QUOIN 4 (2018)
Richard Skelton Front Variations
Worldwide coordination of glacier monitoring began in 1894 with the creation of the Commission Internationale des Glaciers (CIG), now the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), but the monitoring of individual glaciers, such as Leirufjarðarjökull in Iceland, began as early as 1840. The long-term aim of such endeavours was to gain insight into the processes of climate change.
Quoin 4 presents a combination of data sourced from the WGMS along with aerial photographs from the US Naval Oceanographic Office to highlight ice-sheet recession over the past 100 years and more. ‘Front variation’ refers to the recorded difference in position of a glacier’s front edge – a positive figure indicates glacier advance, whereas a negative figure indicates glacier retreat.
The music that accompanies this volume of Quoin was composed using only sine waves – the purest and simplest periodic oscillations or tones. These tones were then subjected to increasing amounts of feedback in order to simulate the so-called ice-albedo feedback mechanism. This is the process whereby the action of melting glaciers reduces the global surface area of ice, thereby reducing the amount of solar radiation that glaciers reflect, which in turn increases global temperatures and causes further glacial melting. Ring modulation and distortion were also used to further deteriorate the sound signal.
Quoin is the exclusive publication for friends and patrons of Corbel Stone Press. To find out more, visit:
Richard has provided the soundtrack to an exhibition by photographer Joseph Wright at the Grizedale Centre, Cumbria:
Cubby’s Tarn Exhibition
Grizedale Forest Centre
Nr. Hawkshead, Cumbria
18th October – 31st December 2017
And Right Lines Limit and Close All Bodies
1. Lye not in fear
2. The soul subsisting
3. In an hydropicall body
4. Scaleby, x
5. Nitre of the earth
6. Necks was a proper figure
7. If the nearnesse of our last
8. Scaleby, xi
Notes: Bury. Obliterate. Rediscover. Telluric currents. Chthonic energy.
1. Scaleby, i
2. Scaleby, ii
3. Scaleby, iii
4. Scaleby, iv
5. Scaleby, v
6. Scaleby, vi
7. Scaleby, vii
8. Scaleby, viii
9. Scaleby, ix
Notes: Funerary landscapes of northern Britain. A Cumbrian ‘bog body’, found 1845, ‘wrapped in what appeared to be the skin of a deer’.
Pre-order the CD of And Right Lines here:
Both albums are released in April.
Sympathetic resonance: a vast stringed instrument made in honour of J.F. Glidden, tuned to esoteric frequencies. Fine thread-like fibres. A holy triad: Raven’s Crag. Fox Haw. Brock Barrow. Memorious Earth. Land-music. A poultice to remove proud flesh.
Belated Movements for an Unsanctioned Exhumation August 1st 1984
by The Inward Circles
Lindow Man, discovered August 1st 1984. The internal rot of bog bodies. Bones decalcified from within. The transgressive nature of their exhumation. An auditory petition for reinterment. Edaphology: decay and transform. The fox as psychopomp (cf. Unindex Volume One : Ferae Naturae). A descent: ‘Llwynog fyddi’n tywyswr i’r ddaear dan ddaear.’ (Fox be my guide to the earth beneath earth). An urgent summoning call to the bones of wolf, lynx and bear. Reclaim the archipelago with great violence.
Once a place becomes part of one’s inner landscape, the imagination – knowing no bounds or decorum – stitches it into its own patchwork of memory, dreams and reveries. It is subsumed into a greater fiction, and roads or trackways to other places, real or imagined, appear. Nimrod is an accretion of these imaginal processes – an auditory, textual and visual entanglement of the real and unreal, a blending of document and invention.
The excerpted texts that make up the accompanying book come from a range of sources, united by a hyper-sensitivity to nature itself; a desire to understand and come to terms with its ‘hidden state’. They are figures in the landscape, some of whom construct elaborate systems of classification and natural philosophy, others who seem wounded by their very affinities, and others still who seem lost, or are institutionalised. The tone of the work as a whole – which finds its analogue in the music – is aptly evoked in Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poignant phrase:
‘nature in all her parcels and faculties gaped and fell apart’.
There is a sense of things on the verge of collapse, of despair and regret.The combination of music, text and image in Nimrod offer such a glimpse, that it can paint the picture of a wood through which slanting light dimly traces other forms.
NB: My thanks go to Julian Hyde, and Rob & Barbara at Fireside Books.
Here’s a brief document of the performance in Suffolk on the 21st of March. Many thanks to the Elysian Quartet, Paul Smith, and everyone at Aldeburgh Music for making it such a memorable event.