Hawthonn announce new album ‘Earth Mirror,’ share “Dream Cairn”
Leeds duo Hawthonn (aka Phil and Layla Legard) will release a new album, Earth Mirror, on October 22 via Ba Da Bing (pre-order). The pair draw from dark folk, drone, field recordings, literature, and the occult, and here's some background on this album in particular, via press release:
On Earth Mirror, Layla’s heavenly voice accompanies a sonic palette encompassing field recordings of ice cracking on an ancient Corpse Road, mysterious hymns sung in disused medieval chapels, spectrally processed horse shrieks, electronic textures, rumbling organ, crystalline electric piano, and modulated jaw harp. No guitars appear on this album. Nor do conventional song-structures: the compositions of Earth Mirror organically developed from dreams (‘Dream Cairn’), experiments with inducing magical visions (‘Odo Galse’, ‘Vehiel’), ruminations on lunar beings (‘Crowned Light’, ‘Circles of Light’), and ecological anxiety (‘Cat’s Cradle’). Their literary influences include English witch Andrew Chumbley, nihilist philosopher Emil Cioran, the Enochian language of John Dee and Edward Kelly, and even Kurt Vonnegut.
As ever, Hawthonn fuses sensibilities of sound design and electroacoustic music (- Phil is a university lecturer in these subjects -) with unusual atmosphere and emotion. Beyond music, the pair are serious students of the variegated histories of occultism, most recently with Phil’s publication of An Excellent Booke of the Arte of Magicke (with Al Cummins), which presents the first edition of a magical manuscript written by 16th-century adventurers Humphrey Gilbert & John Davis.
The first single is the eerie, minimal, hauntingly gorgeous "Dream Cairn," which features "spectrally manipulated horse shrieks," cello by Briony Charvas of Amon Acid, and "buzzing" by Dan Moi (created with a Vietnamese mouth harp). The lyrics were inspired by Andrew Chumbley's Mysticism: Initiation and Dream. Layla says:
In the dream I sift through pages of Chumbley’s work beside a log fire, snow on the panes of the windows, horses shifting uneasily in the stables. When I find his photograph, the lights flicker and fade. The horses shriek and panic rises. Crossing the room to light a match, the horses kick and snort. Setting the candle back down beside the papers, the photograph has changed: his face no longer human. There is something uncanny. Too many teeth.