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Listed: Fern Knight + Mothlite

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Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: folk artist and historian Fern Knight and London cinematic duo Mothlite.

Listed: Fern Knight + Mothlite

Fern Knight

Margaret Ayre (nee Wienk), singer/cellist/songwriter of her band Fern Knight, is busy mixing tracks with her husband Jim Ayre for their upcoming fourth album Castingsin Philadelphia. They recorded in a gothic mansion in the Brandywine valley of Pennsylvania where the band tapped into the dark vibe of the house and surrounding snowy landscape with songs such as “The Poisoner” (an eerie chamber pop number with layers of vocals, strings, fuzz bass and drums on the off-kilter choruses) and “The Eye of the Queen” which alternates a Baroque verse featuring harp (Jesse Sparhawk), violin (James Wolf) and cello with a metal dirge of a chorus. Under Ayre’s direction, Fern Knight fuses her tightly arranged pop songs with symphonic art rock, progressive folk and old-school metal licks. Castingsis due out later in ‘09.

My list is 10 favorite out-of-print (or never issued) LPs. Some of the titles may have been in print recently but enjoy limited availability. I have the pleasure of announcing that Guerssen Records in Spain will re-issue my number one fave LP sometime in 2009 (Sourdeline’s La Reine Blanchefrom 1976) and will feature some liner notes by yours truly. So honored!

1. Sourdeline - La Reine Blanche (1976, Guerssen 2009)
This record will always hold a special place in my heart. Like Midwinter’s 1973 album The Waters of Sweet Sorrow, it has a rustic trad vibe, hearkening times past. The album features beautiful bowed and plucked strings from guitar to dulcimer to fiddle, male-female vocals and gorgeous songs. Hear the title track and more here: http://www.myspace.com/sourdeline

2. Asgard - In the Realm of Asgard (Threshold, 1972)
The first track really blows my mind every time I hear it still – I aspired to their overall sound when recording our latest album: rock drums and strings plus harmonized vocals…kinda reminds me of the very first LP I bought in the first or second grade, Styx The Grand Illusion.In a good way.

3. Shanti - Shanti (Atlantic, 1971)
What can I say? I am a sucker when it comes to raga rock. When I grow up I want to be in a Shanti cover band. Again with the vocal harmonies! So good…

4. Jonathan Swift - Introvert (CBS, 1971)
More albums should be made today with full orchestral scores, like this one…sigh. Reminds me of more readily available LPs of its kind, like Steve Ashley’s Stroll Onand Susan Christie’s Paint a Lady(orig recordings from 1970, issued recently by the Finders Keepers label).

5. Hugh Masekela - Masekela (Uni, 1968)
Deep grooves on deeper topics. This record will lift you up when you feel beat down.

6. Armando Piazza - Suan (Black Beautiful Butterfly, 1972)
A strange and haunting Italian psych record. Reminds me of Ramasesepic Space Hymns.

7. Achim Reichel - Autovision (Zebra, 1974)
Why A.R. wants to bury all the Achim Reichel and the AR and Machines LPs like they’re an embarrassment is beyond me…they’re all such great Krautrock! This is the one that hooked me in first.

8. Perry Leopold - Experiment in Metaphysics (1970)
Wanted to give a shout out to fellow Philadelphian Perry Leopold. This album features some sad but elegant songs, “It’s Cold in Philadelphia” and “The 35th of May.” His follow-up album Christian Luciferfrom 1973 has some amazing orchestrations. Both very solid cosmic folk albums with tragic trails--the studio closed down after Christian Luciferand the master tapes were recorded over, so only the mixdown reels remain. Cool fact: he started a musician self-help website called PAN way back in 1981! Go here: http://www.pan.com

9. Chris Thompson - Chris Thompson (Village Thing, 1973)
Great finger-style acoustic player from New Zealand. This is a mesmerizing cocktail of an album…some of my favorite songs on this record have backing musicians from the UK folk-raga band Magic Carpet (their s/t 1972 release on Mushroom has been re-issued – also really really great).

10. Spirogyra - Bells, Boots and Shambles (Brain/Metronome, 1973)
Not that other band, Spiro Gyra, jazz-fusion from NY…this one’s a UK prog-folk group from the ‘70s. When there’s cello, flute and trumpet calls in the first song before there’s even any singing, you know you’re in for a treat. More male-female vocals and more proggy parts than you can count on your fingers and toes (in one song!) make for many repeat listens. “In the Western World, Part 2: Jungle Lore” has an off-kilter hook that gets stuck in my head (in a nice way).


