“We find the whole world in tiny things.”
With Spoicke, United Bible Studies continues its examination of textured improvised stillness, or what Simon Cummings referred to as a “loose weave tapestry, where broad gestures sit comfortably beside more intricate, filigree passages.” Recorded for the 2009 VPRO festival in Amsterdam, Spoicke introduces baritone Scarborough-Fair minstrelsy and whirling electronic dervishes in the same breath. Billowing curtains of harp and voice are incised with guitar, percussion and lyrical aphorisms. Not so much inventive as it is self-inventing, and not so much electroacoustic as it is dreamscaped and CTRL+Shifted, this deceptively complex composing ethic will reach out to the acoustic purists and the electron snipers in almost equal measures. And don’t even say the word genre out loud.
If it occurred to us, we could assemble the ghosts-nay, the magicians-of acoustic guitar, lap steel guitar, piano, harp, harmonica, electronics and drum, then stir in some Amsterdam mythology to taste, and our results might come close to Spoicke. But that is what makes United Bible Studies so extraordinary: it would never have occurred to us. Fluid Audio presents Spoicke in a limited edition CD run of 77 for the world, with letter-pressed CD cover, homemade sewn fabric pouch, 300gsm double sided luxury postcard, handmade Larch Elder Futhark rune that has had the symbol burnt into it and finished with natural beeswax, mini card, printed insert with download code, black envelope, all stamped, numbered and sealed. Oh yes and of course some fire resin incense.
The cover design...
The design is variants of the same composition, but the details are different - the idea is that they represent alchemical concepts of the unity of opposites. Day and night (front and back cover) scenery also represent life and death of the magician, who's ghost Doppelgänger haunted the city after his death.
The symbols represent Three Principles, Four Elements, planets and metals. The fact that the title hero was from Amsterdam was truly helpful and inspiring, allowing us to include all four elements/representations in the scenery: air (sky), earth (ground and buildings), fire (sun) and water (river).
David Colohan: Voice, Acoustic & Lap Steel Guitars, Tin Whistle
Richard Moult: Piano
Áine O'Dwyer: Harp, Voice
Gavin Prior: Acoustic & Lap Steel Guitars, Electronics
Oscar Strik: Percussion
Michael Tanner: Guitar, Bowed loops, Voice, Sampled Glass Harmonica
Recorded and mixed by Berry Kramer and VPRO in Amsterdam on the 22nd/23rd May 2009. Additional mixing by Michael Tanner at Greenwitch Studios, Dorset.
Artwork: Madame Bricolage