insect2-1 Epilogue final.jpg

The Players

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Kathryn Joseph - Siren

Kathryn Joseph

Siren

Kathryn Joseph is not a witch. She told me so. She may hold you spellbound and enraptured as she sings; you might believe that her voice is channelled from another plane and that all the voices of all the lives she has lived across millenia are speaking directly to you. After a few minutes (of course, you no longer have any sense of time) you may realise that you are ready to believe anything she sings as an irrefutable truth, truer than anything you have ever heard before. But Kathryn is not a witch. She told me so.

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Ashley Smith  - Dorothy Smallbones

Ashley Smith

Dorothy Smallbones

Hovering above the floor, Ashley listens: a spider breathes quietly beside her; the wallpaper pattern slowly shifts and shimmers.

I worry sometimes that Ashley got trapped in the computer during the recording, but I saw her in the summer and she seemed fine. I can still hear her little voice in my headphones.

Shhh..come out, Ashley.

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Shuna Scott Sendall Mama Smallbones & cave chorus

Shuna Scott Sendall

Mama Smallbones & cave chorus

Storms ravage continents, oceans rise and glaciers melt. Fear not! It is only the elemental voice of Shuna Sendall. Astride a mighty stag, her call echoes through corrie, loch, and glen. Mountains flood in rivers of joy and storms subside as her song resonates across the cosmos, tempering the music of the spheres, bringing harmony to the universe.

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Lee Allatson Drums set, kazoo & triangle

Lee Allatson

Drums set, kazoo & triangle

Professional iconoclast, lean and angular, inventor of the Mudman, band leader, warrior poet, caveman philosopher, Lee knows full well -  if you have your brush you can avoid the rush. Through many years of musical adventuring in the band Misterlee (with Mick Oxtoby who isn’t on this record but by rights, should be), Lee is the closest thing to a musical twin I have. I never properly scored the drum parts  and yet they are precisely as I imagined them. Is that weird? No.

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Seonaid Aitken  - Violin (left ear)

Seonaid Aitken

Violin (left ear)

From Fife via outer space, the Scottish queen of hotclub violin. I didn’t even know she was coming until the day before the session, or I would have asked her to have a squeaky freakout in the free jazz sections. As it was, we had a lovely time talking about Synesthesia, playing on cruise ships and I admired her massive vibrato. Pure awesome.

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Su-a Lee 'Cello (right eyebrow)

Su-a Lee

'Cello (right eyebrow)

Enough has probably already been written in praise of the mercurial Su-a Lee, but the following poem came to mind, so here it is…

 

Scotland’s Cellist, Su-a Lee:

She’s on your records and on the telly.

She’ll mess with your Ragu and dress vibrantly

She knows all the notes, from A to G (sharp)

And plays them better than You and Me.

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Charlotte Visonary & muse

Charlotte

Visonary & muse

Is she real? Is Charlotte the same Charlotte as in the story? Did it really happen?

Yes/No?

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Tim Ingram - Joseph Snorquel

Tim Ingram

Joseph Snorquel

Born thirsty, and seeking refuge from the burden of solvency, Tim succumbed to a life of Physical Theatre, a squalid profession that has led to mental decline and moral depravity. Yet through the bloodshot eyes an occasional spark splutters into life, brilliant and blinding, then gone: each idea, a lonely miner carving an endless tunnel into an oil black mountain of shit, occasionally excavating an exquisite diamond that no one will ever see… but beautiful, oh so beautiful.

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Fedor Bunge -  Ferneyclough

Fedor Bunge

Ferneyclough

Up in the woods, just below the Fairy bridge, near the waterfall, Fedor is playing his trumpet. He isn’t always in tune, but it doesn't matter; it’s such a joyful sound in such an unexpected place.  Fedor was my neighbour for years and I wrote the part of Ferneyclough because I love his voice and wanted to work with it. Sometimes art isn't that complicated.

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Jamie Smith auteur, svengali, charlatan, buffoon - & author of the sonic novel

Jamie Smith

auteur, svengali, charlatan, buffoon

Jamie Smith is a musical hermit. His performances are rare and you probably wouldn't like it if you saw one. He's the third most creative person in his household.

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Mr McFall’s Chamber String bothering omni-band

Mr McFall’s Chamber

String bothering omni-band

This shapeshifting special ops unit play everything from The Pops to Grindcore Squeaky Gate Music. I approached them thinking they would say no, then wrote parts for them I thought they wouldn't want to play. Effortless and fun to be around, I think I’m a better musician just from having lunch with them. They were augmented on this occasion by Seonaid Aitken (valiantly suppressing the urge to Jazz all over everything).

