Something Old // Gyllyng Street by Songs of Green Pheasant

Gyllyng Street is one of my favourite albums to listen to when I need to take some time or find some space. It always has been.

Released at the height of internet indie, p4k rock - whatever you want to call it. When internet connections had just become fast enough to make all music disposable, every album was suddenly instantly replaceable, our relationship with music was quietly transformed by our thirst for more. There was now no need to really invest in anything, you weren’t stuck with it, whether you thought something was good or bad you were obligated to move on and consume the next… which we did.

This album though, stopped time, it operates at a different speed and at ten years old it still has the same effect. We're moving faster and faster through cycles and this album allows us the chance to grab some well needed oxygen. Written to reflect a specific time in Duncan Sumpner's life, as a dreamy series of recollections, of Cornwall, art school, first freedom, madness, of losing your identity to find it. It all happens through the gently unwinding lens of hindsight, melting events into one long thread that makes sense when you look back from the end of it.

A beautiful mixture of folk, atmospheric post rock and all the while quietly psychedelic; Gyllyng Street meanders through it’s seven songs without you realising that you’ve travelled anywhere at all. Not in a “stop and smell the flowers” way, it is more that you dwell on the flowers until you become so consumed by their beauty that they become part of the fabric that makes you. Ok, I appreciate that’s terrible writing but if you listen to the album and juxtapose it with Vampire Weekend // Clap Your Hands Say Yeah // Tapes n Tapes, you’ll see how it was a welcome excursion inwards at a time when what was popular seemed to be more concerned with their appearance at indie clubs than the sanctum of their innermost thoughts on public transport.

Likewise, nearly everything I’ve read about Songs of Green Pheasant was tainted by an amazement that the guy led a normal working life and didn’t hide it. I guess the norm, or at least the expectation for musicians, is to pretend like they’re superheroes and make music full time. Like it’s the ‘80’s and when they’re not styling their hair or making massive riffs they’re Scrooge McDucking into piles of gold. It’s the same bullshit that makes music writers downplay their actual paying day jobs in order to appear more popular and successful as music writers; oh you’re going freelance? My dude you’re going to write b2b copy on a business park near a ring road and that’s fine. It’s 100% fine. We’re allowed to enjoy writing and reflecting on music in our spare time, the same way people are allowed to enjoy writing and making music in theirs.

My bullshit aside, if this column can make Gyllyng Street become an entry point to Songs of Green Pheasant's music, then onwards to Hood, from there onwards to all the blissful underground music that has emerged from Northern England over the last couple of decades then I’ll be it’ll be worth writing. To my ears Songs of Green Pheasant sits shoulder to shoulder with artists that probably seem more romantic for their geographical location. Artists like Peter Broderick, Benoit Pioulard, Grouper, Julianna Barwick et al. The list goes on and Duncan Sumpner's music should be lauded in a similar manner.

Something New // Occasus by Goldmund

Talking of space, Keith Kenniff has been releasing albums as Goldmund since 2005, he is one of the great composers of our age and Occasus is a definite career highlight. The man is an avid creator of internal dialogue. In my head his music acts like one half of that couple who finish each other’s stories at parties. He starts the sentence with sound, provoking my constant internal monologue to take over and wind its way slowly towards a conclusion. He is an artist I couldn’t be without. Thankfully I don't have to be.


Drop us an email or tweet us @the405 if you want your thoughts on any of these albums to be featured - we’ll include the best takes next week.

Here is a playlist of all of the music that's been in the listening club that is currently on spotify.