Writing cannot capture everything about our response to the landscape. Music provides a further source of expression and as a non-musician I have turned to the works of others that I feel help express my year long search for ordinary natural things. You'll see Martyn Bennett appears seven times out of the nineteen tracks. For me, his music is most rooted in the landscape, but perhaps you know of others. All of the tracks below, bar Jacobite Bebop, are available for download.
Jim Cain by Bill Callahan
This song set a catalyst in my mind.
Chapter 1: Detail of Winter
Blackbird by Martyn Bennett
I noticed the song of the blackbird in this chapter, what a voice.
Chapter 2: Finding Nature
I'm walking to a farm by Ivor Cutler
A simple, mindful walk to a farm.
Too Many Birds by Bill Callahan
Unsettled rooks caught my attention.
Chapter 3: Hawks
Hallaig by Martyn Bennett
The loss of the rowan at Cwm Idwal brought the poem Hallaig by Sorely MacLean to mind. A poem that uses imagery of nature to reflect on the landscape left after the highland clearances of Rasaay. Accompanied by the tune “The woods of Rasaay” by Martyn Bennett.
Chapter 4: Connected
Dh’ èirich Mi Moch Maduinn Chèitinn by Martyn Bennett
"I arose early on a May morning..." A song about the delights of early summer, the early sunrise, birds singing, and dew glistening in the dawn. Brought to mind by a scene at Dunstall.
Flora/Fauna by Anamanaguchi
The energy of this track best sums up my feelings at the end of the chapter. The music is created using hacked video game hardware from the 1980s combined with traditional rock sounds.
Chapter 5: Spanish Plume
Your own spell by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins
Eighty days without significant rain and the lyric “Save your precious water, kill the roses” seems fitting. It’s also a wonderful track from a fantastic album.
Jacobite Bebop by Martyn Bennett
“An orchestration of asymmetrical and intricate cloud ripped through by a an electric bepop” seemed the only way to describe the sky at the time and I feel Martyn Bennett could have played the pattern of clouds.
Chapter 6: Soundscapes of the Dales
Peewits by Mr McFalls Chamber
The peewit, or lapwing, was one of the highlights of the chapter and the title says it all. The track is an arrangement by McFall based around a melody by Martyn Bennett.
I think I'll call it morning by Gil Scott-Heron
Gil Scott-Heron died while I was writing this chapter and this song was the first that came to mind.
Chapter 7: Solstice
Swallowtail by Mr McFalls Chamber
An Irish reel to accompany the flight of the swallows. Appears on Martyn Bennett’s first album, but also recorded by Mr McFalls Chamber.
From the Morning by Nick Drake
Beautiful air of endless summer nights
Chapter 8: The Darkness of Midsummer
Summer Madness by Kool and the Gang
A fine musical accompaniment to high summer.
Chapter 9: Extraordinary Things
Cuillin Part 2 by Mr McFalls Chamber
A version of another Martyn Bennett tune that describes a view of the Cuillin shrouded in mist.
Chapter 10: The Dove
Can't stop it raining by The Unthanks
For the times I got caught in the rain.
Chapter 11: The Stealing
Autumn Hill by Jon Hopkins
The perfect accompaniment to the season.
Rain by Nick Drake
A reflection on rain, autumn and seasons passed.
Chapter 12: The Closing
Think of me by Jo Hamilton
The lyrics make it a natural closing choice.