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Robert McFall Violin (left eyebrow)

Robert McFall

Violin (left eyebrow)

The midfield general, quietly controlling the play, making sure the whole team maintains shape, blah blah. One of the most knowledgeable and experienced heads in any room, Robert will patiently listen to your ideas, then do it better and you'll be glad of it.

I've yet to find out what goes in Robert's chamber, but I' bet there's a video of it out there somewhere.

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Brian Schiele - Viola (right ear)

Brian Schiele

Viola (right ear)

The staunch epitome of an Argentine Viola player; muscular with an earthy beauty, like a Gaucho cooking steak on a campfire as the sun sets over the peaks of Tierra del Fuego. Only Brian’s English genes prevent him from suffocating in his own masculinity.

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Blue the studio cat

Blue

Studio cat

Studio cat and C list celebrity thanks to his thuggish good looks and instafriendly poses. Blue's hobbies include ultraviolence and drinking Milk Plus +.

Listening to robot voiced popsters made him kill a vole.

Dramatis personae

SIREN

the Listener and host in the Cave of Voices

Kathryn Joseph

JOSEPH SNORQUEL

visionary aqua mentalist, latterly resident of the Asylum; research assistant to PROF. WOLFF

Tim Ingram

DOROTHY SMALLBONES

sister of CHARLOTTE, involuntary clairaudient

Ashley Smith

FERNEYCLOUGH

Organist and mole catcher

Fedor Bunge

MAMA SMALLBONES

a vast and retired cook, widower and mother to DOROTHY and CHARLOTTE

Shuna Scott Sendall

SAILOR

lover of CHARLOTTE

Jamie Smith

PROFESSOR WOLFF

renowned sound collector, ‘pataphysician and director of The Institute; co-inventor of the Chunderbuss (with JOSEPH SNORQUEL) and the Retr-o-phone

Jamie Smith

MARCONI

Italian pioneer of radio telegraphy, founder of The Institute

Jamie Smith

SHOUTY VOICEOVER MAN

a man that shouts voiceovers

Jamie Smith

THE MUDMEN

residents of the village

Jamie Smith

CAPTAIN TOMALLEY

father of SAILOR and ill-fated skipper of the 'Midnight Mallard'

Jamie Smith

FLATULENT MUDMEN

residents of the village, struck down by the Chunderbuss

Molly Smith

ANIMALS IN THE DARK

in the dark, some animals

Molly & Charlotte Smith

BIRDWHISTLE

Gamekeeper and boyfriend to DOROTHY

anon.

TWO GENTLEMEN

Musical occultists and graverobbers

Themselves

The Band

Electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, electric bass,  percussion, autoharp, bullroarer, tuning forks, piano frame, wine glasses, bone xylophone, theremin, hammond organ, kazoo, scratchy violin, long bent thing with a sort of lump on the end, no input electronics, piano, field recordings, the other sounds.

Jamie Smith

Violin

Seonaid Aitken

Violin

Robert McFall

Viola

Brian Schiele

'cello

Su-a Lee

Drums set, triangle, kazoo

Lee Allatson

Cave chorus

Shuna Scott Sendall, Jamie Smith, the occulting orchestra & chorus of St. Mary’s & St. Vitus

Dotty's footsteps

Charlotte Smith

Dancers

Sally Doughty and Kerry Francksen

Secret soprano saxophone

Bruce Coates

Secret viola

Zo Sosinka

I am also enormously grateful to the excellent field recordists who make their work available through Creative Commons licenses and have used excerpts of the following:

Brighton Sea, Sailing by 1 & 2, Wind in rigging; Ambisonia.com

John Leonard

Sotra Soundscapes; Freesound.org

Trond Lossius

UC-Irvine 2016 Beach Field recordings; Freesound.org

Vincent Olivieri

Many thanks to Creative Scotland for their financial assistance (and patience) during the making of this work.

Words by

Jamie Smith

Music by

Jamie Smith

Except ‘The Guest’ and ‘I wish I had a Fish’

Music by Franz Schubert, arranged by Jamie Smith

Recorded and mixed by

Jamie Smith at St. Mary's Space, Argyll, Scotland

Mastered by

Jason Mitchell at Loud mastering, Taunton, England

Artwork by

Charlotte Smith

Photography by

Charlotte Smith

Photo editing by

Charlotte Smith and Elisabeth Mochner

Book layout and design by

Charlotte Smith

Produced by

Jamie Smith

Additional thanks go to the following people who have helped enormously by lending me their wisdom, studio gear, an ear or, most importantly, just letting me get on with it. Without their help it would have taken even longer.

R.P., James Gray, David Meldrum, Lee Allatson, Jason Mitchell, Don Mitchell, Joseph Anderson, Wiz Wharton, Cori Princell, Alan Macdonald, Mum Smith, Mrs. H, SaRoy, St. Charlotte and the oxters of Molly.