REIGNS: the mounds [monotreme] //
album: the widow blades [released 24th october 2011] //
After POLINSKI and M+A, the Monotreme Records live frenzy unwittingly continued at Saturday’s marvellous Daylight Music, in the equally wonderful Union Chapel. I was unaware of REIGNS and had no idea they were on the same label, but they’re also rather fine. ‘The Widow Blades’ is their fourth album and, live, they ploughed a broad post rock furrow, whilst deviating into other areas. If you want to cut to the chase, you may be able to live without the first 6.5 minutes of ‘The Mounds’ – but the remaining THIRTEEN minutes are great. Towards the slightly bluesy conclusion, it somehow reminds me of IT’S IMMATERIAL’s 1986 single, ‘Driving Away From Home (Jim’s Tune)’:
But, may have more in common with GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR’s ‘The Dead Flag Blues (Intro)’:
“Wessex duo Reigns release their fourth long-player on Monotreme Records.
Whilst growing up in the country, Reigns Operatives A & B, from an early age became aware of the bizarre, yet inconclusive, fate of a woman from a neighbouring village. It took some years (and a great deal of wading through a seemingly endless stream of local conjecture) for them to ascertain that the woman in question was Millicent Blades: a middle-aged widow who had disappeared during the blizzard of 1978, vanishing somewhere between the villages of Tup’s Fold and Tone Gulley. Nothing was found of her save a set of interrupted footprints and a pile of clothes – all turned inside out.
The intervening years have provided much in the way of outlandish theories pertaining to her disappearance but very little in the way of answers. In a possibly futile attempt to reverse this situation and still haunted by the stories they heard as children, Operatives A & B went back to the area to document her final journey across the countryside. Using equipment selected purely on the basis of portability and resistance to the elements (with perfect synchroni- city, their week of recordings coincided with the heaviest snowfall since 1978), they recorded at all the key locations that the widow visited (or is thought to have visited) on her final, fateful day: including, amongst others, her house and that of her physician, an Anderson shelter (home to a vagrant who was briefly suspected of her murder), a former tea room that she had frequented since the fifties, a disused tannery, and (for the climactic 20 minute closer, “The Mounds”) an excavated series of barrows; the approxi- mate location of her disappearance…”
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