Friday, 18 January 2013

Hello everybody. Here find copied a transcript of an interview I did with a Japanese prog rock magazine called Euro Rock Press. Some folk might find it interesting. It is in English so don't worry, although I'm sure most of you are rather fluent in Japanese.

Questions to Francis Lickerish
By Tetsuo Uchida

1. The SECRET GREEN's album released in '09, To Wake The King, gave a great surpise and joy to the fans of THE ENID, especially of those early albums when you were with the band. About a year preceding the release, there was a rumor that you would make the comeback to the musical scene. What made you decide to do it?

There were a number circumstances that helped me decide to return to music. I had not played a note since 1986 and had come to believe that I would never have anything to do with music again; but Life seemed to have other ideas. My work life (as a therapist) took a sudden and unexpected turn and I found myself unemployed. I decided to use the time to walk the Camino pilgrimage across Northern Spain, 800 kms. from St Jean Pied-a-Port in France to Santiago on the West coast of Spain. This journey gave me time to reflect on who I was and what I really wanted. I got married to Helen and as a wedding present she gave me my Lute, and I began to re-learn that beautiful instrument. Then we went to India. India changed my life forever. I saw and learned things out there that went very deep into my soul, and standing 6000 meters up in the Himalayas watching the Sun rise over Nanda Devi I felt I had to have another go at writing music. When I returned to England, I began work on To Wake The King.

2. More than 30 years have passed since you left THE ENID, and I've heard that you are engaged in a counseling-related job in the meantime. During this interval, did you do any musical activity? If there is any recording, please explain.

I left The Enid in 1981. Later that year I went to live in Southern Ireland where I became a music teacher and got involved with some local Irish bands. When I returned to England in 1985, I formed my own band called Rutterkin, but sadly this did not last very long and there are no recordings to speak of. After Rutterkin, I vowed to turn my back on music forever!

3. To Wake The King is a fantastic album that exceeded our expectation, integrating the traditional grace of the U.K. and grand symphonic sound, and I was especially impressed with the sophistication of your unique songwriting and guitar style over time. Some tunes have Celtic musc elements, and I am very much interested in your musical background. Please look back your musical background including how you started to play music.

Well thank you. I really am delighted that you like To Wake The King. I was brought up in a musical family. My mother was involved with opera, my father collected English folk music and my older brother played Big Bill Broonzy and Robert Johnson on the guitar. I was surrounded by all kinds of music and I guess I just soaked it up. When I was 14, I heard an album of the lute music of John Dowland played by Julian Bream and I thought to myself "That's what I want to play". So I began to pick out lute tunes on my dad's guitar. Then of course I got into rock music. My big influences back then were Captain Beefheart, The Rolling Stones, The Band stuff like that and I started to play the electric guitar. But I always seemed to return to a very English, folk-like style of playing. I am also influenced by several classical composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Mahler and Arnold Bax.

4. We can understand that To Wake The King is a band album having you as the leader. Please give account of interesting stories about its production and its background story.

To Wake the King seemed to be fated. It was very strange in a lot of ways. I have always wanted a female singer in my band and many years ago I had worked with Hilary Palmer, but we had lost contact and I hadn't heard from Hils for over 20 years. I began work on To Wake the King and of course, I wrote the songs with a woman singer in mind. Shortly after I began work, I received an email from Hilary, the first contact we had had for all that time! I asked her if she might be interested in singing on my new project and she said "Of Course, It's fate!" and so it was. Shortly after that, I got a message from Willie Gilmour. Again we had had no contact for over 20 years. I told him about To Wake the King and the rest is, as they say, History. I found recording To Wake the King a very emotional experience and I think that Jon and Hilary also found it so. I used to travel up to Inverness to write with Willie Gilmour and we would spend hours remembering our days in The Enid.
The soul of To Wake the King lies in the English folk tradition and the legends of King Arthur and, more particularly, Merlin. There is a legend that Arthur is sleeping somewhere in the hollow hills and when England's need is greatest, Merlin and Nimue the enchantress will awaken him again. The whole album is set in another England, an England of the heart.  

5. In the autumn of '12, a long-awaited new album, Far And Forgot - From The Lost Lands, was completed, and its distribution in Japan is decided. I was impressed with the grandeur and perfection of this new album at the first listening, but this time the album is released as your own solo album. Can we understand that this is an extension of SECRET GREEN?

