Foxhalt Marsh by Jim Kirkwood

Jim Kirkwood

Foxhalt Marsh

2 tracks

Running time: 0:35:11
Released: 01/2008

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  01   Foxhalt Marsh - 18:52
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  02   Black Dog Moor - 16:19
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More Info

Foxhalt Marsh is an extensive area of marshland, quite treacherous if you don't know the paths, east of the village which gives it its name. People have lost, and have taken, their own lives in this place. A brass plaque in the church testifies to the fact. The marsh is a haunted place. Indeed, the marsh begins where the old graveyard of St Marys ends, where part of the graveyard has fallen into the marsh and the stones and statues can be seen protruding from the water. It is an obviously damp place, frequented by mists, marsh lights, and pools of mire quite capable of swallowing man and horse together. It is certainly not the kind of place one would care to wander into at night. Nevertheless, it has its own beauty and some of the fauna and flora are unique to it. I was quite inspired by its imagery and consequently wrote the piece of music on this EP. The Mellotron sound really comes into its own with moody themes like these and you can hear the flute sound during the intro. I once read that Rick Wakeman destroyed his Mellotron when other forms of sampling came out because he hated its unreliability and sound so much. I think, and I'm certainly not alone, that the Mellotron has a completely unique sound and much of what we call prog rock would not have been the same without it. Long live the Mellotron! The other piece. Black Dog Moor, I originally intended to be part of the Hecate CDs (the goddess Hecate is known for her black dogs) but for the reasons given below it didn't work out. C'est La Vie. Black Dog Moor derives its name from the occasional appearance of a mysterious black dog which locals claim is a portent of the unfortunates impending doom. The moor rises above Foxhalt Marsh on its south-easterly side and despite the dog is quite popular with the locals and those in "love" desiring a time of discreet privacy. Doom has a way of finding the unwary, with or without a dog! Enjoy.

A brief note on why an EP

When I was working on the Foxhalt Edge project, which ended up as Foxhalt Edge, Corvis Christi, Canterbury Black and Hecate Vols 1 and 2, I ended up writing far more music than could be released on those few albums. Some of the music I deemed unfit for release and binned it. That's life. Other pieces of music I really liked and was pleased with as individual pieces, but they disrupted the overall flow when mixed with other music. All of this is quite normal for most Electronic Musicians, who write extended pieces anyway. So, there is usually an amount of music left over from any given project or album. This music may be left out because it would carry the album over a certain length. The birth of 80min CD's allows an artist to more or less write a double album of music per CD. (At least, in old money) This has to be good value for money. Even so, it does not always work as you might expect. The extra length sometimes compromises the feel of an album and it it is better to be concise than sacrifice that feel. An EP is a perfect way to release this other music.

The following is a review by S.M.D.

When Jim composes a new album he always creates much more music than can be used on a single CD length project. Sometimes the music can be excellent but for some reason it doesn't fit easily amongst the other tracks chosen. It would be a shame for such music to remain unheard so it is for this reason that Jim has decided to release a series of EPs where such tracks can be heard. In this case the title track is one that was composed for 'Foxhalt Edge' but never ended up seeing the light of day. Mournful drones are contrasted by peaceful birdsong creating the perfect opening moments. This is so peaceful but also incredibly atmospheric. A slow deep melancholy flute and strange gurgling noises give a slightly darker edge. A mid paced sequence lopes forward accompanied by a moody lead line. A second sequence falls into formation with the first and a sighing wordless vocal hovers over it all like some lost soul. A cracking rhythm adds a little urgency and a new, slightly more strident lead carries things forward. Even though the track has gained more structure and a little more oomph as it has progressed it hasn't lost the tender melancholy that is present throughout. By the fourteen-minute mark we have descended back to floating atmospherics with more sounds of the dead still haunting the watery realm. 'Black Dog Moor' was composed for the 'Hecate' project but fits very well alongside the title track. It starts rather dreamily with half heard voices and angelic sighing. All is at peace. A slow sequence and flutey synth lead start up. A faster sequence falls into formation, morphing beautifully. Forceful synth flourishes really heighten the excitement and in response the sequences are cranked up to an even more urgent pace. Momentum picks up all the time like an avalanche careering down a mountain. We return to our dreams to finish. What a superb track! To think that if it wasn't for Jim's EP initiative we would never have heard it. What a waste that would have been! It also makes me wonder though just how much more material of this calibre is just sitting there in his archive. (DL)