English Heretic - Black HarvestOriginally issued as an ultra-limited edition on CD for their performance of Black Harvest at the Black Heart, Camden earlier this year, Black Harvest now finds its way onto black vinyl. Thick with references, loaded with intent, 'Black Harvest' is a complex road trip taking inspiration from an unlikely trinity of Paul Devereux, Neil Young and James Shelby Downard.
With swiped words from the voiceover of the trailer to Michael Reeves' Witchfinder General, 'Black Harvest' settles into uneasy downbeat folk-rock territory. The lyrics are carried by a plaintive voice, half-sung, half-spoken, over noodling bass, accompanied by violin. Above guitar lines soar while samples recur ..."Never has England looked so beautiful yet been so violent"... as the hushed tones entwine the varied sources.
The title 'Black Harvest' may carry a nod to the Neil Young albums, but this journada del muerto (journey of the Dead Man) links Downard's occult symbolist conspiracy writings on the Kennedy assassination to Neil Young through their shared choice of car: Young's - a black Pontiac hearse he named mort; Kennedy's - a Pontiac ambulance that carried his dead body. From Dealey Plaza to the folklore of the coffin roads, the lyrics of 'Black Harvest' extrapolate on the runic inscriptions found within a Yorkshire graveyard.
There are more journeys and death to be found on the flipside track, 'Vaughan To Lose'; an occultic reimagining of J.G. Ballard's 'What I Believe'. Vaughan is of course the key protagonist in Crash, Ballard's novel of car crash sexual fetishism. Ballard speaks, car engines roar, ecclesiastical choirs sing, as drones slowly shift and bass tones. The whole track evokes a shadowy atmosphere. With dialogue from Ballard, the treated voice (sounding not too dissimilar to Current 93's David Tibet on 'I Have A Special Plan For This World') recites the text inhabited by Ballardian figures such as Thatcher, Reagan, Kennedy and Burroughs in a landscape filled with the Ballardian structures of automobile graveyards and multi-storey car parks. This is the vision of J.G. Ballard seen through the occult symbolic prism of English Heretic.
On Black Harvest, English Heretic continue their occult investigations into hidden landscapes with surprising results. This is a beautifully fashioned release in a handprinted woodcut sleeve, including an A5 booklet and a Tarot Card. English Heretic - along with The Psychogeographical Commission - are providing fresh perspectives on how we view the modern world today. Anyone interested in the occult will find English Heretic enlightening and entertaining, while lovers of the stranger ends of the Ghost Box label will find much to enjoy here too. Black Harvest and English Heretic are well worth your time and money. For more information go to englishheretic.blogspot.co.uk