Boycalledcrow - Nightmare Folk Art

Nightmare Folk Art

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UPC: 5060911680123

Boycalledcrow is the alias of Chester-based sound artist Carl Knott (Wonderful Beasts, Spacelab). Knott is a former folk musician using his nascent acoustic influences as the basis for his unique and often stirring compositions. "I like weird folk art, and I think the stuff I make is a bit like that," he explains. "It's definitely not perfect - it's strange and a reflection of the time and place I live in." Each one of the twelve tracks on Nightmare Folk Art finds itself poised on an axis somewhere between the acoustic and electronic, the rhythmic and the ambient, the minimalist and the densely-layered. Opener 'Old Blue Bear' sets the tone for the collection, switching breezily between introspective textures and fast-paced euphoria, underpinned by acoustic guitar passages that are skewed so extensively that they become disconnected from their sources. Melodies rise up joyfully, hang around, and then become enveloped in treated sounds of unknowable provenance. "I hunt down really clean royalty-free acoustic guitar samples," says Knott. "I like nylon strings and clear, sparkly tones - the brighter, the better. I pick the source material based on how sonically good and warm it sounds as well as the clarity of the notes. It really has nothing to do with the musical phrase." Knott then manipulates those plundered sounds to create the diverse sounds heard across Nightmare Folk Art. "My mantra is to destroy, create, then repeat. It's really liberating, and I love working this way. I play acoustic fingerpicking guitar so I try to play my controller the same way. At the same time, audio is very visual for me: I get a glimpse of an abstract object in my mind's eye and try to get close to that, but I also like the feel of falling into a rabbit hole and not knowing where I might end up." That sense of venturing deep into the unknown shines through on this album. Tracks like the chiming, shanty-esque 'Acorn' and the fluttering, elusive shapes of 'Mystic Scally' and 'Silly Song' evoke a sense of wonder and awe akin to staring onto a new landscape or cityscape for the first time, leaving a transcendent mark on the listener. These are the sounds to accompany sepia-tinged memories, long-forgotten faces and misremembered places; regrets, reminiscences, hopes and dreams. "This album was influenced by my family, and walking in the countryside in Staffordshire and Cheshire," explains Knott of the pastoral, ruminative quality that flows through Nightmare Folk Art. "I genuinely think that there's a spiritual side to this type of creativity. It means I can express deep feelings in a way that I simply couldn't vocalise." A warmth and hopefulness can be found here. 'Sister Poppy Is A Good Girl', named after the Knott family dog, carries a beautiful, celebratory sheen while the warped and churning drones of 'So So So, Sad' flits between optimistic promise and uncertainty, reflecting the state of mind that Knott was in when assembling the album. "The title came from a William Gibson book, 'Virtual Light'," concludes Knott. "I was reading that at the same time of making the album. It seemed to perfectly sum up what I was creating, despite everything around me feeling a bit off and nightmarish."


Boycalledcrow - Nightmare Folk Art
Boycalledcrow - Nightmare Folk Art

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