Yes absolutely. Secret Green is a project rather than a band and includes Hilary and Jon especially. It was suggested to me that I bring out Far and Forgot under my name as my name is familiar to some people  from my time with The Enid.

6. In addition to the members of SECRET GREEN, such players with whom you played during your ENID days as Terry Pack, Tony Freer and Martin Russel. How did you organize the musicians who made an appearance on this album?

The internet is a wonderful thing! I am really pleased to be working with these people again. It was easy to organise them playing on Far and Forgot, they were all very helpful and genuinely delighted to be asked. You have left Neil Kavanagh off this list. Neil and I go back 40 years when we used to play together in school bands. Neil is a professional engineer and an excellent bass player also. He was the first bassist with The Enid and appears on the original recordings of In The Region of The Summer Stars. We have plans to record an album featuring all the ex members of The Enid, including Nick Magnus and Steve Stewart. 

7. This album is more fantastic and story-oriented, as the last tune, "The Disenchanting", quotes a phrase from a masterpiece, FAND. If there is any story as the background of the album, please discuss it including the framework of the story. Is there any link between this album and Aerie Faerie Nonsense on which you played a role as the key person back then? Can we understand it as sort of a sequel?

There is a story to Far and Forgot. Again it concerns England and what this country has lost or sacrificed. I guess it must be the same in Japan that in the ever accelerating race for 'growth' and progress much that is essential to the dignity and proper evolution of humanity is trampled under the iron clad boots of corporate greed and aggressive rationalism. I feel it is a much darker album that To Wake the King and the ending is ambiguous.
Is it a sequel to Aerie Faerie Nonsense? One could say that it is. That album was the dearest Enid album to me and the one that I had most involvement in; it grew out of the music for a play called The Quest for the Holy Grail that predates In the Region. The theme at the end of Far and Forgot is not actually taken from Fand, it is a direct reference to The Holy Grail and the forlorn hope contained within that symbol. In a sense I am saying that we as a race are in desperate need of something higher, some intervention from somewhere to show us a way out of what seems to be a rather desperate situation.

8. Please pick up tunes you especially think important in the album and give us your comments on them.

Brides of the Wind is by way of a prayer to Mother Earth. It is a plea to Dana, Danuna, Diana and Damoyna, all names of Earth goddesses, to join with the wind and sweep away the darkness."Sisters Awake! The long dream is ended.Wonder and war await. Ride out with the Warrior Wind". The middle section is based on an ancient English song from the 13th century called The Cutty Wren. It is a revolutionary song from the peasants revolt of 1381.
The Disenchanting is a long piece about the death of magic and wonder in England. Willow Hill is a seascape depicting the last of the Tuatha de Danaan, the Faerie Folk or Elven, leaving England, or Albion as it is rightly called. This moves into Lyonesse, a last glimpse of the majesty of the lost land of myth that fades into the mist. There is then a brief lullaby or berceuse called The Rain Curtain played on Cor Anglais that transports us to the Other World, the realm of Faerie. Here we find ourselves in Broceliande, the enchanted forest of Arthurian legend. Our path leads us at last, through long hours of leafy twilight to the Oak in which Merlin the sorcerer was trapped by Vivien the enchantress. This is illustrated by a musical quote from On Merlin's Ground from To Wake the King. There follows a funeral march. Soft and sad at first, we hear it in the distance. It draws closer and grows more desperate and angry until it comes full into view with a blast of horns and drums. There is a brief moment of hope, perhaps even triumph but that is swept away by doubt and disbelief. The album ends with a question. A question to which I do not know the answer.

9. In a sense, this album seems to be difficult to reproduce on stage. Is there any possibility about organizing a gig? If yes, what kind of musical arrangement and stage configuration do you plan

I would love to perform this live and will start making plans to do an album launch gig soon. It would be perfectly possibly to reproduce this onstage with 2 guitars, 2 keyboards, drums and percussion, bass guitar and vocals. It wouldn't be as technically difficult as one might think, but there would need to be a lot of rehearsals.

10. Please let me ask about your ENID days a little. I believe the role you played for a few albums including the debut album was huge, especially for Aerie Faerie Nonsense. How was the band formed? At that time, what role each member play in the period?

I was the founder member of the Enid. The band existed before Robert Godfrey joined, although it wasn't called The Enid then. Steve Stewart, David Williams (bass guitar) and myself started the band at a sort of school called Finchden Manor in 1973. We formed to write and play the music for a play called The Quest for the Holy Grail, the last play that was to be performed at Finchden as it was being forced to close down. It would take too long to explain what Finchden Manor was, (have a look at the web for more details)it is enough just to say that it was very dear to all of us. I wrote the music for that play and after Godfrey joined, it was transformed into the first two Enid albums. 

11. Please tell us about interesting stories/fond memories about making of Fand.

Fand was recorded at Morgan studios in Willesden, London. It formed the second side of Aerie Faerie nonsense. It was based on themes and ideas from the Holy Grail music and just sort of grew out of these ideas. We had been performing a much shorter version of Fand live for a while, but it was clear that it needed developing. We had very little money, and the studio was very expensive so we had to take the cheaper time. This was usually between midnight and 9am and so we became creatures of the night for a time. Fand drew us in. The music took on a life of its own and almost told us what to write and play. It was very exciting and moving to feel the piece grow and come to life. When it was finished< we were all quite exhausted and stunned by what had come about. I don't think any other band at the time was making music like this.

12. When we look at the live video at hammersmith whose tape you kept for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the huge set of equipment and a high level of reproduction of the tunes (especially those included in Touch Me. From the band's viewpoint, I assume it was a very tough job, so please tell us any difficulties or stories about your toil.

Tough doesn't describe it! We never used backing tracks, there was no midi or anything like that. The synths were all analogue and mostly monophonic. The guitars were pretyy much plugged straight into Marshall amps. It was difficult, but we did it. We would rehearse for months. Literally all day everyday for 3 months at a time. There were 14 hour days,, little sleep no social life at all, just the music, music music. I can remember spending 2 whole weeks rehearsing just 8 bars of Albion Fair! If we didn't have enough hands, we would get the roadies in to play keyboards or percussion. At the end of Fand, for example we might have 10 or 12 people on the stage. We did it though, and I am very proud of what we achieved. Not many bands could have pulled off what we did with something like Albion Fair!

13. After you left THE ENID, the band lost its fantasic style and changed its musical style. In Six Pieces, there seemed to be musical difference, and why did you decide to leave the band?

Frankly, I left because of Robert. I couldn't take him anymore and I was very sad about the direction in which The Enid was headed. Robert was wanting to do material such as "Hi Ho, Hi Ho Its off to Work We Go" and I felt we were in grave danger of losing all our dignity. By the way, the version of my leaving that he gives on the Birmingham Town Hall DVD is not true.

14. At the Enid Convention held at Northhampton, SECRET GREEN and THE ENID got together, and it appeared to be the two bands were on good terms, but now you seem to keep the distance. How about the relationship between the two bands? (Please explain as much as you can tell, if this is OK.)

I don't think it is necessary to go into this in public and I would prefer not to discuss it. In hindsight, it was a mistake to try and re-kindle my relationship with Godfrey and it has cost me a lot of time, emotion and money. It was my choice to distance myself once more.  I suspect that the relationship is finally over and I can't see myself working with the Enid again, although I am still good friends with Dave Storey.

15. Please tell us about your plan in the near future (gigs, recording, sessions, etc.)

At the moment I am working on an album of lute music with Hilary. I have plans for 2 more albums in the To Wake the King, Far and Forgot series, the next one being an acoustic album called 'Small Songs of Albion' and a final orchestral work with the working title 'Until the World is Mended'. I think I have already mentioned a joint project with Neil Kavanagh involving all the major ex-members of The Enid.
Live gigs are a bit of a problem. I really want to play live, but the work involved is huge and it simply is not generally worth it for a one off gig; however, if I was offered a tour or a string of 3 or more dates, I would jump at the chance. How about a tour of Japan???

16. What impression do you have on Japan. If you have ever listened to Japanese music, please pick up some and give your comments.

 I have always seen Japan as a nation of great depth and dignity. You have a culture at least as ancient and as rich as ours and I have great respect for it. As for Japanese music, I am very fond of it, or Japanese classical music I should say. I find shamisen music quite exciting and compositions for the koto have a serenity and grace that seems unique to Japan. I also love taiko drums! We used taiko on Brides of the Wind.
In terms of rock bands, I am a bit afraid of the Japanese! You seem to be able to take a style, such as jazz or heavy metal, and take it to the limit! It seems that most of the best technical musicians are in Japan!

