If you’ve seen Sarah Angliss play live and wondered how she could capture her rambling, magical suitcase of weirdness in a recording, ‘Ealing Feeder’ goes some way to realising it. Sadly missing the robotic ventriloquist dummy heads and breathing handbag of her performances, this album still retains the eerie magic of Sarah’s music which pitches between spooky and a benign and welcoming oddness. ‘You Taught Me How to See the Crows’ is a pastoral recorder ensemble summer fantasia. ‘A Wren in the Cathedral’ features recordings of birdsong, manipulated by theremin, their pitch and melody bent and swirled; a narration about domes and altars overlays the song, sinister bells drizzling through the sound cracks. ‘The Bows’ is an evocative haunting of backwards whispering and creaking strings. ‘Ventriloquist’ lists the craft and objects of ‘modern Merlins’, the perversions ‘a parliament of monsters’, backed with ghostly operatic theremin and squealing metal gates. Harpsichord is paired with a complex peal of bells on ‘Camberwell Beauty’. All this eclecticism of form creates a babble of sounds and voices, uncanny and haunted.
‘Ealing Feeder’ and its sound sources are informed by research and mental excavation into the more odd strata of London’s past. There is, for instance, a fascinating spy anecdote forming the basis for ‘The Fancy Cheese People’, the story translated into a morse and theremin duet, backed by stalking drums. There are notes on all the tracks by the artist that make rewarding reading and will enhance your enjoyment of the album.
Video directed by Tom Cadrill http://www.sarahangliss.com/video
The London examined here is a weird sideways version of the city, the medieval mess of it boiling up like magma into a no-less chaotic present; like Nicola Barker’s ‘Darkmans’ jester making mischief in modern Kentish Ashford. File with the work of Kemper Norton and IX Tab, two of your other mossy diviners of hidden spectral histories. The music of ‘Ealing Feeder’ is steeped in folklore but not merely as influence, Sarah Angliss seems concerned with it in practice: the doing and retelling of it, folklore’s continuing pertinence and dissemination in the contemporary world.