Mothlite is the eerie London duo of Antti Uusimaki and Daniel O’Sullivan. A composer with a background in piano and guitar, O’Sullivan is a veteran of several avant-rock bands, including Guapo (Ipecac/Neurot), Miasma & The Carousel Of Headless Horses (Web of Mimicry/Rise Above), and more recently Sunn 0))). He’s also part of the improvising project Æthenor with Stephen O’Malley, (Sunn 0))), KTL) and Vincent de Roguin (Shora). Mothlite’s Flax of Reverie, which came out late last year on Southern Records, borrows more from the latter two bands than Guapo and earned rave reviews in the British press. O’Sullivan took part in this week’s Listed.

Bubbling Popping Blissando

1. The Beatles - “Julia”
The ultimate heartbreak. Lennon singing from a height of around 4 feet, staring up at his unconditional love, Julia. Written in the bake of sun-drenched Rishikesh. "Half of what I say is meaningless / But I say it just to reach you, Julia."

2. Japan - “Talking Drum”
Bellowing from my mum’s stereo quite a lot at the time, although I only have very subliminal memories of it. Amazingly unique sense of melody and counterpoint, which totally transcends the New Romantic era. Fretless bass never sounded so good. Great lyrics too... Total urban banal. "I take the car I travel ‘round But nothing stays on my mind."

3. Beach Boys - “Feel Flows”
A real whitey of a song. Carl Wilson was always the voice for me in Beach Boys. I love the warped experimentation on this one, brain-splayed lyric writing, reverse echoes, looping flute solos. It uses all the broken idealism of that time and makes something tangible out of it. I just believe it every time I hear it. "Unfolding enveloping missiles of soul.” Yes.

4. Talk Talk - “April 5th”
Very difficult to choose from so many incredible songs. But I find myself listening to Colour of Spring way more than "those" records these days. You can hear them forming and growing into the heavenly creature they became on Eden and Laughing Stock, but still under the sheen of traditional pop structures. “April 5th” contains all the mystic naturalism and sparseness they later embellished on so much, but with excellent programming and big ‘80s London studio manipulations. They influence me on so many levels. God bless Mark Hollis.

5. Fleetwood Mac - “Dreams”
On the last Æthenor tour, Stephen brandished me a "standardizer,” because my top tens tend to favor classics over obscurities. It’s very true, but that’s not a position I take intentionally... It’s all based on what brings me pleasure. I personally find there is as much intrigue and complexity in Fleetwood Mac as there is in Xenakis, just a different dialect. Rumours is a relatively recent discovery for me actually. I love Fleetwood Mac because they are the kind of band that accumulate these sort of comments under their YouTube videos...

slanker786 (5 minutes ago)
proper shit song. i hope all the band dies

hotgeorge44 (13 hours ago)
buzz me luv im good 4 u

hotgeorge44 (13 hours ago)
why dont u let me in luv we had fun xo

hotgeorge44 (13 hours ago)
hot likes fleetwood mac luv! how have! u been?

sprintbass (14 hours ago)
this song makes me look back on my life with people who came and went...and where i am today...mujsically its beautiful and haunting..wish i could meet a girl who loved FM like i do..Ive been a bass player for 20 years now..even thogh this is simple by my standards i still get lost in the flow of the song..personally i think this was stevie nicks at her best, i love her later stuff but it was not as imgainative and beautiful as this.

6. Penguin Cafe Orchestra - “Rosasolis”
Gorgeous , immediate, psychedelic, benevolent music. Penguin Cafe takes me straight back to childhood, lazing about in the sun, still in an untainted state of amazement about everything. Simon Jeffes said this, "In the Penguin Cafe your unconscious can just be. It’s acceptable there, and that’s how everybody is. There is an acceptance there that has to do with living the present with no fear in ourselves." Sounds good.

7. Psychic TV - “The Orchids”
This is from Dreams Less Sweet, which is the only Genesis P-Orridge related record where he sounds remotely happy. His voice has a Syd Barrett lilt at times, singing very open nursery rhyme melodies. Pure English melancholy. "And in the morning after the night I fall in love with the light.”

8. Kate Bush - “Cloudbusting”
Again, very difficult to choose a favorite, and this probably isn’t it, but I’m listening to it right now. I can just imagine that she must’ve been very pleased listening to that track being assembled. It’s so beautiful and so powerful and accomplished. There is also a very alien feeling emanating from it... Those Fairlight samplers are living breathing things.

9. Art Bears - “The Hermit”
Fred Frith had to make an appearance. He’s a very human weirdo. Always toying with our perception of melody in a very scientific way, yet he never fails to deliver the most infectious hook. Dagmar’s voice is very gentle on this one, unlike the rest of the album whe re she’s doom heralding.

10. Gamelan Son of Lion - “Sleeping Braid”
Another master of confusion letting his guard down and treating us to some bucolic Indonesian majesty. A friend of mine interviewed Philip Corner, he made him feel like everything he thought he knew was clumsy and wrong. I imagine meeting him is like purging yourself of some illness or going cold turkey. But here he’s tucking us in and mopping brows.

Now I feel bad for not including Robert Wyatt.

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