For this, my 10th outing on this fine radio station, I’ve come up with a mix that is in part inspired by an email conversation I had recently with the lovely Matt Shenton (there are no birds here), over a virtual French Fancy and a glass of Tesco (other brands are available) Special Reserve Scotch. We were talking about music that feels like it has a sense of longing, so here are 11 tracks that, for me, evoke that sense beautifully.
Summer 2021 has been an intensely painful one for me and my family. I’ve tried to paint a sonic picture of the current state of my soul with the six tracks blended here – embracing both the darkness and the light throughout, ultimately ending on a hopeful note courtesy of Goth-rockers and lovely lads from my hometown, The Last Cry. As bleak as the last couple of months have been, I can’t imagine what it would have been like without being able to seek solace in music. Thank you to every single one of you out there doing your thing. Keep on doing it.
As I write this, I’m hoping that Sunken Paths VIII will be received as the mix version polar-opposite of Baldrick’s famous 2nd WWI poem (you know, the one that “…started off badly, tailed off a bit in the middle and the less said about the end the better”). I always thought that critique was a little harsh anyway, War is a horrid thing after all. So, here it is, let’s all sing….
Moods. It’s all about the moods. This month we feature a pairing known as Isolated Community heavily throughout the mix, for no other reason than I think they’re brilliant and that the tracks chosen here act perfectly as waymarkers as we move through a host of ups and downs, bumps, scrapes, highs and lows from a collection of other high priests & priestesses of the dark electronic and folk arts. All thrillers, no Killers.
“My mate David Howcroft likes to listen to his bootleg recordings of Sunken Paths shows on his personal cassette player whilst walking the lonnens of his Northumberland stomping grounds during his daily COVID-19-freindly exercise sessions, dictaphone in hand and making field recordings as he goes. I suppose I go on similar treks in my head when I’m in the mix, though not bound by the physical constraints of any given topography. I’m certain too that David goes to places other than the ones his feet traverse, music will do that for you. That the creations from these wonderful artists of sound sets us on and carries us through these journeys, literal and metaphorical, is one of the few things keeping me sane (or just about, anyway). Wherever this mix takes you, I hope you find the experience to your liking and come back again sometime. You are always welcome.” Darren
“The earthen world is but an imperfect mirror of the heavens”…maybe, maybe not. Sunken Paths ventures deeper into the earthen world in episode 5, bringing you a mix of heady and immersive sounds from Suthfolc to Pheonix via God’s Own Country, The Big Smoke and the deserts of New Mexico. In the words of Sister Sledge “we’re lost in music”, but is there any turning back?
Sunken Paths 3 is here to wrap you in a woolen auditory blanket and pass you a thermos of Winter Solstice whiskey-laced sounds from somewhere altogether elsewhere (or something like that). Casting the net a little wider, we have some previously unfeatured labels and self-releases, alongside a few (hopefully now) slightly more familiar imprints. You can even have some fun playing ‘spot some of the members of British Sea Power’ as you wander atop the crips paths. Proost! Darren.
Sunken Paths Part 2 sees Darren venturing further in the sonic woodlands, taking in sounds from experimentations with theremins, through gentle ambient textures, mournful yet uplifting neufolk tales and ethereal high-pagan church rock, before getting lost down an electro-hauntology fork and ending up somewhere in Dutch Punkland. Can this be pulled off in the space of an hour? We’ll let you decide.