Thank you very much.

My Pleasure. Thank you for asking me.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

In order to fulfil a promise I made to young master Mike Hicks in which I said I would clarify which old Enid pieces were quoted on To wake the King, I hereby set out in plain (ish) English a list of those very pieces. 
The Prelude has just a hint of the Chorale from Sanctus in it. This chorale was written by Willie and based on an English folk tune The Lowlands of Holland. 
Ecchoing Green uses a different harmonisation of the same melody in the slow section.
On Merlin's Ground directly quotes the guitar riff from In the Region.
The Track of The Moon on The Water carries a reference to The Dreamer
On Secret Green harks back to Aerie Faerie Nonsense and Ondine (believe it or not)
Lady Morgana's Orrery has a hidden reference to an old and unrecorded track called The Star that was dropped from In the Region.
Camlann has the Dies Irae prominently displayed, just like Judgement from In the Region.
And of course Nimue has a quote from Fand.
There you are, that's them. I expect you got most of them, but not Secret Green and Lady M.

F x

Monday, 10 December 2012

So now it is out there. For good or ill, Far and Forgot has been released into the wild. I'm suffering a kind of post-natal reaction I think. I've lived with this project, day and night for such a long time that now it is finished, I am quite tearful and anxious. Oh Well, such is is.

Some people out there may be wondering who on Earth is Sir Giles Holybrook, and you would be right to wonder. His REAL name is Holybrook Wynch, illegitimate son of Fishkin Wynch the composer and a lady tobacconist who kept shop in some small Berkshire town. One day, the good lady was busy in her shop and her horror can be imagined when, with an apocalyptic crash, the floor gave way and she was plunged into the abyss below. It wasn't solid ground that broke her fall, but the waters of the Holybrook that flowed beneath her shop, for you see, the shop was artfully constructed upon a bridge over the Holybrook. Fortune smiled that day. She fell upright and her full length Indian cheesecloth tie-dyed earth mother skirt (remember those?) opened out to keep her afloat as she was swept into the darkness beneath the bridge.To her credit, she maintained her poise and was carried out into the open stream, where she was quickly rescued. She was unharmed, but rather shocked, as well she might be for she was pregnant at the time. In due course the baby was born and the lady tobacconist decided that Holybrook would be a suitable name. That Sir Giles appreciated the name is doubtful. 
Holybrook Wynch went on to pursue a largely unsuccessful career as a composer. Following the trend set by his estranged father, he composed music entirely for bassoons. Only one of his many compositions saw the light of day. "Monotone for 30 basoons" was performed once in Kazakhstan, to be hailed by a critic as "Bewilderingly dull". He wrote any number of bassoon concertos and one opera, based on the life of Simon Wilkinson, the assistant manager at his local PriceRite supermarket. I came across Sir Giles busking in an Inverness subway whilst I was on a visit to Mr Willie Gilmour. I remarked that a contra-bassoon was an unusual busking instument. He suggested I f***k off and the rest is history.

There are various methods by which one may achieve ignominy and shame.Murdering a large and respected family in cold blood and afterwards depositing their bodies in the local water company's reservoirs will gain you much unpopularity in the neighbourhood of your crime, but if you desire to drain to the dregs the fullest cup of scorn that a fellow human creature can pour out for you, let an atheist hear you say that you have faith in some sort of higher power. One's best plan in the circumstances is to smile and nod and slowly, yet deliberately, back away. Whatever you do, don't try to enter into any sort of discussion. Atheists know everything and your naivety and lack of intelligence will only leave you floundering beneath the mighty force of their arguments. 

So I do hope you enjoy Far and Forgot, even if you are and Atheist. Oh, and as a final word to those elevated ones, I don't believe in the  god that you don't believe in either.

Lots of Love

F xxx

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Chapter 67. Comprising an unpacking and illuminating of the great Aaarrgh, and involving a serious discussion of certain hitherto-for unmentioned beings and topics.  

