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1. The Swallowing. This is a prelude to the Jonah but is the last track we came up with for the album. It plucks some lyrics from Jonah which I plucked from Beckett. Richard Moult provided the synth and voice.
2. The Jonah. The title is a reference to the James Herbert novel where a Jonah is a cursed person who brings bad luck everywhere. This was the first track we recorded for this album during a two week burst of industry and creativity when we locked ourselves away in Mullingar. Richard Youngs' prog project Ilk provided the impetus for us to make the "prog album" (which was the working title) so we started with this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink opus. David's imagery for the first section was partially inspired by the Vin Diesel film Pitch Black. We got the structure down in a day and that night I had a feverish dream where I bumped into a friend with his baby. I'd apparently forgotten he'd had a daughter so I bluffed through the pleasantries. I took her hand and she turned into a fly and flew away. The father caught her by the wing and it tore off. I wrote lyrics about it to David's melody but he raised the bar by writing the synth section to the new lyrics.
3. The Newly Risen Mountains. David's post-apocalyptic vision of plants reclaiming the streets in the absence of humans. Additional gusto provided by Alison O'Donnell.
4. A For Andromeda. This piece formed before our eyes when we had Richard Moult over for some recording but took a fair bit of tweaking to get it all to flow together. The end section was sent to us by Richard Skelton who sends music out to the world for collaborations
5. Veilsong. This song had its hazy genesis in the concert which became the "Airs of Sun and Stone" album. When Sharron Kraus was touring Ireland we dug out some tracks for her to play on in the limited time she'd be around. She plays tin whistle on this track.
6. The Lowlands Of Holland. David and Sharron both knew this song from the singing of Martin Carthy so they knocked it out in no time. It was some time before we filled in the gaps and it sailed off on the winds of Alison O'Donnell.
7. Skellys' Fireplace. Named after the famed Ballymahon pub and the many sessions which occurred there, but specifically written the night after Johnny Moynihan played in the fireplace. Recorded in Galway over a bottle of whiskey.
8. The Mildew Leaf. Recorded in Boyle by David and Shane and drawing on stories they heard from their friends in the Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree. The idea of the blood of a hanged man seeping into the earth to awaken the spirits.
9. Mirror in Cherwell. I had this instrumental knocking around for a while but hit a block. I picked up Sharron's oft-coveted parlour guitar and I never looked back. Scott McLaughlin laid down the cello later.
10. Death In The Arctic. This was the first song I recorded with Shane before UBS even existed. Shane got the lyrics from a Robert Service poem. I wrote the melodica break when I was sixteen and when Shane played me his home recording I was completely captivated and the riff had found a home. It's the closest I've ever come to a 'Baker Street' or a 'Careless Whisper'. It used to be a 23 minute suite before a hardware crash scuppered our duo album. No harm done in the long run.
released 03 September 2009
Players: Caroline Coffey, David Colohan, Paul Condon, Shane Cullinane, Sharron Kraus, Scott McLaughlin, Richard Moult, Alison O'Donnell, Seán MacErlaine, Ivan Pawle, Gavin Prior, James Rider, Richard Skelton and Enda Trautt.
All words and music by United Bible Studies except The Lowlands Of Holland (Trad. Arr. United Bible Studies) and the lyrics of Death In The Arctic which are from the poem of the same name by Robert Service.
Recorded in Corrigeenroe, Dublin, Galway, Luton, Mullingar, Oxford and Standish.
Mixed by Shane Cullinane and Gavin Prior.
Mastered by Trevord Carter at Studio 52, Victoria.
All photographs by David Colohan except the front cover photograph which is by Aaron Coyne.
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