes electronic) the band push against the pop boundary, trapping their songs on record like a continuous sun-warped field recording. 2009 saw Gentle Friendly release their debut album 'Ride Slow' to critical acclaim, with Pitchfork even citing Clipse and Lil Wayne as influences on the band. Since then Gentle Friendly have remodeled and rebuilt their sound into a stronger beast at their home studio called Deep House. Bringing us up to date, new EP 'Rrrrrrr' is the first fruit to fall from the tree, with its seven tracks washing the band's insistent prism punk alongside more tender, filmic textures.
WAY THROUGH are a pastoral punk duo originally from Shropshire, now residing in London. Informed by the field as much as the flyover, Way Through write songs which phase in and out with guitar, tapes, damaged drums and vocals. Using wrong-footed repetition, rapid interplay and free-looping happenstance the band create a ragged yet intuitive tapestry of sound. Their songs walk the streets of market towns, wait forever at bus stops and lose themselves in edgelands. Way Through find great resonance with the spirit of place and try and channel its feeling into their music, joining the dots between lost places and deteriorating histories. Their debut album 'Arrow Shower' is out now on Upset The Rhythm, alongside the band's new deep map project of London's East End.
PEEPHOLES are Katia Barrett (drums, vocals) and Nick Carlisle (keyboards). The Brighton / London duo formed in 2006 after bonding over a Chinese violin and the quietest of music. Pretty soon they turned the volume up and hit on their winning strategy of soaring, stammering synth lines, tribalised drumming and low-slung vocals. Walking a tightrope between underground punk and dance music, Peepholes write cloaked anthems as likely to open celestial gates with keys of repetition as to soundtrack a slow motion fairground accident. Their sound is otherworldly, aching with wild beats, echoing with cavernous atmospheres. Upset The Rhythm have released a split 12” and a mini-album entitled ‘Caligula’ most recently.


The DIY heroes at Capital A records just released their first tape compilation this week and Way Through are on it, along with Chapter Sweetheart, Left Leg and Gaea Girls. It's a really nice project and only costs £3 (inc. free download) from here, limited to 50 so pick one up asap.