It must occur to anyone who has at all and in anyway invested even a small amount of time and energy in reflecting upon the real and objective nature of this mysterious cosmos within which we blunder about, frightening the living day lights out of one another and constructing preposterous notions as to how and why and what, that in this great and mysterious creation there surely must be other beings of a more or less higher, or at least 'other' level of existence, not all of whom are necessarily kindly disposed to the comings and goings and overall evolutionary conduct of that aspect of creation that has come to be called humanity. For myself, ever since I met the god Shiva in room 369 of the Imperial Hotel, New Delhi, India, I have had little doubt of the existence of such entities and in particular the sun demons that are called in India the Asuras. Indeed, anyone familiar with the works of such authors as Charles Williams, C.S.Lewis or even Shakespeare will no doubt recognise that I am not alone in my convictions. 

Without sounding over grandiose, it is difficult to covey that which I would wish to convey to you, dear reader, and so I must take the chance and hope you will garnt me some sort of licence in this matter. There are in my musical endeavours certain elements that have, by dint of sundry expeditions in the Himalayas, India and North West Spain, a particular, lets say, provenance. This provenance might, just possibly lend these elements a quality that may, so to speak, light them up in such a way as to attract the attention of let us call them 'others', not necessarily sympathetic to the potential effects brought about by these certain elements. 
Anyone who has read Hell will be familiar with the "Horrid Perhapses" that beset Dante when he is abandoned by Virgil. Of course it could have just been a Horrid Perhaps or an accident by which Seeds of the Sun ended up in Mono! By the time this ghastly anomaly had been discovered, Far and Forgot had been replicated, sealed and packed ready for delivery. This just could not be, and so dear reader, you will, I beg you excuse a yet further delay in the delivery of your copy. This horrible circumstance has also proven quite expensive, but there is no way I would allow such a thing to be released into the public domain to reek havoc with your most refined and delicate sensibilities. 

Light Love and Life

Francis xxx


Saturday, 17 November 2012

Chapter 42. Which deals with much of what has gone before and details a most pleasant reunion.

It is always a source of some frustration when the world in general sees fit to play at leapfrog with ones plans and projections and urges its sappers forward to collapse the walls of certainty which one has diligently constructed with all the confidence of an Alexander or a Napoleon ( I always forget that last o). It is in the light of these imperious circumstances that I find myself once again apologising for the lateness of Far and Forgot and begging your, dear reader, indulgence for just a brief time more. 
Last Wednesday I spent a very pleasant indeed couple of hours in the company of my old compadre (if that is how it is spelled) Mr Martin Russell. Martin has given the great benefit of his considerable studio experience and valuable time to the polishing and burnishing the finished product that is Far and Forgot. I am really most grateful. So we met at a half past eleven beneath the clock at Waterloo station and from there repaired to the tea rooms at the Royal Festival Hall for Earl Grey and conversation. Seeing as how we had neither seen nor heard nothing of one another for over thirty years, this meeting was remarkable for its lack of self-consciousness or awkwardness. 
Inevitably the talk turned to reminiscences of the old days in The Enid, both of us sharing the same mix of pride and horror over what had occurred way back then. There was a lot of fun and a lot of trauma, but our conversation has left something of a need in me to say to anyone who bought the Birmingham Town Hall DVD and watched the interview with Robert Godfrey and heard his fabrication of how I came to leave The Enid, that that version was simply untrue, a lie in fact. Still, never mind, if you choose to believe that stuff, who am I to nay say your cherishment?
Over tea, Martin made what I think is a very good suggestion. Why not do a HD surround sound version of Far and Forgot with video footage of yours truly narrating the story, for Far and Forgot has a story, and of the various esteemed musicians playing their parts in the making of the album. What do you, dear listener, think of this notion? Is it something that you feel you might enjoy? I so hope you do.
Might I make a plea to everyone who has so graciously bought Far and Forgot? You see, it is a gestalt, a whole and thing of itself and whilst music has the mystical property of existing only in the present,( you cannot listen to a piece of music all at once and yet you have to have a conception of the whole in order to appreciate and understand the parts) could I ask that if at all possible you listen to the all of Far and Forgot in one go? Of course this may be neither possible nor desirable and I fully understand if you choose otherwise, but it is written as a sort of a journey; a story even if the threads and plots and characters of the story may not be immediately apparent or obvious. They are there, somewhere beneath the surface. Also please play it as loud as you possibly can without risking the displeasure of your immediates and proximals. Far be it from me to drag your patently sober reputations into the mire of local opprobrium. 
Great to see you again Martin, lets do tea again real soon, as they say in the colonies.
Lots of Love to all.
Francis xxx

