Skip to content

Little Flower – new video for very old tune

November 13, 2020

Little Flower was on our first CD album release, Reformation, in 1998. It’s always been a popular tune (if you can call anything we do popular…). As I recall, we found the drum groove sample on one of those CDs that came with a music magazine, added a synth pad sound and the rest is improvised lines played on an E-bow guitar. No real structure, just a jam that happened to work.

Recently, we’ve been exploring making videos, trying to raise our game and achieve a higher standard whilst still being restricted by our almost-zero budget. Here, we found some free-to-download-and-use clips from Pexels, did some initial editing ourselves using Filmora X, uploaded it to Rotor Videos for some more processing (transitions, effects) and then did some more post processing ourselves.

We found the video clips before thinking about our back catalogue to decide which track they’d work best with. We think this video suits Little Flower very well!

Eastern Legends Mix – on YouTube

November 7, 2020

We’ve seen quite a few artists adding long mixes of their own tracks to YouTube. We thought we’d experiment a little and see what response we get. Here’s a 25 minute mix from Thousand Yard Prayer.

00:00 The Glory of Ardashir
04:15 Sharaz-De
08:12 The Blind Scribes of Shushtar
12:40 Shedu
16:08 Afshin
19:13 A City Named Abunhiswar

All of these tracks and the albums they’re from can be found here:

Before Beauty

November 7, 2020

Here’s a video for a track we released in 2009. Before Beauty was on Remembering Machine, an important album in our musical development. We think it still holds up today.

Lelonek & Talvin Singh Live @ Anokha 1997

November 1, 2020

The Asian Underground is where Secret Archives of the Vatican got a lot of our initial inspiration (and, indeed, support), despite us not being Asian! Here was a part of dance/electronica that we got. We only made it to Anokha once (a night at The End) but we went regularly to some other events in that scene.

Here is a small glimpse of the vitality of the culture. Most of the musicians, DJs and producers in the Asian Underground scene are still musically active.

New track from The Spy from Cairo

October 29, 2020

The Spy from Cairo always makes great tunes.

This is available from Bandcamp on a name-your-price basis which means you can download it free if you don’t want to pay or can’t. Please pay something if you can, though, because music has value.
He has a lot more music on there too – check it out!

New video: Isolation Elucidation Dub

October 28, 2020

We’re making videos for as many of our tunes as we can right now. It’s a challenge finding video footage that somehow fits our music but we’re having a lot of fun turning raw footage into something arty.

This tune came out in March 2020, during lockdown one.

New video: Dúnedain by Secret Archives of the Vatican

October 27, 2020

We’re having fun at the moment exploring sounds that are relatively new to us although actually old, instruments of the medieval and Viking periods, adding them to our middle-eastern flavoured sound palette to create new combinations.

We’re also expanding our video-making skills, attempting to produce good videos on a non-existent budget. Here’s what we made today.

Review: In God’s Image by Saint Abdullah

October 25, 2020

Saint Abdullah are two Iranian brothers based in Brooklyn and Tehran, who create sounds largely inspired by the religious, political, and cultural history of Iran. Mohammad and Mehdi Mehrabani-Yeganeh have largely grown up in the west but like many people with roots elsewhere, exploring one’s roots becomes a creative necessity.

They’ve been releasing music since 2017 but In God’s Image is the first I’ve heard. It’s a double CD with 30 tracks, released by Dutch label, Psychic Liberation.

I can’t find it on Bandcamp as a download although they do have music on there.

The music could be described as industrial sound collage…there are Iranian samples among the glitchy electronica. There’s even a hint of dub in places and some tracks are quite chilled, if that’s even possible in this genre. It’s loosely reminiscent of Muslimgauze but I’d suggest this is a little more accessible to those whose tastes aren’t quite so industrial. At least one track reminded me of Jon Hassel, with a jazzy feel.

It’s a well engineered collection and nicely mixed. There’s enough sonic and rhythmic variety between tracks that it avoids the aural assault that some industrial-orientated albums can inflict on the listener. This is an intricate and interesting listen. (One very minor irritation is that the track numbering on the sleeve for disk two doesn’t match what happens when you’re playing a CD, which of course sees the tracks as numbered one to ten rather than eleven to twenty).

Review: Riddle Songs by Stef Conner

October 24, 2020

There’s always been a medieval and folk music influence in our own label’s releases although often neglected for long periods. Recently, we’ve been exploring a little of that again, particularly the “Viking” sounds made popular by such artists as Wardruna and Eldrim.

Old English
I first heard Old English in a track released in 1982 by a gospel progressive rock band called ArkAngel, Praises in the Old Tongue. Couldn’t figure out what language it was until digging deeper revealed it was Old English and was the oldest recorded poem in the English language, Caedmon’s Hymn.

Which brings me to this new release by Stef Conner. Some of you will know her from her work with Northumbrian folk band, The Unthanks.

Riddle Songs
Riddle Songs is a collection of songs in Old English, despite no songs in Old English having survived from the period in which the language was originally used. This is a is a concept album in a time when such things aren’t fashionable. The tracks explore concepts from Anglo Saxon culture: hymns, spells, mythology and riddles. Conner accompanies herself on a strummed lyre for some tunes and is joined on harp by early music specialist Hanna Marti for some. There are tracks featuring Conner alone
and some with a choral backing from the Everlasting Voices.

The album
There are a generous 20 tracks, although some are short “rune poems”, with a total playing time of just over an hour. There are copious notes on the music (one of many reasons I still like CDs with booklets). Old English lyrics and modern English translations are provided. It was interesting to me to hear Conner’s take on Caedmon’s Hymn, very different melodically and musically from the version mentioned above, as expected, but also with subtle differences in pronunciation of the language.

What does it sound like?
Too many album review don’t actually tell you what the music sounds like. If you’ve heard recordings of monks singing plainchant in echoing spaces, this is a little reminiscent of that but the individual voices here are clearer, the reverb not so overwhelming on the choral pieces. Tracks with Conner and her strummed lyre only are more intimate.

This is a good chill-out album; you can allow it to wash past you or you can listen in detail. There is much to focus on in terms of harmony and texture and skilled arrangement.

In short, a beautiful and well crafted collection of unique tracks, well worth acquiring. I’ve written this review from a downloadable press pack version but I’m ordering the CD – one to keep! Oh, and here’s a tune!

Release date: 23 October 2020

New video for older tune – Beloved

October 23, 2020

Here’s a video for a track we released way back in 2009. In this case, we found the source video footage and this was the track we had that it fitted the best. We’re really happy with this video; it’s heading towards that professional look we aspire to but can’t afford!

%d bloggers like this: