Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Various Artists - Electric Eden Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music (England 2012) @320

Here's what this CD is: a soundtrack to the central chapters of Rob Young's book of the same name. It's a wide-ranging, imaginative and hugely engaging selection of music that's in varying parts dreamy, introspective, scary and downright weird. Often simultaneously.

Here's what this CD isn't: a history of British folk or a history of British folk-rock, or a collection of rarities. However, other reviewers have tackled it as if it were, and marked it down accordingly. That's an injustice, and about as logical as criticising a detective novel for being poor science fiction.

Take this for what it is, and not for what someone incorrectly assumes it is or ought to be, and a rewarding listen is guaranteed. Young's book is a study of how certain British musicians take inspiration from history, landscape, folklore, and a certain ambivalence about progress and thus produce work with a certain - for want of a less hifalutin' term - visionary and mystical sensibility (it sounds pretentious, but as Young describes things, it isn't). His narrative starts with early 20th century classical composers, and ends up, via the likes of Kate Bush, Julian Cope and Talk Talk, at contemporary "Hauntology" artists.

In between, he sees the greatest flowering of this visionary music taking place in the folk-rock era, for obvious reasons. That's the period this CD covers. There's a mix of (comparatively) big names and virtual unknowns, and some tracks are relativey famous while others are desperately obscure. Compilations being what they, are each listener will have their preferred tracks and quality control can be variable, but this merits five stars because each track sheds some light on Young's key idea.

Because Young's discussing an aesthetic perspective rather than a plodding view of what is or isn't folk or folk-rock, it's entirely right and proper that the CD finds room for prog-rock and singer-songwriters working in the same general area as what's more consensually seen as folk-rock. If you're not appalled by the prospect of something that falls outside your arbitrary genre definition appearing here, but you like the general idea of Young's hypothesis, you'll find this CD stimulating, rewarding and, who knows, maybe even a little bit visionary.
-Reviewed by Runmentionable-

CD1: Acoustic Eden
01 - Peter Bellamy - Oak, Ash and Thorn
02 - Traffic - John Barleycorn Must Die
03 - Bert Jansch - The Waggoner's Lad
04 - Fairport Convention - Stranger to Himself
05 - Archie Fisher - Reynardine
06 - Bread, Love and Dreams - Brother John
07 - Bill Fay - Garden Song
08 - Water Into Wine Band - Stranger in the World
09 - Tudor Lodge - Willow Tree
10 - Comus - Diana
11 - Meic Stevens - Yorric
12 - Magic Carpet - The Dream
13 - Sweeney's Men - The Pipe on the Hob
14 - Tim Hart & Maddy Prior - False Knight on the Road
15 - Dr Strangely Strange - Dark-Haired Lady
16 - Albion Country Band - I Was a Young Man
17 - COB - Music of the Ages
18 - Roger Nicholson - The Carman's Whistle
19 - Bridget St John - Fly High
20 - John Martyn - She Moves Through the Fair

CD2: Electric Albion
01 - Richard Thompson - Roll over Vaughn Williams
02 - Steeleye Span - The Lark in the Morning
03 - Unicorn - Country Road
04 - Fairport Convention - A Sailor's Life
05 - Trees - Glasgerion
06 - Fotheringay - Gypsy Davey
07 - David Bowie - Black Country Rock
08 - John Martyn - Glistening Glyndebourne
09 - Mike Cooper - Paper and Smoke
10 - Shelagh McDonald - Mirage
11 - Spirogyra - Disraeli's Problem
12 - Mick Softley - Time Machine
13 - Shirley Collins & The Albion Country Band - Murder of Maria Marten
14 - Pentangle - Jack Orion
15 - Incredible String Band - Painted Chariot
16 - Nick Drake - Voices


CrimsonKing said...


Electric Eden

Password: folkyourself.blogspot.com

surcouf said...

now it works. thanks a lot !

Jon said...

I was able to download this without any problems to my computer. It does give a warning message about downloading large files to 'your' cloud drive rather then to a PC but in my case it sailed through with no difficulties. Just a FYI.

mac man said...

Tried at least a dozen times now the password aint correct or the file is corrupt either way it saint work !!!

CrimsonKing said...

Try to open de file in another computer.
The PW is OK.

Janet Reedman said...

Downloaded, with thanks. But it's not liking the password?

Anonymous said...


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