Monday, 29 October 2012

And so we are left with the final track, The Disenchanting. All 29 minutes of it! This track sums up the spirit of the entire album, moving as it does through several sound worlds.
It opens with Willow Hill, a straightforward song lamenting the faeries leaving England. This notion can stand as a metaphor for the aggressive rationalization that has beset humankind since the Age of Reason and the so called Enlightenment. It  protests  the rise of mechanistic science and the superstitious slavery to facts to which society seems to be in thrall. Facts are not truth! Any mature investigation into what has come to be called science these days may well  reveal a lucrative career built upon a theory that has been ruthlessly championed irrespective of its real merit. Often, political agendas overwhelm integrity in this area.
Anyway, Willow Hill keens the loss of our disconnectedness to what one might call the Real World as set out by the likes of Goethe, Steiner, Gurdjieff and any number of Indian Sadhus and Masters
It Goes:

Willow Hill.

This was my garden, sweet as May
For every living thing and a palace for the King.
I gave but a whistle and then I looked away
And when I turned around it was nowhere to be found.

I danced for the Midnight Court on Willow Hill
When the moon was low,
And the starry clusters trailed a glittering thrill
On the Earth below.
With a faerie’s child ‘cross the moonlight wild
Just to run through the even flowing hours.
By hedges and styles, through the meadows for a million miles
The universe was ours.

The wasteland sprawls across the distances unfurled
The long night falls upon a cold and tragic, daylight on magic
A phantom haunted world.
As good as gone.

I sat with the Vanished Gods on Willow Hill
A forgotten spark.
In a cloak of dreams against the evening’s chill
In the fire lit dark.
I heard chaos sing with the unborn king
In the silver hills of heaven
My heart fought to find ancient echoes on the Willow Wind
A gift from the Sacred Seven.
This was my garden, sweet as May
For every living thing and a palace for the King.
I gave but a whistle and then I looked away
And when I turned around it was nowhere to be found.

I watched the Atlantic roll from Willow Hill
 On its Western coast.
With a thousand sails across the evening spilled
The Enchanted Host.
To an ancient tryst in the distant mist
Where ocean to ocean roars
Their ships running free far across the swelling summer sea
Towards the impossible shores.

Now when the moon is very, very low and gusty echoes come and go
Down through the ages clear and far, the horns of Elfin blowing from the morning stars.

This was my garden, sweet as May
For every living thing and a palace for the King.
I gave but a whistle and then I looked away
And when I turned around it was nowhere to be found.

The Spring shall come again to Willow Hill
Down the primrose lanes
And Spring shall bring the bees and daffodils
Bring the April rains.
But from that blessed shore they will sail no more
Now the future is paying for the past
They have locked fast a door that was never ever shut before.
The withering spell is cast.

Betwixt and between the verses, there is a section that evokes a picture of the Atlantic Ocean. This leads into a cheery little Hornpipe and from there into a vision of Lyonesse, the ancient mythical land out in the Atlantic off the coast of Kernow. This glimpse of the legend is heralded by the words "Now when the Moon is very very low" and one could imagine standing on a high cliff gazing Westward into the mist and the mist parting in a blaze of gold and rose  to give a glimpse of the wonderful Lyonesse. All to quickly , though the vision fades and nothing is left but shreds of windblown mist.
We are then back to the Willow Hill theme by which we are led into a new realm. The Berceuse, or lullaby, called The Rain Curtain indicates a shift in reality. Gone are the symmetrical shapes and forms that went before, now everything is moving and flowing light and shade as we find ourselves in the forest of Broceliande, the garden told about at the beginning of Willow Hill. The world has changed, now form gives way to texture and shifting light and shade. I have tried to create this musically by keeping all the melodic lines asymmetrical and yet unchanged. Tricky. After wandering for a while we may come across the Oak tree in which the sorceress Vivienne entrapped Merddyn. 
The strings and solo guitar announce the Faerie's Funeral. At first just a hint in the distant wood  then moving into a funeral march that draws closer until it bursts into the clearing in which we stand and passes by in an angry blaze of drums and horns.
This album does not have a happy end. It leaves you with a question really.

