This is the first new music from former James Cargill since Broadcast's tragic demise. Here he collaborates with Julian House (Ghostbox founder) and Roj Stevens (Broadcast). Certain thematic links remain, notably the understated spookiness and languid pace, but Children of Alice have shaped the core sound into something more atmospheric, aligning with their literary reference of choice which pays tribute to Trish Keenan's love of Alice in Wonderland.
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Previously to be found on Folklore Tapes, the fables of Children of Alice are what remains of [revered… hushed tones..] Broadcast, with James Cargill and Roj Stevens inviting Ghost Box co-founder and designer Julian House along for the wobbly ride. Named in tribute to the late Trish Keenan after her affectionate affiliation with the heroine in Lewis Carroll’s eternal tale, the record opens more spookily than / just as spookily as you might expect given the collective reputations of the people who made it.
First track ‘The Harbinger of Spring’ consumes the entire span of the record’s A side and consists of a collection of drones and eerie effects made with tapes spooled in reverse, children’s toys and assorted percussion. There are even children’s voices on there for that extra bit of ‘Wicker Man’ atmosphere. Although no signs of Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee nor (I really hope not) Nic Cage.
Flipping the record over (sharpish) reveals further mythical imagery in a continuation of theme (this lot are dedicated); the track ‘Rite of the Maypole’ is an unruly procession through distant, hazily recollected villages in Springtime circa who-knows-when. Strums, chatter and laughter all squeezed through music boxes. The music remains hard to pin down as to what exactly has been stitched into its unsettling tapestry; however tablas emerge through dense elements containing perhaps dulcimers and penny whistles, on ‘Invocation of a Midsummer Reverie’. Oh, plus the sounds of groans and someone having their bottom smacked.
A record with genuinely, fascinatingly surreal moments that is, all in all, downright creepy. I need to go and have a wash now before I start my sandwich.
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