Lots of Love

Francis xxx 

Friday, 26 October 2012

Even as I write, the mixed master of Far and Forgot is winging it's way into the very capable hands of Master Martin Russell, whom I sure you will all recall with great fondness. As soon as I receive the mastered master (!) back from Martin I shall send across to be pressed or cut or whatever the correct term for turning the master into a thousand playable-on-your-cd-players-at-home cds is. After that process is over, I will pop the appropriate number of cd's into their correctly addressed jiffy bags and you, esteemed listener, should shortly receive a shiny new copy of Far and Forgot, From The Lost Lands by Me, Francis Lickerish.
So there you go.
As I recall, I was giving you my take on the underlying resonance of Far and Forgot. I think I had more or less covered Brides of the Wind except for one quite important thematic item. After the opening horn call, you will here a short brass chorale. Notice, dear listener if you will, that the last chord of this brass chorale is both major and minor at the same time, that is to say it has both major and minor thirds sounding at the same moment in time. This is a clue as to the underlying tone of the whole album. Throughout and in every song there is an interplay 'twixt and between major and minor with the express intention of creating a sense of doubt and equivocation. Whether or not this device succeeds I leave up to your delicate judgement. It is especially pertinent in the final piece, The Faerie's Funeral as you shall see.
After Brides of the Wind comes The Shining Hour. A straight forward second movement minuet aimed at clearing the air and lightening the atmosphere. It's a kind of operatic duet between Hils and Jenny Russell that re-tells the age old Tam Lynn story with a bit of a twist. Here's the lyric.

The Shining Hour

When the light fades in the forest from a blue and breezy afternoon
When the shadows fly along the hills beneath a slip of a new moon
When the white owl sweeps the lowering dusk along the mirrored  river's glide 
Ah, it's now forgetful grow the valleys and the Elfin court does ride.

Where was he taken? 
I can't tell you.
By the mill bridge last I saw him in the dusk.
Dark eyed Queen of Elfin
Caught him in the twilight, in the Shining Hour  
Took him in the Shining Hour.
Now his eyes are strange
Yes and his cheeks are cold
As cold as the cold sea-shells
Strange and secret he grows 
Fell as a shadow he
Wills his own forgetting  hidden among the enchanted  hills.  

This night it is May Eve when the Elfin court will ride
And if you would your true love win back by the mill bridge you must hide.

And then First will run the black horse
 And then after her will run the grey  
Hold the white horse fast and fear not
You hold him fast till near day.

Dark grows the world
And the white star hovers low in the West
Now as evening  dews the flowers
With soft delighted showers
That fill the Shining Hours

Heartless she is 
As a frost upon a  May morning
All the Earth to her is young
Unkindness yet begun
All sad songs still unsung.  

In the dead hours after midnight she heard the horses bridles ring
And that fey sound and unchancy chilled her heart like no good or earthly thing
From the hollow and enchanted hills there rode out elf on elfin steed
And the new moon faded fearful and the stars grew dim with dread

This night being  May Eve by the mill bridge she did bide 
As she waits to glimpse her true love as the Elfin court does ride

And then first run by the black horse 
And then after her did run the grey And then raced by the white horse She held him fast till near day She held him fast and feared him not
A-Crying my love I have won you.

The thunder rolled out across the sky and the stars they blazed as bright as day
And a cry came from the Elfin Queen " My young captive He's away"  
"My young captive he's away" she cried out in her anger and her pain 
"And alas tmy Young Lord he is lost and gone, and will never ever come again"

Where was he taken taken?
He won't tell you
She whom he loves is hard to catch and conquer
Dark eyed Queen of Elfin
Caught him in the twilight, in the Shining Hour  
Took him in the Shining Hour.
Is his heart still true?
Yes it is very true
To the fey queen in the hills.
By his return he was 
Dealt an unkindness
And now he waits by the mill  bridge till the Elfin court shall ride again. 

So that's The Shining Hour.

Then comes a sort of a scherzo called The Man Who Sold Magic. This is an instrumental portrait of an alchemist. Count St Germain, perhaps, or Fulcanelli. Think C19th, Vienna, Alps and a mystical midnight forest interlude. 

And then we have Seeds of the Sun. A lament. Not much more to be said about that.

The Disenchanting. This requires a whole blog unto itself and so I shall, dear reader, bid you adieu until such times as the internet weaves our lives together once again.

Light, Love and Life.